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Published: August 9th 2017
Geo: -43.806, 172.967
Akaroa is a beautiful little town set in the bottom of an ancient volcano, surrounded by hills and views to die for. We decided to come here for New Years and spend a few days walking and checking out the area. We were lucky that my Aunt Chris was on the way there also and that we were able to stay at the house of her friends.
We set off after some lunch for the 1.5 hour trip from Christchurch. As we reached the top of the hill we were presented with a nice view looking down towards Akaroa but unfortunately the weather didn't keep it's promise.
Akaroa is a very small town that was half settled by the French and English, though the French were first to discover it, they didn't lay claim and instead decided to head back and bring supplies. They returned only to see the United Kingdom flag had been hoisted a few days earlier. To think that New Zealand could have been a French colony seems weird. Though French flags are often seen around town and some names still remain.
We arrived at our hosted house which had amazing views looking over the Akaroa Harbour and the
surrounding landscape. We set our stuff up in the downstairs room alongside the massive billiard table and set off for a walk to an English monument and along the stony beach to the wharf where dolphin and day cruises operate from.
The rest of the night we were treated to dinner and went for a game of billiards before turning in for the night.
Day two was much better weather wise and was also New Years Eve. Akaroa is known for it's intake of cruise ships that swing in to the harbour for the day. Today's one was only small but the following days were going to be estimated 2000 and 2600 people which is quite a lot of intake for a small town.
We set off early for the day and drove to the information center to see what was around. We then drove up to the summit road with great views of the harbour and over the other side looking east over the Pacific Ocean where the nearest body of land is Chile. We continued up a thin dirt road to a parking area where we could do a walk along the "purple track", named for the purple flowers along the
track, to a summit lookout.
We made it to the top in about 45 minutes by walking along the side of the hill before walking the final stretch uphill through burned shrub to the top.
The weather was slowly clearing and we got some amazing 360 degree views.
It was then back to the car for some much needed water and food and to continue on to the small Maori settlement just south which was empty but had a beautiful little church and great carvings.
Feeling the pinch of the sun we headed back to prepare for the night ahead. We had some dinner at one of the pubs before moving on to another pub that had some live music but was more of an older persons scene, so we moved back to the same pub where we had lunch and that was where the partying and dancing began. It was a nice atmosphere and we had a great time.
New Years day could not have started so nice with amazing weather so we knew that the views were going to be stunning and took the advice of our hosts to drive over to the other side of the hill and take the thin
dirt road back towards Christchurch which is less busy traffic wise and have incredible views looking over Akaroa Harbour and down the east coast from the top.
The roads were pretty small and for two cars to meet going opposite directions can be tense and scary times as the car is close to the hills edge as both cars slowly navigate past one another, but thankfully we only met three cars on the trip over and down the hills.
Akaroa was great, such a small place but there is plenty to see and many walks available. The views are endless and it was a great little trip all round.
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