Sumner/Banks Peninsula with the Parents

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March 14th 2009
Published: March 14th 2009EDIT THIS ENTRY

Carol atop the Rock in SumnerCarol atop the Rock in SumnerCarol atop the Rock in Sumner

I can't believe my parents climbed up to the top of this rock!
Entering week 4 of my parents' trip to New Zealand!! They are getting used to traveling in hostels on the cheap, hiking wilderness trails, learning about life in our small town of Timaru and meeting lots of friendly people, NOT fighting traffic and learning to drive on the left!! Also-close encounters with seals, yellow eyed penguins, birds, alpacas, sheep and cows, New Zealand traffic jams (where sheep and cows are crossing the road en masse!).

We have had a number of trips of varying length; some are just overnights and others as long as 10 days. In between, I work a few shifts and they "recover" and check out the sights and walking trails in Timaru and surrounding towns. Our first trip was partly covered in the last blog.

During one of my work periods, Randy drove my parents up to Christchurch and dropped them off in Sumner. He was on his way to pick up his Dad at the airport so they could embark on their own 3 week whirlwind tour of the South Island. I had arranged a gift certificate for my parent's anniversary at a lovely B and B called Le Petit Hotel in Sumner, a cute beachside suburb near Christchurch. For a change, they could have their own bathroom instead of having to go to the shared one down the hall!!(I warned them not to get too spoiled!)Happily, they had lovely weather and spent time walking the beach in Sumner, climbing the rock on the beach (are you kidding? Even I didn't climb up the rock!!), and they took the bus into Christchurch to see the downtown area for a day (it's only 20 minutes away).

I then met them in Sumner, and we drove to a peninsula just south called the Banks Peninsula, which I have talked about in previous blogs. It's one of the most beautiful places in NZ. On the "map" you can see that it resembles a lobster claw, with Akaroa Bay in the center. The outside of the peninsula is ringed with separate bays. We stayed at a brand new hostel in one of the bays, "Okains Bay." Rachel will attest to the fact that the driving here is quite scary; guardrail-free roads hug the mountain and wind crazily around valleys and hills with steep uphill and downhill climbs around each turn. However, the views are astounding; at some points you can see the ocean and the bay at the same time, and the bay is impossibly blue against the green hills. Of course, the hills are dotted with sheep. When Rachel was here, she wondered why they didn't just fall off the slopes!

We visited Akaroa, the French themed town, but mostly spent time in "our" valley in Okains Bay, which was quite far from the town. It was lovely and quiet, with nice walks and a beautiful beach. There was an estuary that was quite muddy with a thin ribbon of water at low tide, which incredibly became almost a lake at high tide. I mustered enought courage to take a swim, and found that once the icy water had numbed my skin, it actually felt warm!! Our weather was truly summer, and we spent a Sunday at the beach and it was HOT!!!

Photo credits all go to my Dad for this blog, as my usual photographer, Randy, is off on his own adventure. Good work, Dad!!

Additional photos below
Photos: 20, Displayed: 20


Banks Peninsula mapBanks Peninsula map
Banks Peninsula map

gives you an idea of the geography of the area. Doesn't it look like a lobster claw?

Don't believe them when they tell you how cold it has been here. Look at all that sunshine!
Double Dutch HostelDouble Dutch Hostel
Double Dutch Hostel

Can you believe $75 NZ per night to stay here?
Hostel Kitchen!Hostel Kitchen!
Hostel Kitchen!

Not a bad place to prepare some meals
Birds on the BeachBirds on the Beach
Birds on the Beach

I'm very impressed with this picture my dad took!
Another view of Akaroa HarborAnother view of Akaroa Harbor
Another view of Akaroa Harbor

you just can't believe the beauty of this place!!
view from Heritage Parkview from Heritage Park
view from Heritage Park

you can walk up here or you can drive here-care to guess how we got here?
Strange wedding practicesStrange wedding practices
Strange wedding practices

the wedding party in Akaroa-good entertainment for all
Robin in the mudRobin in the mud
Robin in the mud

This whole estuary fills up with water in high tide. At low tide,however, it is quicksand, as my shoe will attest
Okains Bay BeachOkains Bay Beach
Okains Bay Beach

Where we spent a whole day and got lots of sun!!
Old Wharf Road trailOld Wharf Road trail
Old Wharf Road trail

Finally got my parents to break some rules
Purple BusPurple Bus
Purple Bus

Next time we're renting this baby for the night!
Robin gets wetRobin gets wet
Robin gets wet

look, no wetsuit!!

14th March 2009

Fond memories
I enjoyed your blog, it brings back memories of our 24 day trip to NZ, much of it spent on the south island. We also found the people to be very friendly and interested in talking to Americans. Your discription of the scary roads can only be really appreciated by those who have had the experience! I only saw one guard rail in all of New Zealand! Gene and Phyllis, friends of your parents

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