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Published: June 21st 2017
Geo: -43.5316, 172.637
We arrived late, early evening at Acaroa, by the time we had driven all the way from Dunedin and negotiated the wiggly roads of the extinct volcanic crater of Acaroa to bring us down to Barry's Bay and on to our B&B. Our room, bathed in the evening sun, with a wonderful view of the bay and mountain ridge beyond was very splendid and Jane Cook, who ran the guest house single handed, a welcoming host. She had a life story to tell and was very happy to chat about the local area too, introducing us to other interesting guests, which all made this hgh end B&B memorable. Her breakfasts were a feast fit for a King and Queen, which she threw in as part of her story, having been employed by the Queen's cousin Lady Litchfield and entertained the Queen and other visiting royalty. So she wasn't fased by mere commoners, or by the hard work of running a 6 bed B&B alone, having bought the land and lived in a tiny cottage, now let out, while she supervised architect and builders to create her dream home. We sat around in the sun, eat great meals, wandered the
hills and small town and drove over the crater rim to a wonderful sandy beach for a swim walked the local trails to visit the old French cemetery and visited an artist's crazy garden.
Then aftgder two nights of luxury we headed in to Christchurch for our final 24 hours in New Zealand. After checking in to our motel we returned our rental car having driven just over 5000 kms then walked the entire town centre - or what remains of it after the eartquake. Rows of shops destroyed completely (or partly then left empty), smashed cathedrsals, the empty ghosts of tower block hotels waiting to be dedmolished. The new shopping mall housed in contain ers, the huge numbder of car parks where buildings once stood, the 185 empty white chairs - a memorial to those killed. All too much to take in and much more dedvastating than one imagined. A sombre end to our stay. Up eartly next morning for our flight to Sydney to stay with friends for a couple of nights, then back to Melbourne to see kieran and Jess, gthen Singapore for a night - and back to LOndon
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