We left Christchurch and hit the road to our first of many destination. Akaroa, on the Bank Peninsula (home of what was once an ancient volcano), was only an hour and half away. A interesting fact about Akaroa is that it was the only French colony in New Zealand. Well, not quite a colony, but it has old French roots. Our hostel, for example, is called Bon Accord Backpackers. Our room is a little cabin.
Our first activity in New Zealand, Pohatu Sea Kayaking. We set off to the main wharf and met up with our tour guide. His name was Ben and he was French! (A trend we saw.)
We took a 4wd up into the hills while Ben described to us the history of Akaroa. Turns out the French did beat the English to the south island of New Zealand. Sadly in order to colonize the island the natives, the Maori, wanted a large sum of gold. The French didn’t have enough so they had to return to France. When they got back with the gold they were too late, the English had paid the Maori and had started a colony.
We made our way down to Flea Bay, a outer flank of the Bank Peninsula. It was a lovely marine sanctuary with only a couple of farms surrounding it. We should also mention that the tour was quite small. And by quite small i mean just the two of us and two of the tour guides friends.
After getting greeted by some sheep (Which seemed way too enthusiastic for our arrival, until they realized we didn’t have food) we made our way to the kayaks and into the water.
We stayed closed to the shore looking for wildlife. We saw a lot of seals both sunbathing on the rocks as well as a couple following us around. There were many baby seals as well, super cute!
There was also a interesting bird flying/sitting/swimming around. The Pied shag was made for deep water diving in order to get a meal (fish). It has feathers that are not waterproof so that when it enters the water it absorb the water and this added weight allows it to dive deeper. After diving they are too heavy to fly properly and can only skirt there way to the rocks were they must “dry-off”.
After a long while (including a couple caves and the open ocean) we managed to see a little blue penguin. So tiny we almost missed him. Just resting on the rocks. (Too far to be a seals lunch)
Sadly we didn’t see any dolphins but there will be more chances, we were sure of it. After some coffee/tea and muffins in a garden we made our way back to Akaroa.
We tried to grab a bite to eat but everything was closed. We just managed to grab some groceries before it closed at 6:30pm. (And ran into our tour guide and friends who were too late). Back at the hostel we made our own dinner and had some lovely Banrock Station Shiraz to finish off the day. (With a majority of French backpackers at our hostel)
Until next time…