Saturday, January 4, 2014
I hopped on the Akaroa French Connection and spent the day enjoying the Banks Peninsula about an hour and a half outside Christchurch. About 8 million years ago, this area was formed from two massive volcanic eruptions. Akaroa, meaning “long harbour” in the indigenous Maori language, is the town where the French first settled, but little did they know that the British had already discovered New Zealand. And thank goodness for that too, or else I would have had to learn French before coming down here! I learned that they cut down many of the native trees during their settlement in order to build houses, and as a result, pine trees have been exported from the West Coast of America to grow among the hillsides today. This is good for two reasons: it relieves some of the gale force winds they regularly experience in the area, and the water retained by the roots help keep the elevated land from further eroding.
The quaint town of Akaroa was bustling with loads of tourists and beach goers. I strolled up and down the streets enjoying the harbor views and devoured my first official order of fish and chips. That may have to be my last indulgence for a while too considering how the heaps of friend food didn’t sit well with me; minus the fact that we stopped at the Barry’s Bay Cheese factory on the way home. That was most delish. If the weather cooperates, the Banks Peninsula is a great place to unwind for a bit. Just don’t forget the sunscreen like I did. I am still having a hard time remembering to work that into my daily morning routine.