Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A Side Trip to Lyttleton and Akaroa

On the Akaroa pier

Akaroa from the pier
Lyttleton Harbor & Governors Bay

Today we were off to visit the commercial port for Christchurch, which is a suburb reached through a tunnel from Christchurch proper. Lyttleton is a beautiful harbor, but is seriously industrial. We then went around the shore to Governors Bay, over Geddes Pass, and on to Akaroa.

I obviously didn’t read the travel magazines and book carefully enough, as I soon discovered it was much further to Akaroa than I had thought. It was about an hour and a half out of Christchurch. Cruise ships call on Akaroa to visit Christchurch, so I must have assumed it was much closer. There is a real devil of a road to the village, so I was able to keep my mountain tight curve driving skills at an advanced level. However, the drive was worth it as the views are spectacular. As you note from the photos above it was a real chamber of commerce bragging day.

Akaroa itself is a beautiful village on the bay. It was founded by the French in 1840, a few months prior to the British snookering the islands away for the Maori in the Treaty of Waitangi. The French came to a quick accommodation with the British Empire, at least being able to stay and enjoy their village. All the streets have French names and prefaced with “Rue.” We had a very nice lunch at a restaurant with a deck out in the sun while watching the harbor. In front of us they had jet boat rides, but I again resisted, saving myself for Queenstown.

Quirky Driving Note: The road sign of the day was The Faster You Go the Bigger the Mess.

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