The crowning jewel on our trip was a visit to Akaroa. Only 1½ hours from Christchurch on a circle of land with the town built in an extinct volcano crater. Aren’t human beings perverse? Why would you even take the chance of building in a volcano crater and why are they rebuilding Christchurch in exactly the same spots that the earthquakes hit? And why has Brisbane continued to rebuild where the dreadful floods hit just a year ago and destroyed everything along the riverbank. Stupidity? Money? Convenience? What the hell is it? For those of you who love a good discussion and want to share your 2 cents worth, give me a call and let’s get together for a few hours over some cheap fizzy, um some fresh apple juice.
The drive to Akaroa started like many others, steep squiggly roads up hills and mountains but as we have found all round the South Island, each area brings a different landscape. This one was paradise, soft greens and gold and clumps of dark green trees all neatly laid out as wind barriers. As we reached the top, Akaroa Bay sparkled in front of us with small islands. The drive down passed many expensive country farms, holiday homes and yachts tethered in the bay.
We visited The Giant’s House, created by Josie Martin a painter and sculptor who discovered the delights of mosaic and never looked back. www.thegiantshouse.co.nz . It was like being on the set of Alice in Wonderland or part of an Enid Blyton fairy story. If I had the extra time and money I would have stayed in the B&B part of the house and woken up to gaze out at fantasyland. The exquisitely hedged veggie gardens were real and full of fresh edibles. Akaroa village is very French in layout and has many French street names with a promenade by the lake to stroll along like they do on the continent in many lakeside and coastal towns. Almost perfect until we drove past the Freemason’s lodge, that changed my whole perspective of the place, another long discussion to be had with anyone who cares to listen.
The view from our spot at the Caravan Park is something people pay big $ for, ours was $46 per night for both of us. This princely sum includes the unlimited power we plug into, water to fill up our tanks and free showers in most places. As well as use of the kitchens and other facilities, some places have spas and swimming pools. If you want to travel around NZ, I can recommend the van thing – if you can get over feeling like a ‘sheep’ following the flock from one place to another. http://www.top10.co.nz/