The Banks Peninsula

Trip Start Feb 16, 2011
Trip End Jun 11, 2012

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Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Tuesday, March 8, 2011

After arriving in Akaroa on the 2nd March and having dinner with Silke and her partner Chris, I had the whole of the next day to explore the town so I went for a walk around the foreshore. For lunch I went to the local fish and chip shop, but it wasn't that great. I decided to go on a Dolphin Cruise around the harbour which is quite popular with all the tourists. We we spotting Hectors Dolphins which are plentiful in the harbour along with the odd penguin and flock of shags sitting on the water. The scenery of the harbour and the surrounding cliffs were quite beautiful.

I got picked up at the Akaroa Information Centre at 5:45pm to get taken to Onuku for the first night of the Banks Peninsula Track. Because of the earthquake and aftershocks, a lot of people had cancelled their plans so there was only myself and two other people - Peter and his mother Annette. I had organised to go down to have dinner that night so I was the only one having a bush dinner put on by a Swiss guy which was nice but usually he has a dozen people over. After a windy night, we saw one of the cruise ships coming into the harbour for the weekend before we set off to climb the big hill to the top of the harbour entrance. There were some really nice views as we rounded the side and eventually headed down the valley which followed a stream. The valley was lush with rainforest which was nice in contrast to the green pastures we had been hiking through. That night we arrived at Flea Bay with the house just to the three of us. I went down to the beach for a swim and the local property owner invited us to go sea kayaking to look for penguin colonies which was pretty cool. We met Bruce a Canadian on holiday and Anna a German WWOOFer whom I went kayaking with.

The next day we travelled around the bay to Stony Bay. On the way we saw a big seal colony and had lunch in a really neat shelter. Stony Bay was awesome - it was just like a big pixie garden. All of the huts didn't have electricity but had gas stoves and candles. There was a great swing and that night we had an outdoor bath which was heated by a fire underneath which was excellent. Peter's partner Fiona joined us that evening for the rest of the hike.

On the 3rd day we went for a little walk up the valley up past the stream before coming back down to pick up our gear. After a game of pear pool, we left at lunch time to do the short 6km walk to Onanerito Bay. Because we got there early and there was a good surf, we decided to go for a boogie board in the ocean which was nice, but it was freezing when we got out. There were seals lying on the end of the beach, but they didn't seem bothered we were there. We had a big meal that night before starting our last day.

The last day of the hike was a big one because we had to climb from sea level to 690m at the saddle in the middle of the peninsula and returning to sea level again. It took about 5 hours through the rainforest and beech trees (including lunch) to get to the top, but just over an hour to come down the other side down a dirt track! After catching up with Silke, I caught the bus back to Christchurch.

Today I'm not doing much, but I have to get to the airport sometime this afternoon to catch a plane to Los Angeles so that should be exciting. The more I see of New Zealand, the more I love it! I will definitely be back here sometime.
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