Pots and Pirates

I feel that I must apologise for the lack of scenery. There is plenty of it, and it is amazing, but it has recently been hiding behind clouds and cyclones. The reality is that life goes on, with or without beaches and snow capped mountains. At least the South Island has been much luckier with the sun recently than the poor old North Island.

On this particular Sunday in January the sky was a wonderful dome of blue. We turned our backs on the at-last-visible summit of Mount Hutt, and headed for the Banks Peninsular, named after the naturalist Joseph Banks by Captain Cook. The peninsular sticks out like a craggy thumb from the side of South Island, beside Christchurch, and was formed millions of years ago by volcanic eruptions. It is a maze of bays and coves, and the views from almost anywhere are spectacular. Following Highway 75 to its logical conclusion brings you to the pretty French Heritage harbour town of Akaroa. The French who came in 1840 were whalers, and they left behind a number of huge iron cauldrons which are now arranged artistically along the beautiful harbour front. Happily, the whales and dolphins bring a different income to this coastline now. I wondered if the bossy British ever got put in these pots, and whether they are now kept on display as a warning to tourists. Hubby says not! But a timely reminder of history.


We wandered along in the sunshine, enjoying the sparkling blue water, little wharfs and bobbing white boats, occasionally being given the evil eye by seagulls. At a little coffee shop we ordered coffee and frittata and sat outside. The table next to us became empty, the previous occupants having committed the sin of leaving a few chips on their plates. The pirate gulls had chosen a vantage point on the roof of a parked car and they mobbed the little table, squawking and scattering cutlery. Then they returned to their perch to stalk the next customers (us). I knew that sun hat from The Warehouse would come in handy! Never park outside a café in Akaroa.

Pirate seagull

After a bit more happy wandering, many photos and a brief dive into a shop, (a lot of tutting from Hubby), we left Akaroa behind and meandered back towards Highway 1. On the way we found a little bay at Wainui and sat on a handily placed picnic bench to listen to the waves and admire the blue beyond where the inlet meets the ocean. Behind us the cabbage trees, pampas and blue Agapanthus rustled in the sea breeze and the Bell Bird called. Just a few swimmers on the beach, and a group of black snorkelers bobbing like seals in the shallows. No ice creams or Ferris wheels here. Just New Zealand.

Wainui shore

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