September 21, 2017
Camp became inundated with eastern Europeans and all we could see around us were Britz campers. The kitchen was impossibly crowded so I cooked risotto and stir fried chicken/peppers in the rig. Both tired with colds and so to bed.
Up early at 6:30 but camp was unusually busy in all the public places. Made pancakes in a stick resistant pan I borrowed from the kitchen very early. (The steel pan we have burns everything). Decided to check out the parking at the Centre Point Motel where we are staying for 2 nights on my Sonoma friend’s recommendation. She is a “hotel” person so I trust her!! As I suspected parking is VERY tight. Leon, our Chinese proprietor, told us we could park in the disabled parking at the end so no problem!!! He was far too busy to discuss anything more. That said, the two times Bob has talked to him he has changed the room type and price!
No trouble getting out of town on SH 75 to Akaroa. For most of the 85kms it was flat, rural farming country that passed Lake Ellesmere and a beautiful inlet. No lack of sheep! We then began to climb and climb with only 24 kms to go. The GPS told us to turn right (which looked like an unpaved road off a cliff) and the name was “Stock Road”. I said no! Somehow we got on a very narrow, windy road that was not SR 75. Not particularly fun when we were driving through clouds. The views of the peninsula bays were spectacular even if there was cloud cover and intermittent sun. We actually were driving around the edge of one of the original craters. We finally did arrive in this charming little town that strives to retain its French influence. The French land claim was sold to the NZ company and in 1850 a large settlement of British settlers arrived. The forested land was cleared and farming became the main industry. The large cruise ships docked in Lyttelton Harbor but since the earthquakes Akaroa is a substitute. We just can’t see this little harbor with a cruise ship.
Found camp which is perched on a hill overlooking the bay. Quite lovely and can only imagine what it would be like sitting in our chairs with a glass of wine if it weren’t for rain! We booked a 2 hour nature harbor tour.
Only a handful of us on the tour and with no rain could stand on deck. The most amazing part of the tour for us was the tranquil harbor and Scenery Nook, the volcanic amphitheater. The nook amphitheater has a large grey rock that arises from the sea like a giant knife and is actually a volcanic dyke. The harbor is also home to the Hector or NZ dolphin which is one of the rarest ( population around 7,000) and smallest dolphins in the world. Their size is like a small child compared to a car. We did not see ANY so got a refund to be used at any time in the future. We have the coupon for those who next want to go to Akaroa! The fur seals were also fun. We also saw the young salmon farms where the famous Akaroa salmon are raised.
More than cloud mist, is now raining. Town is just a charming French village with bistros, cafes, patisseries etc. Lovely!
Back to camp where they are almost full! Having our rainy day standby of spaghetti. 2016 Fickle Mistress pinot.