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The charming French settlement of Akaroa is about 75 kms from Christchurch, at the tip of the Banks Peninsula.  As we have the use of the family’s vehicle (whilst they are away in Fiji, and we house/pet sit for them), it’s an easy place to get to for a day out.

The Banks Peninsula landform is the result of violent eruptions of volcanoes, millions of years ago.  As the oceans rose and the entrance sill eroded away, it filled with sea water to become the beautiful harbour it is today.

The sparkling waters are home to a variety of sea life, including the world’s smallest and rarest dolphins, the Hector’s dolphin.

Akaroa was largely unaffected by the 2011 earthquake and has been hosting cruise ships that were due to call at nearby Lyttelton harbour.   We took the “tourist drive” to Akaroa, over the summit with magnificent views across the water and, indeed, there was a cruise ship anchored in the bay, which you can no doubt see in some of the photos.  We stopped many times along the route to take in the fantastic scenery, including lots of New Zealand lambs …..mmmmmm ….. yummy!

We explored the village with its colonial architecture, galleries, craft stores and cafes.  We were right by the landing field at one point when the tandem paragliders came into land, and we watched boys, doing what boys do – jumping off the wooden pier into the cool waters below.  We even saw a red, London bus trundling up the street.  Never expected to see that!

Eventually, it was time to find a cool, shady spot at The Stables bar and restaurant on the main road, which had some outdoor seating, where we enjoyed a spot of lunch and a cool glass of beer!  Sitting here, relaxing, reading the weekend newspaper and listening to the mellow music drifting over from the bar, I had to ask myself – “Does life get any better than this?”  

Probably not.