Saturday, January 5, 2013

Short hop to Akaroa and back

Saturday, January 5, 2013

oldbearnews editor
Seeing we are on holiday and needed to get out of the house in order to avoid 'cabin-fever' we always had it in our mind to hop over the Port Hills to Akaroa.  The town is a nice quaint little place and has a rather unique position in NZ history, as it was originally settled by the French.  Their claim to sovereignty (to the French) did not last long and the town soon became part of the NZ / England colony setup. However it is something they still make a big thing about - especially now with the tourists coming.  So the original street names are all in French and lots of French flags are flying etc.
With Lyttelton being out of action as a suitable harbour (due to the recent earthquakes and the repairs needed for pier etc) the cruise ships now come to Akaroa harbour and gorge anything from 2-3500 people onshore - most who will go on to other places in the South Island. This in a town that at best has 500 residents living there. Some tourists though stay in the town and go for walks / shopping sprees etc.  I must have been looking the part as we were asked 3 times if I came from the boat.  I mean DO I LOOK like a tourist??? ^^   Honestly!!  Anyway our lunch was very nice and we didn't mind the crowds and throngs and had a great day. You may not see it in the pictures but we had spill over showers from the storm that hit the Westcoast and made walking and taking pictures a bit of fun.  In between these showers there was some really nice blue sky and really warm temperatures.  Turns out the weather did do some significant damage to the Coast. They had 500ml (or more in some parts) for the last 24 hours. Roads where cut by slips or bridges washed out and a vital fibre optic cable was also cut - so some folks had no internet / telephone. Anyway - the other reason we came over was to spot the Pohutukawa trees in Akaroa.  Some where in flower and we were sure a tad later flowering then last year.
They make for a interesting back drop to "The Diamond Princess" cruise ship!!
This however sparked a conversation if the trees are Southern Rata instead.  Indeed they do look very similar and are hard to distinguish.  Must go and research that in a mo - already asked the question on the Crimson Project Facebook page.  --->    www.facebook.com/Project-Crimson-Trust

There is also this blog ---->  thecraigcliff.blogspot.co.nz/difference-between rata.html

which gives a reasonable description!  It's a starting point for a learning curve for me!!  The Local DOC site needs a bit more work - but is also a good starting point --->   www.doc.govt.nz/conservation/native-plants/rata/

Anyhow - we had a local tradition for tea that day - they do catch and prepare a very nice Akaroa Blue Cod - fish and the one and only Fish and Chip shop recently re-opened after being to heavily damaged in the earthquakes and needed bulldozing!  The Fish is VERY nice to eat - nice white flesh and really light in texture.  Yumnmy. Sadly - the price was a bit inflated - not sure that NZ $9 is warranted - but then the tourists can't get enough of them - so yeah they are making hay while the sun is shining- so to speak.  After this it was time to head back home to Christchurch - in the rain which had well and truly set in now.  The boys tell us they had some thunder and lightning - not that they could see the lightning - but they could hear it - another rarity for Christchurch.

Have fun!

 bear print

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