This morning we left camp around 9.30 heading for Akaroa on Banks Peninsular. The weather was somewhat overcast and we were hoping that the sun would break through and charge our batteries via the solar panel.
Our first stop along the way was Little River where a railway branch line once ran between there and Christchurch. The line closed in 1962 but a group of enthusiasts have restored the station as a tourist shop. Out the back on the platform side a length of track has been laid and several railway wagons have been put on display along with a gangers hut and the original goods shed.
Up over the hills and down into Akaroa where French settlers landed but for some reason never stayed but did leave their mark with French street names. We had a good wander around the shops, harbour and around to the Lighthouse which was originally out at the harbour heads but shifted inland and restored by a group of enthusiast’s.as a local landmark.
Hills and Harbour near Akaroa.Akaroa Harbour at low tide.St Patrick's Catholic Church Akaroa.Colonial cottage/ cafe Akaroa.Akaroa war memorial suffered damage in the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes and was partly dismantled by the Army for future repairs.The old and the new at Akaroa.Akaroa lighthouse moved here in 1980 and restored as a heritage building.Good advertising for Tui Beer.Akaroa's old Post Office now used by Christchurch City Council but closed due to earthquake damage.
By the time we decided to have a BBQ lunch the weather had improved dramatically and the heat was getting to all of us. After lunch we headed up the hill to the Giants House which is a garden all decorated with broken ceramic tiles and a giant sculptured likewise. Jenny was the only person to actually enter the garden as the rest of us considered the entry fee was a bit steep.
Our return journey was through Gebbies Pass and Governors Bay to Lyttleton which had suffered major damage in the 2010/11 earthquakes. As we turned into the main street the damage was very obvious with collapsed walls, propped up buildings and cleared sites where some businesses had already re-established themselves in Portacabins on their original sites. Of course the Time ball building which Lyttleton has been famous for, no longer exists and we could find no trace. Leaving Lyttleton via the tunnel was an experience in that the further into the tunnel we got the fumes got worse but exiting the other end we soon saw why as the ventilation and control building had been badly damaged so we presumed that the ventilation equipment was out of action. Other than a very long drive around Banks Peninsular there is no other option.