We arrived in Akaroa in a heavy rain–the drive from Christchuch took a couple of hours because you have to cross over a high ridge line to get there. One of my next blog posts may have to be a mapping one so this will make sense.
We had booked a “garden unit” through Air BnB, one of my favorite apps. The place was listed as a brand new build-out so only had a couple of reviews (I generally say make sure there are a lot). We got there and it was 100 times nicer than we anticipated. Wow! Check it out here. Even though the rain was coming down in buckets, the apartment had good views to watch the rain. We had a nice quiet evening with the rain coming down.
Sunday morning was cool, windy, and sunny. We got up pretty early to explore the town and area. Most of the information about Akaroa that you find online talks about it being a charming harbourside town, about its history as an early French and British settlement. The town has a lot of quaint historic buildings and French named streets. Lots of sailboats are anchored in the harbor. The community certainly seems focused on the bay. The iconic photos always include the pier with the little shelter at the end. Can you tell it was windy?
Ironically, if you are facing the bay, you have your back to some incredible mountains. Most sources overlook the incredible places around Akaroa to hike (or tramp, or trek, depending on which version of English you speak). Dan had scoped out the maps so off we went up an ever-narrowing road to the Purple Peak Trail. On the map below, we parked at the red dot and hiked to the “saddle” directly above the red dot.
The trail is much steeper than it looks here. Each step further up the mountain gives you a new and better view of the bay–which means I hike slowly due to photographing each new view!
Eventually we reached a small shelter, where we had lunch, signed our name in the book.
Then we hiked on to the saddle where, looking east you are looking at the bay and looking west you are looking at the Pacific Ocean. And as we looked, we nearly got blown off of our feet by the strong and relentless winds.
Akaroa: it’s not just for sailors, but they could really fly with those winds.