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Monthly Archives: August 2015

The Giants House Akaroa

The sleepy seaside village of Akaroa is full of unexpected surprises, and The Giant’s House on Rue Balguerie, is most definitely amongst the top of that list.

The Giant’s Housethe giants house akaroa, located just off the main road and up the hill a little bit, is truly a sight to behold. Built in 1881, the historic building is a beautiful ode to creativity and wonder, and of course, the elegance of the French that Akaroa prides itself on.

But before you explore the house itself, it’s hard to miss the world that local artist Josie Martin, has created in her own backyard. Her incredible labour of love and craftsmanship has truly taken over her terraced garden and turned it into another world that young and old from all over flock to see.

Although originally a traditional painter, Martin’s style evolved throughout her career and she began to move into more lively and colourful abstract work. After studying in the US, France, and Italy, and displaying exhibitions throughout New Zealand and the rest of the world, in 1993, Martin put down the paintbrush, and picked up some tiles.

the garden at the giants houseThe evolution of what is sometimes known as the ‘Secret Garden’ took place over a number of years. Each sculpture – a mosaic installation – reflects Martin’s surreal, flamboyant and eccentric view of the world, and of course demonstrates the enormous skill she has as an artist.

A short walk through Martin’s backyard will take you past angels and kings, ballerinas and wizards, a grand piano, and its receptive audience.

By turning her home into a work of art, Martin has earned herself recognition from the New Zealand Gardens Trust, who deem the place a ‘Garden of National Significance.’ Her garden has also featured in many prominent television shows and magazines, such as Maggie’s Garden Show, and New Zealand House and Garden.

 

The Giant’s House can be viewed throughout the year (although it makes a great springtime adventure). Or, if you’re enamoured with Martin’s work and are keen to explore her home, the house itself is set up as a Bed and Breakfast – every bit as beautiful and creative as the famous garden.

 

Accomodation

the rose room akaroa accomodation

 

 

As of recent you can now stay at The Giants House in Akaroa to. It’s a unique, one of kind Akaroa property that promises to deliver a special experience.There are three wonderful rooms to choose from; the Rose room, the Double boat room and a twin room, all of which can be booked for a minimm one nights stay and include bed and breakfast.

 

At The Giant’s House you will be pampered

the giants house piano akaroaOpen Hours

Summer (26 Dec – 30 April) the garden and gallery are open 12 – 5pm daily
Winter (1 May – 24 Dec) the garden and gallery are open 2 – 4pm daily
Cruiseship  days the garden and gallery will be open 12:30pm – 4pm (Oct to Dec ).

The ‘Artisit Palate’ Cafe is open 26 Dec – 30 April.

Prices

  • Garden visit : $20 per adult, $10 per child (2 – 15 years of age)
  • Family Concession Prices:
    • 2 Adults + 1 Child $45
    • 2 Adults + 2 Children $50
    • 2 Adults + 3 Children $55
    • 2 Adults + 4 Children $60
    • Students (with ID) $17
    • Seniors (with NZ gold card ID) $17
  • For group visits (10 or more) to see both the house, gallery and the garden: $22.50pp+ GST

10 Tips To Survive Your Family Camping Trip

What better way to spend your summer nights in New Zealand with the family than pitching a tent and sleeping under the stars?

Banks Peninsula is full of scenic spots that are perfect for such an endeavour, and many people take advantage of that fact during our warmer months.

If you’re thinking of roughing it for a few nights in Canterbury’s great outdoors, be it in iconic Banks Peninsula destinations such as Akaora, Okains Bay or Little River then here are ten things you should bring to ensure your family camping trip is a great success:

    1. Pack of Cards – Or any other board game really. Stock up on the kids’ favourites to wind down at the end of a day of running around in the sun, or for that unexpected stormy summer weather.
    2. Wet Weather Gear – Even if the forecast is telling you there will be nothing but sun, with New Zealand weather’s notoriously unpredictable reputation, it pays to be prepared. If you’re in a tent, make sure the rain cover is packed away, along with the parkas and some extra blankets.
    3. Sun Stuff – On the other hand, the ever so bright (and burning) Kiwi sun can be almost as much trouble as an unexpected storm. Like they say, be sure to slip, slop, slap, and wrap when enjoying the great outdoors.
    4. St John first aid kitFirst Aid Kit – Bandages, antiseptic wipes, tweezers; all essentials for the travelling family. Every kid is bound to graze a knee or get a splinter, and being able to fix up an ailment in a jiffy reduces the worry and hassle of having to ask around for a hand. St John do a great range of first aid kits from ambulance plasters to an ambulance shaped kit. Great for your trip or for a Christmas gift idea.
    5. kathmandu solar chargerMap – GPS, Google Maps, or whatever fancy technological equivalent you may have can do the job just fine, until it can’t. Have a back up old school hard copy of the way to your destination to avoid getting lost or stuck in the middle of nowhere. If you prefer plastic to paper why not invest in a solar charger. Kathmandu do a great solar charger kit so you can stay connected.kids camping torch
    6. Lights – Nobody likes having to get up in the middle of the night to find the loo, only to realise the lights are out and there’s nowhere to find them. Bring a torch or lamp, and some spare batteries, to avoid stumbling through the dark. They’re also great for a game of spotlight. We love this kids camping animal torch from Typo!
    7. Sleeping gear – Although sleeping bags and pillows are a given, it might pay to pack a few extra blankets for those colder nights. Don’t forget the air mattress or cot either – especially if you’re after a comfortable night’s sleep. Or simply bring the whole bed and call it glamping..glamping

 

8. Food glorious food – A local Four Square or dairy is usually pretty helpful for anything you’ve forgotten, but for those more remote locations, prepping meal plans before you go can make a load of difference. Snacks are an essential for the little ones too as all that running around is bound to work up an appetite long before dinner. Don’t forget the utensils either – those beans aren’t much good if you can’t get into them!

9. Toilet Paper – One can only truly appreciate the wonders of toiletries when one has accidently left them at home before a camping trip. Be sure to double check for loo paper, wet wipes, soap, and hand sanitizer in your bathroom bag before you head off into the wilderness.

10. Fun – Not everything will go to plan, and there will no doubt be a bit of stress in the atmosphere, but try your best to go with the flow and make the most of it. There’s nothing quite like a Kiwi summer in the great outdoors!

For more information on camping in Akaroa and the bays check out this fantastic guide cortesy of akaroa.comAkaroa and the bays camping guide 1Akaroa and the bays camping guide 2

5 Fab Stops On Your Drive From Christchurch To Akaroa

Although it’s not a particularly long and arduous journey, it’s always nice to have a place to stop on a drive through the countryside.

Take a look at a few of these places on your next trip to Akaroa for friendly faces, local attractions, or a delicious bite to eat:

1. Little River

Little River is a great halfway point for stretching those legs on the drive over to Akaroa. Hop out at the main stop through the town and have a look around. With the Little River Craft Station, Little River Gallery, and the Little River Café all in one easily accessible location, you can pass an hour or two browsing and brunching on your way to Banks Peninsula. If you’re a little more active and have some extra time, take a day to get out on the Little River Rail Trail – a great biking track that goes along the old railroad – before heading over the hills. There’s also a fantastic campsite here, which is reported to be the most searched for campsite in New Zealand on google!

2. Barry’s Bay

Stop for a seaside snack in Barry’s Bay. Famous for its award winning handmade cheese, a stop in Barry’s Bay means a visit to the factory. With taste tests for delicious cheddar, gouda, harvati and maasdam, you’ll be sure to take a bit of time to stock up. Bring a few crackers and chutney and make a meal of it while looking over the water not far from the shop. If you’re keen on staying for a bit longer, there’s also the cosy Halfmoon Cottage. Just 30 metres from the ocean, its wonderful service, homely atmosphere and beautiful gardens, make it the perfect retreat for backpackers passing through.

3. Wainui

If you’re up for a bit of a detour then Wainui is a great place to unwind after a day of driving. The rocky beach makes for a lovely afternoon stroll, exploring the rock pools and sea life that live in the corners of the shore. The place is also great for a getaway from city bustle, with plenty of baches nestled amongst the bush for the perfect family summer at a quiet beach. Bring the boat or the kayak for a bit of seafaring fun, or take a walk up the hills for a spectacular view of the water.

4. Hilltop Tavern

Open from Wednesday to Sunday, the Hilltop and the Tavern are a great place to soak in the view and have a bite and a beer before you head down the hills. Coin operated binoculars give you a fantastic up close look at the Peninsula and the road ahead, while the Tavern does great woodfire pizzas and Kiwi craft beer to tide you over until you make it to your destination. Spending an evening at the Hilltop Tavern is also an excellent experience, with local and national acts often playing live on the weekends.

5. DuVauchelle Bay

A stop in DuVauchelles will see you get your first taste of French history before heading to Akaroa. The town was named after two brothers who held the land there after the French Settlement arrived in the 1840s. There are several historic sites, such as the 1921 post office, that show an interesting window to the past as you’re passing through. Or, if you’re up for a relaxing afternoon, get lunch at the DuVauchelle Store and Café, and dine in front of the harbour. Then, head down to the 18-hole golf course for a game that has some of the best scenery in New Zealand.