Welcome to Banks Peninsula, home of The Hector’s dolphins and eco-tourism pioneers Black Cat Cruises

What is Biomimicry? Human Nature & Mother Nature. Part 1 Of 4

Ever wondered how nature has inspired the way we as humans design, create and live? Being avid ocean wildlife and conservation supporters we are fascinated on a daily basis by the environment we work in and the marine mammals and wildlife that we work with. Has the behaviour or structure of our seas and / or its inhabitants played a part in modern technology? We asked leading British Biomimic William Lawson to deliver us a series of blogs around the subject so that we can share a sneak peek into this wonderful world of science with you………..

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For a lot of people, Biomimicry is still a completely new concept. The reason being, it was only formalised in the 90’s by one visionary (who we will come to later). Prior to this it was wrapped up in isolated cases of ‘nature-inspired innovation’, such as Velcro inspired by sticky plant seeds.

It has appeared sporadically in magazines and online over the last decade but hasn’t gained a huge amount of momentum in the public sphere as most of its achievements were confined to academic institutions or hidden in the lab still being tested… But all this is gradually changing!

The way I like to describe my role as a biomimic (a person that uses biomimicry) is as ‘Mother Nature’s middle man’!

That might sound a little contrived, so let me explain: Biomimics look to nature for inspiration or more specifically: for lessons and solutions. The lesson is how other species successfully adapt to each daily challenge they face, and the solution comes in finding a way to mimic these adaptations to solve human challenges. So actually what biomimicry is, is in the name; bios means life and mimicry is to copy or imitate, in this case, life!

As we often refer to ‘human nature’ and ‘Mother Nature’ as 2 separate, unrelatable concepts, some people may think that finding solutions to human challenges from nature is unrealistic. However, using a biomimicry approach, we see that this gap is constructed by a misunderstanding and underestimation, by us, of the species we live alongside (which I will explain later).

As biomimics, we hope to act as the middleman between the two concepts to create an environment when it is impossible to tell where ‘human nature’ begins and ‘Mother Nature’ ends. And so, this is why I see biomimics as ‘Mother Nature’s middle man’!

For example; a biomimic might study exactly how a leaf creates energy using photosynthesis, then use that knowledge to revolutionize solar panels, or how a jewel beetle produces it’s brilliant colour and use that blueprint to eliminate the need for chemicals in paint or how a mangrove tree turns salt water into fresh water using no electricity, so we might do the same.

Over this series of blogs I’d like to show you that biomimicry is something anybody can do, I’d like to inspire you to want to do it, and also show you that it’s a tool and a way of thinking to complement but not replace, other problem solving techniques.

So how do people get into biomimicry in the first place? All the biomimics I’ve met became involved in one of three different ways: 1. Some begin with an interest in the philosophy that biomimicry presents; that as a species, humans can and will do better, that we will aspire to enhance the environments we live in like other species do, and not degrade them. 2. Others are inspired by the biomimicry success stories: the people that have looked to nature for solutions and found them. 3. And then there are those who are simply drawn to nature itself: the opportunity to connect with nature for the first time or reconnect with it and see the natural world in a new light. These are often referred to as the 3 seeds in biomimicy and it was this final ‘reconnection seed’ that initially grabbed me. But how I became a biomimic has, like everything, a bit of story to it… I grew up in the north of the UK and had a very outdoorsy upbringing.

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a young lad, like many of us, I had no idea what I wanted to be, but two things were certain, I wanted to be outside and I wanted to do something important.

In university I made friends with a group of Kenyans who introduced me to Africa. It was my experiences out there that made me realize; I wanted to learn everything there was to know about nature!

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Over the next 3 years Claire Janisch and myself, who I also hosted with Janine, grew biomimicry thinking in South Africa and with it my learning, understanding and appreciation of biomimicry blossomed, and continues to do so. During this time, my understanding of our relationship with the natural world evolved; it changed from a thirst and desire to learn ABOUT nature to a realization that we can in fact, learn FROM nature: this is the very essence of biomimicry thinking.

William Lawson BiomimicThere have been many other important lessons and realizations I’ve gleaned from biomimicry over the years, but three actually form the foundation to its understanding:

1. The first thing that became very clear was that building things, growing food, cleaning water, making energy, and every other action we are tasked with as humans, are to a greater or lesser extent, the same jobs most other organisms are also faced with everyday.

2. I realized that out of all of these organisms alive today, humans are one of the youngest; in fact I found out that of all the organisms that have inhabited the Earth over the last 3.8 million years, 99.9% of them are now extinct, they simply couldn’t hack it! But, the 30 million or so species we share Earth with today could, and are therefore the ultimate success stories! That’s a lot of ‘crème de la crème’ survivors to learn from!

3. And finally, one of the most humbling fundamental lessons I’ve learnt, is that when other species elegantly solve one of their Earthly challenges, the resultant adaptation does not create other problems in the process; a regular, though unintentional by-product of human invention. In fact, they actually positively contribute and even enhance the environment in which they live. Now that really intrigued me and also forms part of the philosophy of biomimicry.

It’s been 7 years since I met Janine and what continues to drive my enthusiasm for biomimicry is how it has it’s place in everything we do; whether it’s construction, design, waste management, water treatment and even politics! I think that it’s this broad application that biomimicry has, that attracts such a range of people to it. Regardless of belief, background, training or aspirations, it quickly becomes obvious to those I’ve casually spoken to or trained in biomimicry, that there is more to learn from the rest of the natural world, than we ever imagined……..

 

Part 2 of 4 to follow….’Oceans of Biomimicry’

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Image credit: http://interfacedesignspace.com/biomimicry-basics/

Winter Whales in Akaroa

As an eco-tourism operator in Akaroa who for the longest time has spent decades taking customers out every single day to view the worlds rarest and smallest dolphin the Hector’s dolphin (also known as New Zealand dolphin as they are only found in our waters) we must say that we too gasp with joy when we have the opportunity to spot a pod of whales with our customers.

Humpback whales akaroa new zealand On occasion we will have pods of Orca pass by and during the winter if we are very lucky we may see a humpback whale or two as they migrate north past New Zealand from their summer feeding grounds off Antartica, in search of warmer tropical shores closer to the equator, for breeding.

This past month we have been lucky enough to witness 10 sightings on our daily Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise trips….and boy have the whales been playful. Splashing their flukes (tails), breaching and rolling (scientists aren’t completely sure why they display breaching behaviour. It is thought it may be to clean pests for the whales skin…or simply just for fun). It is believed that the whales may be spending longer here this winter as the water temperature has been a few degrees warmer. It’s apparently one of the warmest winters New Zealand has had in the last 107 years!

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Our skipper Julian captured some exclusive footage for us to share with you. He’s been working the seas for 18 years and this July has provided him with the best sightings he has ever had during his whole career. We also managed to capture these great photos by way of our awesome crew members Helen and Krystal….

You’ll see from the video and pictures that they grow very large…up to 13m in fact, with an adult male weighing up to 36,000kg.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_eo94DEk0E

 

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Safety Tip: It’s extremely important as a skipper, whether you’ve been driving a boat for 18 years or 18 months that we all observe safe practices when viewing wildlife. For example when we view whales we remain at least 50m from them, and should they approach the boat breaking this distance barrier we ensure to stop the engine and wait for them to pass by. We ask that you do the same and educate others when at sea in order to keep wildlife viewing safe for both ourselves and these amazing mammals.

For breaking wildlife and akaroa news make sure you follow us on Facebook!

If you love the footage pop over to our website’s photography gallery for more images or to our wildlife page on whales.

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If you’d like to learn a little more about their migration habits and what’s being done to understand their population numbers here’s a great article by National Geographic explaining  The Humpback Highway. https://www.nzgeo.com/stories/the-humpback-highway/

 

Thanks for reading our story. We hope to see you out on the water with us soon!

Best wishes from all of the team at Black Cat Cruises!

Black Cat Cruises $1million Upgrade In Akaroa…

In a huge boost for Canterbury tourism Black Cat Cruises has started a $1 million extension of its visitor and retail centre on Akaroa wharf.

The investment, recognising increased tourist numbers, has been welcomed by Christchurch & Canterbury Tourism as a strengthening the “visitor proposition” for the region.Akaroa Wharf Building

The revitalisation project includes the removal of old cold stores, part of the Black Cat Cruises centre, to allow a larger building with more retail, customer and staff facilities.

Whilst the project takes place over the winter their Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruises are still operating daily.

The eco-tourism operator’s new building design includes environmentally-friendly and power saving features along with better wheelchair access. The underlying wharf is also owned by Black Cat.
A wood pallet burner will heat water for the showers that visitors use after swimming with the dolphins in Akaroa Harbour. New toilets and change facilities are also part of the project with a September completion deadline.

Paul MilliganChief Executive for Black Cat Cruises

 

Chief executive Paul Milligan says the extension of the visitor centre is the biggest investment for Black Cat Cruises since the purchase of their flagship vessel, known as Black Cat, in 1999.
Black Cat Cruises now carries in the order of 100,000 passengers annually. The company’s visitor numbers during the 2015-16 summer season grew by a double digit percentage compared with the prior summer.
“Akaroa does really well for a small town to handle the number of people that are coming through,” Milligan says. “Without the addition of extra cruise ships into Akaroa Harbour following the 2011 Canterbury earthquakes we probably would not have considered investing so much.
“That being said some of our facilities needed upgrading. For example our shower and change rooms will include underfloor heating and we like to treat our all customers with a world-class product.”

Black Cat Cruises sales and marketing manager Natasha Lombart says the company is seeing renewed interest in Akaroa from international markets, and forward tourist bookings are now stretching out as far as August 2017.

The company has linked with shuttle bus operator Akaroa French Connection to provide better transport options from the Christchurch Bus Interchange.

Black Cat, which is celebrating 30 years in business, draws in millions of passengers each year on scenic and wildlife Akaroa cruises and regular Banks Peninsula ferry services.
The new extended building will allow for better flow of passengers on and off harbour Black Cat journeys, particularly in the peak summer operating period when it serves both onshore and cruise visitors.
“Akaroa is still voted by the passengers as their favourite stop throughout their cruises throughout New Zealand,” Milligan says.

 

Qualmark Enviro-Gold award True to their Eco-tourism pioneering roots Black Cat Cruises has worked with the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) on environmental details.

These include the generation of hot water in the most efficient manner and installing a new sewerage system, Milligan says.

 

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Christchurch & Canterbury Tourism (CCT) chief executive Vic Allen says Black Cat Cruises’ $1 million investment is significant and recognises the Akaroa’s importance a cruise ship and tourist destination.
CCT has been working with other organisations including Christchurch City Council to help deliver the new Christchurch city visitor strategy, as well as Christchurch Airport which will add airline capacity over the next 12 months to help boost overall tourism numbers. “We’re expecting strong growth for the foreseeable future,” Allen says.

Destinations like Tekapo, Hanmer and Akaroa are drawing in extra visitors and spending across the province.
“Since the earthquakes, regional areas such as Akaroa have become even more popular with tourists. This substantial expansion project will enhance the appeal and it’s a great thing for the entire region,” Allen says.

The Bachelor NZ – Swimming With Dolphins in Akaroa

We’ve been tight lipped and just bursting for last nights episode of The Bachelor NZ to air!

It was down to the final three ladies and we were stoked to host The Bachelor Jordan and his date Fleur in Akaroa on what was one of the shows ‘fantasy dates’.

We couldn’t think of anything better!

 

Click HERE to watch their Swimming With Dolphins experience with us in Akaroa

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We’ve also got a gallery full of images here which include some stunning scenic and wildlife shots…

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A BIG thank you to TV 3 for choosing us as the host of their Akaroa dolphin swim experience!!!

 

Whilst Banks Peninsula is home to some of the most romantic settings in New Zealand (check out this list compiled by Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism for some more inspiration)….the big question is….did Fleur recieve a rose?

Watch the full version of the show here

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#AkaroaNZ A round up of Akaroa’s 1st ever InstaMeet

Last Saturday Black Cat Cruises in partnership with Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism and Kiwi Instagrammer Kyle Mulinder aka @barekiwi hosted Akaroa’s first ever instameet….and what a success it was!  We were overwhlemed with not only the wonderful mix of nationalites from Kiwi to Canadian that attended, but just how far some people had travelled! I mean seriously travelled…on planes, trains, automobiles and even a scooter all the way from Queenstown. All to visit our beauitful Akaroa, meet likeminded indiviudals whilst sailing out on the Black Cat to see and photograph the sunset over the pacific ocean. But before we go anyfurther i’m sure a few of you ( like we all did not too long ago) are asking the questions…..

What Exactly Is An InstaMeet?

”A group of instagrammers all meeting together to take photo’s, learn and network” – Plains Fm

In todays crowdsourced content culture Instagram has become one of the leading mediums driven by a passionate, dedicated and inspiring community. For us that means we not only get to share our beautiful slice of Akaroa Harbour and the surrounding wildlife, but allow our guests to create and curate their own content…..and we love it!

Plains Fm came along to report on the evening and created a fantastic podcast you can listen to here.

So what happens when you put an award winning eco-tourism operator, together with their regional tourism office, one of New Zealands most influential Instagrammers and over 70 inspirational and creative people on a boat….Take a look….

And The Result…

For us the Instameet has created a brand new tribe of inspirational advocates that have created stunning content that it still pouring through….

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To view all of the images use #AkaroaNZ on instagram

The Next Instameet

Visit www.christchurchnz.com/instameet to keep up to date with the future events

$50 Seaweek Special Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise This Weekend….

“Toiora te Moana – Toiora te Tangata – Healthy Seas, Healthy People”.

The theme for this year’s Seaweek celebrations

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To celebrate we have two fantastic events happening with the first kicking off this Sunday….

The Blue Cruise

For $50 you can join us for a special Seaweek ‘Blue Cruise’ this sunday Feb 28th…with Black Cat Cruises donating 100% of the proceeds to New Zealands Whale and Dolphin Trust

The Blue Cruise is an Akaroa Harbour Cruise with a little ocean themed twist….complimentary blue buttercream cupcakes and a surprise gift!

To book simply call us on 0800 436 574 to secure your space.

#AkaroaNZ InstaMeet

Following our Blue Cruise we will then be co-hosting Akaroa’s first ever official InstaMeet in partnership with Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism on Saturday March 5th.

Join us in Akaroa for a beautiful sunset cruise along with epic NZ instagrammer Kyle Mulinder @bare_kiwi for a 90 minute harbour cruise. Refreshments will be served at the wharf pre and post cruise, and with a little luck we’ll be able to showcase not only our stunning volcanic harbour, but the rare and infamous Hector’s dolphins for some awesome photographic opportunities!

Best of all – it’s ABSOLUTELY FREE

Spaces are limited and so an RSVP is essential. You can RSVP to emma.oreilly@christchurchnz.com

In the meantime follow us on Instagram to see our edit of our favourite Akaroa and Banks Peninsula pics! #blackcatcruises and we may just feature yours…

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Live Sunday Sessions at Diamond Harbour this Summer…..

Wondering what to do in Christchurch this summer? Well we have the answer….grab some friends or the family and jump on the Diamond Harbour Ferry to cruise across Lyttleton Harbour and enjoy one of the many ‘Sunday Sessions’ planned this summer….

Live at the point

The annual summer series of Live at the Point kicked off with a mixture of gospel, country and generally sweet music from The Eastern on the 3rd January 2016. They then follow with the dates below…

  • January 2016:
  • 17th – Phoebe Leyten and Nomad
  • 24th – Fiona Pears
  • 31st – the Brooms
  • February 2016:
  • 7th – Lindon Puffin
  • 14th – Los Farsantes

It’s the perfect afternoon escape for local Christchurch folk or for people with friends and family visiting Christchurch…and best of all it’s completey free

For up to date info, pics and more check them out on Facebook

The series was started a few years back after a group of local folk came together (any locals are welcome!) who have an interest in supporting the post-earthquake recovery of our community. The group has been established as a sub-committee of the Diamond Harbour Community Association and is known as SPRIG (Stoddart Point Regeneration Ideas Group). SPRIG includes representatives from all the local residents associations, and seeks to work with all local groups. Thier membership is fluid and if you have an idea or wish to support a project then you are welcome to join for them as long as suits you, or just tell them what you think

Sign up for newsletters info@sprig.org.nz

Phoebe Leyten and Nomad

17 January 2016

Phoebe Leyten

Soul singer-songwriter and recording artist Phoebe Leyten also goes under the name Lelijveld to showcase her magical mix of funk, blues and soul music.” https://www.facebook.com/Lelijveld-1431283623785233/

Nomad

Christchurch teens, Nomad, have been winning over unsuspecting audiences, show by show. They opened for Fly My Pretties, Marlon Williams and Benny Tipene, and have played Lazy Sundays, Music in Parks Auckland, Festival of Lights New Plymouth and Queenstown Winterfestival. Aasha Mallard, Will McGillivray and Cullen Kiesanowski formed a band at school in Christchurch as 15-year olds and their differing musical tastes collide to shape their alt-pop/folk sound. They have just released the undeniably-catchy ‘Love Will Call’, written with Benny Tipene. Their debut, ‘I Will Find You’, was produced by Dave Dobbyn (who also features on guitar) and went to No 8 in the NZ singles chart.

Fiona Pears

24 January 2016

‘Electrifying’ – ‘extraordinarily animated’-‘featuring rare and natural charisma’.. These are words used to describe Fiona Pears, the highly talented violinist and composer from Christchurch. Together with her talented band, featuring Ian Tilley on piano, Pete Fleming on double bass and Mike Ferrar on guitar, Fiona will perform music from her own exciting compositions as well as some well known favorites. Expect a fiery melting pot of flavours! New Zealand born and now based in Christchurch after spending the last 10 years performing internationally, Fiona’s personal highlights include appearing at Ronnie Scott’s world famous jazz club in London and performing her own compositions and arrangements with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic. Fiona has released six CDs and two DVDs to date. Her latest CD Swing Driven Thing was released in 2014 and is a mixture of her own compositions alongside passionate gypsy jazz. Fiona has also performed as a soloist with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra and the Trust Waikato Symphony Orchestra. She is also a guest performer on the Cunard Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary cruises. http://www.fionapears.com

The Brooms

31 January 2016

Formed early 2013, the Brooms offer an eclectic repertoire of song covers ranging from country folk to pop and blues. Having a concealed number of years between them, their acoustic sound is diverse and infectious. Not 4, not 10, but up to as many as 14 strings plucked in poetic unison on bass, guitars and violin – yes – all this combined with lush vocal harmonies!

Lindon puffin

7 February 2016

Born in Christchurch and raised in Picton, Puffin first rose to national prominence as frontman of glam rock group The Puffins in the mid nineties. His music has been described as ‘a blend of heartfelt acoustic, country, rock and folk music’ and with a sound that compares to Chris Knox, Elvis Costello, and Morrissey.

Los Farsantes

14 February 2016

Los Farsantes (translated The Impostors) has become one of the most popular Latin bands to hail from “The Garden City” Christchurch, New Zealand, with their sonic melting pot of classic rock mixed with contagious latin rhythms and percussion. https://www.facebook.com/losfarsanteschch/

This Must Be Underwater Love

Black Cat Cruises is the only company in the world that I have taken a day off as holiday to spend….at work!

Well I mean when your company is an eco-toursim operator that offers world class dolphin cruise’s and swimming in the wild with the world’s smallest and rarest dolphin’s set in an extinct volcainc crater…wouldn’t you?

I’ve told friends and colleagues this before much to their amusement and understanding…and it seems it’s not just me at Black Cat that does this.

Last week our dolphin swim skipper Julian arrived at work extra early to join our early morning Swimming WIth Dolphins trip as a guest.

He bought along his GoPro to snap some pictures as he knows first hand how many awesome pictures our photographers and guests can get when out on the water with us.

Julian managed to snap a lot of his pictures underwater and they are pretty darn good…so good we thought we’d give you a little sneak peak at them…..we hope you enjoy them and if you do leave Julian a little comment below 🙂

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The Hector’s dolphins are one of the most playful and enquisitive oceanic species of dolphin

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Here’s looking at you…

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Bathing in sunlight just below the surface as a swimmer looks on from the right hand corner.

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Typically Hector’s swim in pods of between 2 – 12 however can come together to group in 100 at any one time

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The have distinct white bellies (similar to that of an orca)….

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and black rounded dorsal fins that remind us of a Mickey Mouse ear. Can you spot the second dolphin in this image?

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Julian making the most of his day before heading to work…on the boat in the background 🙂

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You can see just how close a Hector’s Dolphin can swim up to you in this picture as it cruises past a swimmer who is treading water. As one of New Zealand’s first ever eco-tourism operators and a certified SMART and DOC approved operator we ensure that our staff educate our guests on how to behave when encountering the dolphins in the wild. We do not track, feed, chase and touch them. We allow them to come to us on their terms and in their time. Its part of the magic of being allowed into their world and experiencing something extremeley special and unique.

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Dolphins, just like us humans, need air to breathe, The biggest threat to their species population is getting caught in fishing nets. We donate a portion from every dolphin swim and nature cruise towards the education and research of Hector’s dolphins to help save them from extinction.

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The image below is possibly one of our favourite shots. Taken just below the surface of the ocean you can see by the bend in the Hector’s dolphins tail that it’s about to take a dive…

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Eruptive Akaroa – Our Volcanic past

Banks Peninsula Volcanoes – Hot or Not?

To many in the area, Banks Peninsula is a beautiful place to relax, soak up a bit of local culture, or spend the day exploring and adventuring around the bays. But there’s more to this iconic part of the country than meets the eye.Akaroa hills

For those into geology, geography, or just good ol’ volcanic eruptions, Banks Peninsula’s Lyttelton Harbour proves to be a point of interest.

Between six and eleven million years ago, volcanic activity formed two volcanic cones that overlapped. After being subject to erosion and rising sea levels, which flooded the valleys of these cones, the harbours of Akaroa and Lyttelton were created. These two harbours are fairly new in the grand scheme of things – having only come to life about 7000 years ago.

The excitement of having a couple of volcanoes in our backyard has often led to many bouts of speculation. With the relative youth of these landmarks and the erratic nature of our fault lines below, there have been many“predictions” about what the future of the peninsula has in store for us. And with the worries surrounding the recent earthquakes in the area, there have been no shortage of such rumours in recent years.

Christchurch’s bout of seismic activity led many to believe that they could have something to do with the volcanoes we have sitting in our backyard. Some had concern

scenery nook akaroa

s that liquefaction was of volcanic origins, while others theorised that the seismic activity was concentrated around the old Lyttelton volcano. There were even several rumours that claimed the water in the harbour was climbing in temperature, reaching points that were too hot to touch anymore.

Although speculation about the status of Canterbury’s volcanic peninsula is nothing new, scientists were pretty quick to settle rumours about the volcanoes once and for all when it came to the quakes.

Scientists pointed out that the volcano has been extinct for many, many years. There are no written records of it erupting, and although it can be difficult to tell the difference between a dormant and an active volcano, the fact that it no longer has a magma supply is a pretty good indicator that it’s going to stay quiet for a while. The closest source of magma is in the North Island, and the likelihood of that managing to travel down south is very slim. In addition to that, the liquefaction and shifting water found during the quakes have been seen in many earthquakes completely unrelated to volcanic activity. And as for the hot springs cropping up around the harbour? Those were just plain, unfounded rumours.

up close in cathedral cave

Lyttelton’s volcanic past does play a huge part in the make up of the place though – erosion over time has revealed beautiful volcanic rock faces, some of which were once climbing hotspots in the area. With these and other landmarks as the only reminders of Lyttelton’s volcanic past, the residents of Banks Peninsula can be rest assured that their cherished bays will stay safe from volcanic harm.

Our Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise is a wonderful way to cruise through the extinct volcanic crater of Akaroa Harbour. Your skipper provides full commentry on the native wildlife, fascinating history and volcanic origins of the area.

Surviving the Summer Family Camp

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

Banks Peninsula is full of 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, here are ten things you could bring to ensure your New Zealand camping trip is a great success:

  1. Camp fire entertainment – Marshmallows, a 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.toasting marsmallows
  2. teepee sheetWet 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. It’s also a good idea to pack something that the kids can use as a sun sunshade. A simple piece of string and a sheet can make an awesome temporary DIY teepee tent. A great shade and a great den to play in.
  4. First 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. Sand fly repellent is a great idea too. No-one wants to be up woken up in the night with itchy ankles!
  5. Map – 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.
  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. Head torches work really well as you can be handsfree. They’re also great for a game of spotlight. Solar powered fairylights can also add a magic touch to any camping spot.fairy lights in akaroa
  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. There’s no reason you can’t ‘glamp’ up your own tent 🙂Camping in akaroa
  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!food natasha lombart Akaroa camp fire
  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.If you have a family member like our Marketing Manager’s dog Darcy she’ll be sure to get the loo roll out for you….according to her you can never have enough 😉 Loo roll Darcy Doodle
  10. A sense of adventure – 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!

To find our more about some of the local areas on Banks Peninsula check out our destination guide on our website.

For information on where to camp in and around Akaroa check out the guide on Akaroa.com here