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

Category Archives: Akaroa and Lyttelton News

60 Seconds with…

Sonya!

sonya

What is your name and what is your role at Black Cat Cruises….

Sonya Watts – Photography & Customer Service

 

Where is your role based….

Akaroa

 

What three words would your friend’s use to sum you up?

Very, very funny

 

Tell us a secret or something unique about you….

I’m a man. shhh

 

What did you dream you would do when you grew up and why….

Supermodel, because I’m hot

 

Why did you want to work for Black Cat Cruises….

Because I fancied the boss

 

What do you love most about your job….

My boss

 

What’s different about Black Cat than any other place you’ve worked….

The team!

Describe one of your best days here….

Everyday, working here is awesome!!!

Of Demons and Dolphins

At the age of 71 Richard Jacobs wasn’t just worried about his age when he took the plunge and joined us on a dolphin swim. This inspiring story wraps both his fears and life-long dream all into one, and demonstrates the reward that awaits when you take on a challenge…..

By Richard Jacobs

Is it possible to experience an adrenaline rush, a huge privilege and achieve an almost life-time longing all at the same time?  I really wasn’t sure.  The opportunity was right there, staring at me, teasing me, challenging me.  I just didn’t know if I had the confidence, the ability or the nerve.

It was about 4pm on a windy afternoon, about as far from home as I could be, when I asked for more information.  Would I be safe?  Did I need special insurance?  How long would it take?  In truth, I think I knew all the answers but perhaps I was looking for an easy way out – “Sorry, sir, we can’t take people of your age”.  I heard the opposite!  “No problem”.  It’s probably the most often heard expression in this far off land and that’s what I was told, “No problem at all.” richard jacobs

Well, there was still a problem for me.  In plain language, I suppose I was scared of letting myself down, of looking in some way inept or even of a genuine health risk.

Dinner outside that evening, overlooking one of the world’s most beautiful bays, really did provide food for thought.  At some point during the evening it all seemed straight forward.  I would probably never have such a unique opportunity.  I would be highly unlikely to be at this particular location again and, most important of all, I was at risk of letting myself down for no good or logical reason.  I’ll do it!

It all sounds a bit dramatic but here are some of the considerations that I had decided would not deter me.  I’m 71 years old with a load of metal in my back from recent spinal surgery.  I have moderate heart failure and I suffer from occasional bouts of angina.  It was 15 years, to the day, since two paramedics saved my life in an ambulance after a heart attack and, oh yes, as well as having a pathological fear of sharks, I don’t like cold water!

The challenge?  It doesn’t sound much as I write it here.  I was going to swim with dolphins where the Southern Ocean meets the South Pacific.  Not just any old dolphins, however, these were Hector’s dolphins; one of the rarest, smallest and most endangered dolphins in the world.  It is estimated that there are only some 7,000 left and they can be found around much of the eastern coast of New Zealand.  The largest concentration is believed to be off Akaroa on the Banks Peninsular, south of Christchurch – and that is just where I was on that November day.

These pods or groups of dolphins are normally made up of eight or ten individuals.  Because of their relatively small size – they grow to only about 1.2 metres long and are about as big as a five year old child – they do not have the lung capacity of the larger dolphins and, therefore, cannot dive to great depths for their food.  Hence their love for the relatively shallow waters off this coast, where the water shelves down to only about 200 feet and, as the song goes, “the fishing is easy”.  Of course if they are fishing for food, they are not going to come and frolic with us swimmers who presume to invade their watery world.  Equally, like us, they may sometimes just not want to socialise and our skipper on the dive boat tells us we may not even see any at all.

Back to the plot.  I had been told to report at 8.30 in the morning but I was waiting on the wharf from nearly an hour before that time.  The night had been good but waking to a howling wind did nothing for my confidence and made me wonder if the trip might be cancelled.  Then at least I would have an excuse.  “Well, I signed up but the weather was too bad.”  “No problem”, came the familiar reply as skipper and crew arrived for the day’s work.

An initial shore briefing was followed by a ludicrous struggle to force my 18 stone bulk into an enormous wetsuit and boots, together with the morale boosting comment that, with the sea temperature at just 12 degrees C, the neoprene suit would keep me warm – ish!

More briefing as we sped up Akaroa harbour, with explanations about the necessary hand signals to use once we were in the water.  One for help and one for, “I’m fine”.

Ten minutes later, Hector’s dolphins were spotted and the powerful catamaran idled in the choppy water as eight of us climbed over the stern and into that very cold sea.  Not being used to swimming wearing a wetsuit brought its own problems.  My legs persistently wanted to be where my head should be!  The net result included several mouthfuls of salt water and a pretty ludicrous sight, I suspect, until I was told to bicycle with my legs.  Having attained more or less the correct posture, I hear a shout of, “Richard, behind you!”  Spinning in the water, I was just in time to see two sleek and beautiful shapes swim past me about three feet away.  I know I screamed with excitement but, thankfully, so did the rest of the party.

The water was rough and facing into the wind meant a face full of spray.  We swam for about five minutes and I came out early as my first efforts to stay head up had been a bit strenuous.  We then motored our way outside the confines of the bay and into the ocean.  Here it was not so choppy but there was a good swell running.  About a mile or so off shore, we suddenly had eight or ten dolphins swimming behind the boat and we all climbed down into the water.  It was this second swim which brought home the enormous privilege of being with these wild animals in their habitat.  jacob and hectorsTo add yet more wonder to the moment, a huge albatross flew over us.

I have never before experienced the euphoria that this swim generated.” 

I wasn’t scared; I wasn’t out of breath; I wasn’t even cold!  More importantly, I wasn’t going to miss out on such a special moment.  I freely admit to being a little proud of myself for having committed to this adventure.  I had talked of wanting to swim with dolphins for so many years and here I was, doing just that.

The pod swam in and around us for about 15 minutes, maybe more.  To be honest, I lost all sense of time.  This was a truly wonderful experience and I know I had a huge smile on my face and I have the pictures to prove it.

So, that adrenaline rush was matched by a huge sense of achievement and a long held ambition was realised.  It is matched by the knowledge that, whilst many other people have swum with dolphins, this was an intensely personal moment for me, when I defeated my demons.  At the time, it moved me to a tear or two but the sea water hid that from those around me.

”To be accepted into the world of this unique animal was one of life’s special moments and a huge privilege.  The effects of those few minutes will last a life time.”

Survival of the species – Rare dolphin calves sighted in Akaroa Harbour

tv1 screen shot 2

This morning we made TV1 Breakfast News with our rare sighting of dolphin calves in Akaroa Harbour. Each year we eagerly wait to spot the first calf of the season. To see a mother and it’s calf is always great news for the endangered species.

Hectors dolphin calves

Early summer has seen Hector’s dolphin calves spotted swimming with their mothers in the harbour, which is always exciting, Black Cat Cruises Sales & Marketing Manager Natasha Lombart said.

“Hector’s Dolphins are classified as endangered by the World Conservation Union (IUCN). Because of their coastal habitat and slow reproductive rate they are particularly vulnerable to entanglement in fishing gear, especially gill nets, so we never fail to get enthusiastic when calves are spotted.”

Black Cat Cruises skipper Julian Yates said two Hector dolphin mothers and their calves were seen between Bush Bay and the salmon farm, half way across the bay in Akaroa Harbour.

“That there were two babies’ with two mums was just fantastic,” he said. “They were just cruising and the guest reactions on board were great – they were so excited to see such a rare species of new born babies, it was wonder, a real treat and so delightful.”

Yates said guests on the harbour cruise could clearly see the calves’ stripes from being folded up inside mother’s tummy as they able to swim as soon as they are born.hectors dolphin calf folded skin

Females usually have one calf every two to three years. The calves are 50 to 60 centimetres long at birth and stay close to their mothers who provide them with milk and protection for about a year until they are old enough to fend for themselves.

Hector’s dolphins are among the most endangered in the world.

It has been an eventful week for Black Cat Cruises as a female Orca and her two claves were seen playing with a pod of Hector’s dolphins near the entrance to Akaroa Harbour last week.

Yates said it was extremely rare to see Orca’s interacting with Hector’s as Orcas are known for preying on dolphins.

To watch the TV1 breakfast news clip follow this link http://tvnz.co.nz/breakfast/2014-12-18-video-6208476 and scroll to 1.08:25

tv1 akaroa harbour news

Banks Pensinsula Festival of Walking

Established by the local residents of Banks Peninsula, the walking festival was created to share thier passion for this special place with those from the wider community.

What’s it all about?

banks peninusla walking festival

The Banks Peninsula Walking Festival offers guided walks all over the peninsula including lyttelton, Little River, Akaroa and the outer bays. The guides, who are all volunteers, bring a huge wealth of knowledge and experience, which makes each walk a truly unique experience. It’s a one off opportunity to  gain guided access to tracks, reserves and private land.

Because of the success in recent years, for 2014 the festival has been extended to take in the four weekends of November. This will allow more opportunity for  more people to do the walks they want.

Participants will enjoy refreshing walks, and are guaranteed to have an enjoyable experience as they relax, meet new people and together absorb the stories and atmosphere of this fantastic land, right on the doorstep of Christchurch.

 

 

Who can join in?

Everyone! There are walks for all ages and fitness levels, covering everything from town, rural and wilderness walks.

Camping on Quail Island

camping on quail islandAs part of the festival this is also your one chance to spend a night camping on Quail Island! At Black Cat we often receieve queries regarding camping on the island which is a DOC site, however camping is not permitted at any time….until now.

On Saturday, November 22nd for one night only, you can. Bring your tent and some food for the BBQ that will be put on. There will even be games organised for kids. The price is $25 per adult and $12.50 for children. For more information on Quail Island click here.

There is even a Facbook page you can follow

It is essential that you pre-book you walk. Phone 03 328 9093

Event Information

  • Bookings are necessary for all walks.
  • Leaders are accomplished volunteers with a wealth of knowledge to share.
  • Participants are responsible for their own safety, equipment, food, clothing and vehicles.
  • Children under 10 can join a wlak forfree.
  • Please arrive 10 minutes ahead of your departure time.
  • To check for weather postponements/cancellations visit www.lyttelton.net.nz or call us on 328 9093

The Perfect English Countryside Escape… In New Zealand

This week the Huffington Post, an American online newspaper, featured an article on ‘The Perfect English Countryside Escape…..in New Zealand’.

Where about’s in New Zealand you ask? Answer: Akaroa Harbour!

After forgiving them for forgetting that this is 100% pure new zealand in their articles title we can firmly say that the feature is a testament to the international appeal of our stunning and perfectly preserved peninsula and village.  Perhaps it’s why the worlds rarest and smallest dolphins, the Hector’s, choose to call this place home???

We just wonder what they would make of Akaroa harbour if we were to take them out dolphin swimming with the Hector’s dolphins…or on an Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise…….

If The Huffington Post decide to travel over this way, an invitation awaits………

akaroa harbour

The images from the article speak for themselves……

akaroa harbour

Akaroa truly is the perfect getaway escape if you are planning a holiday in New Zealand. With the stunning landscape (a photographers dream destination), variety of accommodation and dining options, and of course things to do (cue Black Cat Cruises), what more could you ask for?

A link to the full article from The Huffington Press and pictures can be found here….

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/23/akaroa-harbour-new-zealand_n_5185891.html

Akaroa Museum

This is a great Akaroa activity that won’t take up too much of your time, and will send you away with some great facts on this historic French village.

After having to close for repairs and restoration after the February 2011 earthquake, in July last year, the Akaroa Museum opened its doors to the public once again and as of July 1st it became FREE TO ENTER.

Akaroa Museum

Akaroa museum

Located at 71 Rue Lavaud, the museum provides a fascinating history of Akaroa and its surrounding areas, and is a great reason to get your inner historian out and about in the harbour.

At the moment, Akaroa Museum is hosting an exhibition about the Maori heritage of the bay with a display entitled “Horomaka,” as well as letting the public meander through the fully restored Court House with its new mini theatre – perfect for viewing the local documentary,  “Akaroa – The Long Harbour.”

In short, Akaroa Museum is once again fully equipped to satisfy your local historical needs, or occupy a rainy afternoon in the bay.

For a taste of what to expect from your visit to Akaroa Museum, here are five of the best exhibitions they have showcased over recent years:

1.)    Akaroa on Holiday

Featuring artefacts that document Akaroa’s history and development as Canterbury’s premier tourist destination, the ‘Akaroa on Holiday’ exhibition took a look at past promotional efforts to get the town to where it is today.

By the 1920’s Akaroa was well established as a holiday destination and was actively promoting itself to tourists

Visit Akaroa

With town now known for the campers, bach-owners, day-trippers, honeymooners and cruise ships that populate the harbour during summer months, it seems to have worked pretty well.

Did you know Black Cat Cruises were the first tourism operator in Akaroa to offer nature cruises out on the harbour?

2.)    Mystery and Delight at Every Turn

A series of black and white photographs taken by local Peter Beaven in the 1960s gave an incredible look at Akaroa frozen in time. With a focus on what the photographer saw as the things that gave Akaroa its charm and character, the snaps really highlight what is important about the architecture and feel of the seaside village.

3.)    Obscure and Obsolete Objects

Diving into the depths of the storeroom, the Akaroa Museum curators came up with a collection of weird and wacky objects, from curd-cutters to fly traps, to decorate the exhibition room in September 2003. Visitors had to guess what the objects were before finding out if their predictions were correct at the end of the exhibition.

4.)    Harley Davidsons

One for a bit of a tough guy crowd, back in February 2004 the Akaroa Museum put on an exhibition especially for the Harley Davidson enthusiasts making their way over the hill and into the harbour for a rally the town was hosting. The display included a 1928 Harley with a sidecar that had been used by the local butcher’s for deliveries back in the day.

5.)    Disasters, Mysteries and Sensations

As does every small town, Akaroa has had its fair share of trials and tribulations over the years. This exhibition paid homage to dramatic events such as raging epidemics, fatal fires, and mysterious disappearances that challenged the village and shaped its future.

For further information visit the Akaroa Museum website

Lyttelton Harbour Festival of Lights – Street Party Tonight!

Every year, in the middle of a cold  Christchurch winter, Lyttelton residents bring a bit of brightness back to Banks Peninsula with the harbour’s Festival of Lights. This years it’s running from June 19th – 21st The Highlight…….?  The ‘Matariki’ Street Party!

 

When: Friday June 20th, 5.30pm – FIREWORKS 7.30pm

 

Where: London Street, Lyttelton

 

What: A fantastic winter street party. Usually held to coincide with both the Matariki Maori New Year celebrations and the winter solstice, Lyttelton’s London Street transforms into a buzzing and beautiful scene. Light displays, sculptures and installations, music, dance and spoken word bring the community out of hibernation for this spectacle. Throw in a Friday night Street Party crammed with stalls amongst lanterns and light based artworks, followed with a spectacular fireworks display, and it’s easy to see why people in the know come out of the cold for this yearly event.

 

History: The Project Lyttelton team began the event in 2005 as something for the 3000 passengers on board a cruise ship moored in the port for the Lions Rugby Tour. But after seeing the spirit from the community in response to being part of the festival, they decided it was something that needed to stay. So each year the organisation collaborates with the council, libraries, and local businesses, working together to ensure there’s always something on for everyone. And this year is no exception.

 

Getting there: Take bus 28 or 35, carpool or use the free shuttle bus from the gondola (from 5:30pm). Parking is strictly limited. If you’re coming from Diamond Harbour the Ferry will be running it’s usual service all night. For the schedule click here
Tip: Bring your own reusable cup or buy one of ours at the festival tonight. If you’re a true foodie don’t miss the Mid-Winter Chirstmas Market tomorrow from 10am – 1pm!

 

You can be sure that the spectacle is worth the trip out to the harbour. There’s no better excuse for getting out in the winter weather to welcome in the Maori New Year and celebrate the winter solstice than heading over to the Lyttelton Harbour Festival of Lights.

 

Lyttelton Harbour Lights up the sky at the Festival of Lights

 

Find out more about the Festival of Lights on their Facebook page:

 

 

or to find out what’s going on in Lyttelton, visit their website: http://www.lyttelton.net.nz/festivals/festival-of-lights

72 hours in Canterbury

What would you do if you had just 72 hours in Canterbury ? Come to Akaroa of course………

Imagine you were told you could write a wishlist of the best New Zealand activities Canterbury has to offer….and it would come true!

Well Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism recently ran a” Win your dream 72 hours in Canterbury” campaign  over in Australia asking entrants to describe how they would spend their 72 hours.  The prize; your dream 72 hours will come true!

The competition came to a close and the lucky winner has just spent this past weekend having the time of his life with his wife visiting Christchurch, Akaroa, the Waipara Wine Region AND Hanmer……..His winning itinerary you ask?

DAY 1

Location: Christchurch

 

    • After flying into Christchurch it was a trip straight to the i-site to book all of their tickets.

 

    • Then it was a visit to the re-start mall to take in what’s happening within the Christchurch CBD
      Re:Start Mall in Christchurch

      things to do in christchurch or akaroa

 

 

 

    • For lunch it was off to Madras Street for Pizza followed by some fun wheel action on the Segway Urban Wheels.

 

    • A leisurely afternoon was then spent punting on the Avon. An iconic and classic Christchurch activity, before settling in for the night at a hotel in Christchurch.

 

DAY 2

Location: Akaroa

Day 2 is ”all things French” as they headed off to Akaroa. En-route from Christchurch they stopped off for an early morning Gondola ride to take in the majestic views down Banks Peninsula

After taking the 90 minute scenic drive to Akaroa there was time for a stroll in the streets to enjoy the shops, galleries and a french inspired lunch

Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise

Akaroa Harbour & wildlife cruise

Straight after lunch it was all aboard the Black Cat boat to enjoy an Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise. An opportunity to enjoy the marine and bird life whilst taking in the breathtaking views of the extinct volcanic harbour. The team at Black Cat were so pleased to host the winner and his guest. It’s wonderful to play a part in makeing a dream trip come true!

After two hours on the water with Black Cat it was back on land for a drive along the summit road. A spectacular peninsula drive with great New Zealand photography locations along the way!

All finished off with dinner at Vangionis

DAY 3

Location: Waipara Valley, Hamner Springs

Sad to leave Akaroa it was then on to a day of pure indulgence as they headed to the Waipara Valley and Hanmer Springs.

The 3 hour drive to Hanmer was broken up by visiting numerous wineries along the way in Waipara wine region and lunch at a local winery.

Waipara Wine Region in Canterbury, New Zealand

Waipara Wine region things to do canterbury

Arriving in Hanmer called for one thing only – a stop off at the Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa followed by a body treatment for him and her – one word, Divine!

Late afternoon was then spent meandering through the shops and boutiques in Hanmer before choosing a spot for dinner and home to beautiful retreat for bed!

What a wonderful 3 days!!!

There is so much on offer in the Canterbury region we would find it hard to choose (apart from the Black Cat experience in Akaroa of course!) What would your dream itinerary be if you had just 72 hours in Canterbury? We recommend using the Christchurch and Canterbury Toursim website to help plan your trip!

Random Acts of Kindness

Four simple words that could change some-ones day, week or even life….

We at Black Cat HQ wanted to share a blog post covering this topic, as unbeknown to us, a member of our staff in Akaroa had quietly bestowed a random act of kindness onto a complete stranger (that is until the office received the most heart warming thank you email…which we will get to in a moment).

So what is a ‘Random Act of Kindness‘? Well according to that great source Wikipedia it is quite simply

‘A selfless act performed by a person or people wishing to either assist or cheer up an individual person or people.’

Our skipper Julian did exactly just that and here is the email that followed……

Hi there

I just wanted to write to say thank you to the lovely captain and crew member of the Black Cat for making my mothers birthday very special.

My mother and her husband have gone through a lot over the last few year. They lost a daughter, then lost all their possessions in the Christchurch earthquakes, had to give away their beloved dog so they could get accommodation, fight insurance companies and EQC but they have got by and they know they are better off than a lot of other people in Christchurch.

So for my mothers 80th birthday my brothers and I all put in and bought her a voucher for two nights accommodation and meals in Akaroa. At the time I looked at your website to see about getting them on a cruise too but we just couldn’t come up with enough money to do it. My mother and her husband went to Akaroa last week and decided to go for a walk on the pier. It was while they were watching the Black Cat getting ready to go out that the Captain came over and talked to them. The next thing my mother knew she was going on the cruise herself and she absolutely loved it. She has talked non stop about how great it was and how nice the crew was and she still cannot believe that she was invited on the cruise. You really made her day and I wanted to let you know that, as I feel that she has gone through so much in the last few years, that for a complete stranger to do such a lovely act of kindness was amazing. To see my mum so happy was really special for me as my father just passed away recently and my mum means the world to me. So once again thank you so much for your kindness and generosity.

So why offer a selfless act? If you’re getting nothing in return why bother, right? Wrong! Random acts of kindness not only reward the receiver, they reward the person giving. There is so much pleasure to be found in putting a smile upon some-ones face…and as the email above pointed out, you never quite know what some-one has been through or may be going through. So thank you Julian for making not only this lady’s day, but for reminding us of the simplicity and ability we all have to make a person smile!

Now you may wonder why we would want to publicise what is deemed to be a selfless act. Quite frankly we want to share the story to encourage YOU to perform your very own random act of kindness! Even businesses are getting behind the action of doing kind, random deeds. Check out this fun video from Coca Cola, who wanted to spread some free happiness…..Coca-Cola Happiness Machine

And lastly before we leave you…

Did you know New Zealand is the only country in he world to have a dedicated Random Acts of Kindness day? (September, 1st FYI )

 

There’s a whole website about it which contains some great ideas.

 

But why wait until then….it’s the weekend, go spread some kindness!

CHRISTCHURCH TO AKAROA A GREAT DAY OUT ON THE BIKE

The ride to Akaroa from Christchurch is my ‘go to’ ride when I’m in need of a great day out on the bike and some good quality miles, and it’s been even more valuable in recent times giving the fact we have two young daughters at home, aged 17 and three months, so it’s provided the opportunity to combine a great ride with some quality family time too.

The great thing about riding to Akaroa is that not only does it provide some great climbingfantastic views, fast descents and some good flat riding, meaning you get a range of cycling experiences, afterwards you get to hang out in Akaroa with the family and experience the charm of the historic village nestled in the heart of an ancient volcano.

There are loads a great accommodation options to stay overnight and Akaroa Harbour and the surrounding hills provides an enormous range of activities, including cruises on the harbour and the chance to swim with the world’s smallest and rarest dolphin, the Hector’s Dolphin.

Riding over and staying with the family who drive over combines training with valuable family time, and then there’s always the option of riding back the following day.

With the iconic Le Race cycle event looming it’s a great time to combine an awesome training ride over to Akaroa, an afternoon out on the Harbour and then an evening in Akaroa.

John competing in Le Race to Akaroa in 2006. 8 years on and he is still up for the challenge!

cycle to akaroa

The ride over includes 1800 metres of climbing so you really do get a good solid work out. The Le Race course heads up Colombo Street and then climbs up Dyers Pass, right past where we live, up into the Port Hills above Christchurch passing first the Sign of the Takahe, then the Sign of the Kiwi at over 300 metres above sea level – also the first spot for the King and Queen of the Mountains competition on race day – before turning right and heading along the Summit Road.

Le Race course

Le Race in action – captured by Bruce Wilson

Le Race Christchurch

From high up on the Summit Road there are magnificent views across the Canterbury Plains to the Southern Alps and eastwards to the sea up Lyttleton harbour.

The ride around the Summit Road really is quite special. With awesome views it never fails to impress me, and I know we can be guilty of taking it all for granted at times.

The road south along the Summit Road has a number of short power climbs and descents  before the first fast long downhill through to Gebbies Pass before turning right and heading towards Motukarara.

The downhill towards Gebbies Pass has several cattle stops, so taking it carefully is important, and after the recent heavy rain there is the odd section of debris on the road, but nothing too bad and you can be sure by race day on the 29th it will all be well tidied up.

Once on the flat you take the first left and head long Millers Road that takes you out to the main Christchurch to Akaroa Road. From here the road heads toward Little River and Cooptown, hugging first Lake Ellesmere and then the smaller Lake Forsyth. Little River is a great place to stop for a coffee and fuel up before tackling the six kilometre Hill Top climb.  There are a couple of nice cafes and an art gallery well worth a visit.

The climb up to Hill Top gives you a sense of the ‘Tour de France’ hence the Le Race being referred to as a ‘slice of the Tour de France.’

It’s a workout!

Although the uphill efforts are much shorter than the famous European climbs, there is a sense of real alpine efforts and once at the top of Hill Top there are magnificent views across the peninsula including spotting Akaroa in the distance.

That infamous view down to Akaroa and the bays

Akaroa images

The main road dips to the right but most cyclists follow the route for Le Race, turning to the left to follow the Summit Road as it loops high above Akaroa Harbour off to the right and Pigeon, Okains and Le Bons Bays to the left.

This section is where the business is really done on race day, but on a nice day on a ‘training’ ride its one of the most spectacular sections of road to ride anywhere, and well worth taking a moment to ‘small the roses’ and appreciate what a magnificent part of the world it is.

Eventually the road drops down into Long Bay Road and into Akaroa itself, where a well earned coffee and lunch with the family await.

After lunch there’s the opportunity to explore the town or head out on the harbour to get up close and personal with the marine life, including the playful Hector’s dolphins, and then stay the night, like the Tui adverts, ‘well earned.’