NEW ZEALAND – Rangiora and Akaroa

It has been ten years since we visited the land of the Long White Cloud and so our trip to see the Williams family was long overdue.  We arrived in Christchurch after a short flight from Sydney and spent the first couple of days at Rangiora with Ron and his daughter Zoe.  It was wonderful to be back at their peaceful retreat with a view of the Southern Alps and their cattle quietly grazing in the front paddock at the front of the house.

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The weather was superb and so on the first day we drove to Blacks Winery in Wairapa for a relaxed lunch outside with the beautiful hills all around and dotted with vines. The Chardonnay was pretty good too!

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Then it was off to the pretty little town of Akaroa on the Banks Peninsula which is about an hour’s drive from Christchurch.  It is a stunning drive over the hills and the views were simply superb.

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The town has a pretty harbour and has an interesting history.  French settlers arrived before the English and as a result the streets still bear French names as do many of the shops and restaurants and the majority of tourists appear to be French!

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There is still a Maori influence as well and we went to a little settlement close by where there is a beautiful little wooden church built by the missionaries years ago and still used today.

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New Zealand is known for its adventurous spirit and people here love to be physical whenever they can – this involves walking, cycling, swimming, water sports of all kinds, team sports and anything else you can think of.  At Akaroa there are many walks and “rambles” around the town, the harbour and the surrounding hills.  We went to one which is a Nature Reserve as well and the views were simply magnificent.  The park is guarded by a totem of the God Tawhiri Matea.

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Akaroa, with its quaint houses, history and village like atmosphere will always remain a favourite place for me and hopefully there will be many more visits.

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