Departing Christchurch, we venture through the Lyttelton tunnel into the township of Lyttelton before stopping at the Sumner Road Lookout for dramatic views of any larger ships that are in harbour, and views out to the open sea, and then up to the restored Lyttelton Timeball station.
Heading back through Lyttelton, we then follow the road around Lyttelton Harbour/Whakaraupo through a number of famous settlements such as Cass Bay, Rapaki, and Governors Bay, each with their own story to tell, to Diamond Harbour stopping here and there to enjoy the scenery. From Diamond Harbour we enjoy views “from the other side” of Lyttelton Harbour, before resuming our tour via Purau Bay.
From Purau Bay, we leave Lyttelton Harbour behind and begin the long climb up and around the sides of Mt Evans before dropping down into Port Levy and stopping at the picturesque settlement of Puari for morning tea and a bit of exploration. From there we make our way up and over Wild Cattle Hill for a quick stop at Little Pigeon Bay before making our next full stop at Pigeon Bay itself
From Pigeon Bay, we take the scenic route via Little Akaloa and Chorlton to Okains Bay where we enjoy a picnic lunch and explore the area including the remains of the old trading wharf where little remains except the built up shore line and a number of posts out in the bay that is slowly succumbing to nature
After lunch we venture further around Banks Peninsula until we arrive at Le Bons Bay, and then Fishermans Bay Gardens in time for afternoon tea. Please note that Fishermans Bay Gardens are open seasonally and are not available to us year round. From here we traverse the Banks Peninsula hills to arrive in the settlement of Akaroa, and check into our hotel before venturing around town with some free time, before converging on one of the local restaurants for dinner.
After a leisurely breakfast, you have the option to join a nature cruise of Akaroa Harbour (Optional extra – purchased separately when making your booking with us) or join us again as we head south along Lighthouse Rd to the Akaroa Head Scenic Reserve for stunning ocean-cliff-top views of the Akaroa Harbour Heads, before venturing down the Haylocks Bay Dray track into Haylocks Bay, the tight narrow confines of which make an ideal sanctuary for the New Zealand Fur Seal which can be seen here from time to time.
Once back in Akaroa, we uplift those that went on the nature cruise before enjoying a filling lunch and then heading around the shorelines of the Akaroa Harbour towards the famous Barry’s Bay Cheese Factory, where you can purchase a wide variety of locally made cheeses, salamis, and wines.
Carrying on around the western side of the Akaroa Harbour, we venture through an area known as French Farm and the settlement of Wainui before making a long climb up the hill via Jubilee Rd, and then Bossu Rd, visiting the Southern Banks Peninsula bays of Peraki, Te Oka, and Tumbledown Bay where we enjoy afternoon tea
Resuming our journey, we once again follow Bossu Rd round until it is high above Lake Forsyth giving us incredible views to the West, including Kaitorete Spit with Lake Ellesmere, and on a clear day the Southern Alps on the Western skyline. Backtracking once again, we now join Kinloch Rd for the long tortuous descent into Little River (ice cream anyone?).
From there we head to Birdlings Flat with its stony ocean beach fronting onto the mighty Pacific Ocean and sea-cliffs fronting Banks Peninsula before also visiting Lake Ellesmere for bird and (at the right time of day and season) sunset watching across the lake, before returning to Christchurch by early evening
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