Akaroa in the Winter

August 8, 2013

We’ve been to Akaroa once before, and we discovered tree houses can be a little creepy and it’s completely acceptable for there to be a spider in one’s cereal bowl. That of course has nothing to do with Akaroa, but until now was pretty much the defining memory of the place.

Well, last weekend we rented a little bach in Akaroa and spent some quality time with Scott’s parents. (A bach is “a small, often very modest holiday home or beach house. Baches are an iconic part of New Zealand history and culture, especially in the middle of the 20th century, where they symbolized the beach holiday lifestyle that was becoming more accessible to the middle class” – thank you Wikipedia.) 

Actually, while I’m on the topic, I think bachs are a great way to stay during your travels in New Zealand. They are frequently the same price or cheaper than a hotel room ($100-$150 is average), and they will almost definitely provide more privacy, a kitchen, and a better view. The best website for finding a bach to stay at is Holidayhouses.co.nz, although I’ve also had good luck with Airbnb.com. The downside to the first website is you will either have to pay via NZ bank transfer (not an option if you are a foreigner), or arrange to pay cash at some point which could be tricky. Airbnb allows for credit card payments, but they are sneaky and skim off a bit of a fee for themselves. Regardless, I’ve had great luck with both websites.

Our bach in Akaroa

So you can see- they’re frequently nothing fancy- although honestly this one was a bit more modest than many. Anyways, there’s my travel tip for the day.

Moving on. Scott and his folks drove to Akaroa on Saturday morning while I stayed behind to work (story of my life). They took a beautiful drive along the ridge and enjoyed the stunning coastline, and did a little off-roading in his poor Subaru. Things belonging to Scott must be tough. 

This was not the slippery, greasy spot they almost got stuck at…

Yep, it was foggy and windy and frankly not very warm. It is the middle of winter after all… You can easily spot the fog layer that stubbornly blanketed the top of the hills all weekend.


On Sunday we hiked through a beautiful park in central Akaroa. We were lucky enough to see some Fantails. They’re funny little birds to watch. They flit and swoop and hop around a lot, and are basically impossible to catch in a photo. They can’t weigh more than a couple of grams, which allows them to do silly things like hang upside-down from the branches while fanning their tails and showing off.

Stay still you little bugger.
You’re not helping.
Sitting still is clearly not an option

Right when I thought all the cute-ness was over for the weekend, the next thing happened while we were driving through the country. Lambs. That’s right mom, it’s lamb season!!! And not only did we see itty bitty baby lambs, they were little black lambs. Which for some reason, is the cutest thing that has ever happened. Unfortunately we couldn’t get very close to them, so these pics are the best I could get…

I know, you can’t really see a thing. But they were adorable.

We discovered during this trip that Akaroa basically shuts down during the winter. About 50% of the restaurants and shops are completely shut, even on the weekends, leaving the wary winter traveler with limited options. We weren’t able to share our favorite restaurant with Scott’s parents, which was a bit disappointing. On the other hand though, travel is cheaper this time of year. So I guess you have your trade-offs.

Looking down on Akaroa town

We took the scenic route back to Christchurch, which still only takes about 90 minutes. I really cant complain about how many wonderful spots there are within an hour or two of our city!

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