Lake Sumner – Amberly – Chch – Godley Head – Tai Tapu – Akaroa – Methven (Days 138-150)
After having such stellar tramps nearly back to back for 3 weeks, we moved into more of a sedate road trip, through Canterbury – with day walks as and when we could. The weather dictated a few decisions, and it was also a wonderful chance to catch-up with friends and family, and experience some of Canterbury’s small towns and nature. The scale of the alps and the plains are breath-taking, and more than once we remarked that we were glad we had the car to get to a wider range of places, than we could have ever done on foot.
Lake Sumner – we had intended to do at least an overnight tramp here, but once we got to Lake Taylor via the 50km gravel road, we decided we were remote enough. The DoC campsite is right on the lake – with a toilet, water and cooking shelter. We shared it with 4 other campers – delighting in the emptiness, everyone stayed away from each other. The stars at night were spectacular. We even managed a swim in the lake! Ahh, summer is here.
After an overnight in Amberley to freshen up, and savour Brew Moon’s finest beers, we had a delightful family night in Christchurch, and then headed out to Sumner for a gorgeous beach day, and then up (and up) to Awaroa/Godley Head DoC campsite. Wow-wee – it got wild up there. The wind came up, and being perched on the edge of Banks Peninsula provided no protection. We sheltered in the car most of the evening, and then our little tent thankfully stood up to the night’s rain and wind. But our planned hike was postponed!
We spent a lovely weekend with good friends outside of Tai Tapu – learning what life on a life-style block entails – we could cope with the hens and the gin distilling – just not too sure about the gardening, rearing the cattle beasts and having an implement shed full of equipment to master. Guess we are still townies, even after all this wandering.
Akaroa on a budget is an interesting exercise. We stayed well away from the eating establishments and souvenir sellers. We did find the awesome Onuku farm hostel – and their unique wooden tents called aptly – Stargazers. Perfectly sized for a double mattress, these pātaka (Maori storehouse) shaped buildings, had a third of their roof glazed with CLEAR glass. Right where your pillow went. Simple concept, and so much fun. We had one perfect star-gazing night, and then one stormy night here. Unfortunately, the storm (which dropped the day temperature from 31 to 16 degrees in less than 12hrs), put paid to our Diamond Harbour exploring. We hid in the cute Lincoln movie theatre instead!
It was now time to head to the Alps. We had a lovely stay in a backpackers in Methven, while we explored nearby walks – Rakaia Gorge, Washpen Falls, Awa Awa Reserve. Gorgeous hot days, with the magnificent Mt Hutt Range as a backdrop. Simply stunning. We are only about 200km south of where we started this section – but we have seen a lot of variety in our ‘off the beaten track’ tiki tour through Canterbury.
(Photos to come, when WordPress lets me!)