Friday 21 November 2014

A trip to South Island, New Zealand (2): Akaora

Although Lyttelton is the centre of the 2011 earthquake it doesn't look like it's more damaged than the Christchurch city centre, this is partially because their assets as a tourist spot is quite localized and the cost to recover them is relatively lower (of course it really takes some money and time to recover various monuments). This is the same for the rest of the Banks peninsula, like Akaroa.

There is a commercial bus lane going from Christchurch to Lyttelton so it is not very hard to reach there, but Akaroa is on the other side of the Banks peninsula so that I have never went there before. It takes like around 2 hours of bus trip but it is a worthy trip after all.

Akaora is the Maori of "long harbour", and naturally there is a harbour called Akaora harbour in this town. Just as its name it is also amazing because it has a very long accessible coastline. It's quite common for a harbour to have a long coastline but they are seldom fully accessible due to different infrastructures but here it takes you about half an hour to walk from one side to another side until you run into some shipyard followed by some kind of cliff.

The beach itself is not too special if you don't look at the sea, but it is a rare chance for me to get in touch in wild birds. Living in the city the birds usually keep some distance from people and are always cautious. This is in Hong Kong or even Auckland. This is a completely different story in such a little place...In large city birds seldom interact with human directly and in completely rural area they can feed by themselves, but in these half-rural area they aren't really afraid of people. In particular sea birds as a kind of carnivorous animal can be quite aggressive against human.

We had a box of donuts as brunch on the table alongside the beach, and one of the bird came and grabbed one of the donut away. That bird is chased by the others for a long way until part of the donut dropped off and shared by other birds. After that they all came back and screamed for more. It's like we gave half of our donuts away before hundreds of birds standing in front of us forcing us to go away. Of course it's not good to feed the birds but I don't mind to have some interesting interaction with them if them asked for it.

There aren't much cuisines that can be characterized to be from New Zealand...and it's common to have different style of restaurant everywhere, including Akaora. We tried a Thailand one here and it's overall quite good. What's quite interesting is that it is quite cheap (12~15) when you compare that with the rest of the South Island which averages to be around 20. A suggested reason could be the fierce competition among different restaurants there. I guess there are around 15 of them, which is a large number to such a place where isn't even the most popular spot.

I would say foods are really kind of the second most attractive selling point here other than the amazing scenes. They are at a relatively low price but also at a acceptable quality. We went to another cafe to spend our afternoon despite the good sunny day outside. Throughout our journey we enjoyed numerous cups of coffee and this is one of them. Not the most impressive one but absolutely a comfortable environment. It is really easy and relaxing for me or for anyone else to spend a day there.

Oh I almost forgot to mention about the Birdling's Flat. This is a former railway station set up by the early settlings where the railway was abandoned in 1962, Now the Birdling's Flat is referred to this pebble beach and a must see spot during the bus trip from Christchurch to Akaora.

I couldn't express how much I like these kind of scenes. It was a much brighter day than what the photo has taken, and the way the pebble beach, the sea and the sky with fluffy cloud combines and vanishes in the end of the world is simply perfect. Just try to combine the above picture (in a much brighter scale) and the following pictures from pixiv and you may grap a glimpse of what I felt about the amazing Birdling's Flat.

That's all about my trip to Akaora. A relaxed day in overall and a well-deserved tourist spot.

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