Today was our last full day in New Zealand. Hard to believe these two weeks have flown by so quickly!
We had breakfast at a lovely little cafe, Run 76, in Lake Tepako this morning. Tim and Dad got amazing-looking pancake breakfasts, which I drooled over jealously. I said if I died tomorrow, I would be most sad that I had passed on the pancakes for breakfast. 😉
Before we went to bed last night, Tim and I took a look at the map to determine if there were any side trips we could include on our road back to Christchurch. The only place that seemed possible and piqued our interest was Akaroa. A four-hour-trip from Lake Tekapo, and another hour and fifteen to Christchurch, we decided to go for it. Why not?
What a marvelous choice we made! Akaroa was the sweet little town we were expecting from Lake Tekapo. The views were gorgeous from any part of the little village, and there were plenty of shops and restaurants to keep us busy for more than the couple hours we had for our visit.
We took the short walk from the village center down to the lighthouse that first offered light to passing ships in the 1880s, and we stopped in the Anglican cemetery and Tane Gardens before heading back downtown for afternoon drinks. We all agreed that this was a place in which we wish we had more time.
Akaroa has a real French connection, which is evident throughout the town. The first French settlers arrived in the mid-1800s, and the influence of the French remains to this day.
If we lived in Christchurch, I would have a hard time keeping myself from Akaroa on the weekends. It’s such a peaceful, lovely place. We would have our kayak down on that gorgeous bay every Saturday if I had my wish!
Back in Christchurch, we checked back into the Heritage Hotel and were assigned the same suite we had the last time we stayed. We tried to get reservations at a few restaurants, including 27 Steps, but everyone was booked up. We ended up eating at the Old Government Building Restaurant, which is on the first floor of our hotel. The girls had a final lamb dinner, and we all enjoyed a charcuterie platter with our nightcaps.
Our experience in New Zealand has been a bit of a blur. Two weeks is truly not enough time to really experience both the north and south islands. We stopped in the small town of Geraldine for a bathroom break and a stop in a little shop earlier today, and the shopkeeper asked us if we thought we would need more than two weeks if we came back again. The answer was a resounding yes. There is so much each island offers, you could probably spend two weeks on each island and still not experience it all. We did so much on each island, but I feel we barely scratched the surface of what New Zealand has to offer. Our day trip today was proof of that: we hadn’t planned to visit Akaroa, but it ended up being a highlight of our trip. If Akaroa was an unexpected hit, there were probably so many other places that could have offered the same pleasant surprise.
Tomorrow we bid farewell to New Zealand and head to our numero uno bucket list destination: Tahiti and Bora Bora!