Two weeks ago, Andy and I took off for a long weekend in Christchurch and Akaroa. After all the craziness of selling our old house, buying a new one and moving, we hadn’t taken a trip since October and it felt like time to get away. We’d initially planned to go Nelson in January, but because of our moving date, we transferred the flights to April and thought Christchurch (Ōtautahi) would be a perfect destination instead. We have a few friends down there who we wanted to catch up with, and why not tack on a visit to the Banks Peninsula paradise of Akaroa?
Our friends Sarah and Michael kindly offered to put us up for the weekend, and we flew down after work on a Friday. We had a great dinner at their house, courtesy of Chef Michael, and played some board games, which was a nice way to start the trip.
Saturday morning, we set off to meet our friends Sion and Jane at the Lyttelton Market. Sion and Andy go back a couple decades, having met in the UK when they were both heading off on placement to NZ for part of their undergrad. Since we had some extra time before our rendezvous, Andy and I decided to detour to Sumner on the way.
I hadn’t been out here since I studied abroad in Christchurch nearly 14 years ago, though Andy has been more recently during his own time studying down south. After some hot drinks by the beach, we set out to explore a bit. Cave Rock/Tuawera looked pretty much like I remembered, and we climbed to the top for great views.
I’ll never forget seeing seal pups tucked into the rock caves, waiting for their mothers and high tide. This time, all I spotted was this guy:
I didn’t wait around to see if the tide would take him out.
Back on the road, we turned toward Lyttelton to meet Sion, Jane, Flora and Fraser at the market. Following a long tunnel through the Port Hills, we soon popped out in the quaint harbor-side suburb and parked up by the port.
The market was lively, with lots of great food and art. We even spotted a Vallhund, which was given away by its telltale bark.
After browsing for a bit, we had a delicious lunch in the sunshine with Sion and Jane, while their kids Flora and Fraser got a chance to play nearby. Flora even made me some artwork, which I’ve hung on the fridge. My name is now Kelsby/Kelby (E and B do sound similar when spelling out your name, to be fair).
Since it was such a stunning day, we headed out to Godley Head/Awaroa for a hike and some epic views. Neither Andy nor I had ever been out here, though I had experienced some of the road (the memories came flooding back as we navigated the sharp bends with steep drop-offs alongside).
We could see Sumner from above as we drove the winding curves of the Summit Road.
The idyllic beach known as Taylor’s Mistake soon came into view below. I once went paragliding in these hills, on a sunny spring day in 2008. We passed some people doing the same. If you’re wondering where the name Taylor’s Mistake comes from, so was I. After some research, it looks like there were multiple mistakes made by multiple Taylors in this bay, and the true namesake is up for debate.
And a brief trip down memory lane:
After quite a few twists, turns and navigating around other cars and cyclists, we made it to the carpark and set out on one of many trails. You really can’t go wrong with picking a track, when an expansive view greets you all around.
The trail wound along the side of the rocky hills, and it was hard to even keep an eye on where I was walking with views like this everywhere. The trail goes all the way down to Taylor’s Mistake if you’re looking for a real workout, though it wasn’t the plan for us, with two young kids along.
It was a great chance to catch up while taking in a fabulous spot. Fraser and Flora kept us entertained, too.
On the loop track, heading back toward our car, we came upon some WWII coastal defence battery ruins. Andy had a great time joking around with the kids that there was a ghost in there, which made them laugh (and hopefully not have nightmares later).
Caught someone staring at me too. Maybe the ghost…
After finishing the loop walk, we hopped in our cars and followed the long and winding road back to Sumner, coming full circle for the day.
We stopped in for fabulous ice cream (hot cross bun flavor for me) before saying our goodbyes and heading to Andy’s favorite pub, Pomeroy’s, to finish off the day with some more friends.
Stay tuned for our journey to the Banks Peninsula and the charming Akaroa!