Summits & Passes

Picking up where we left off in Akaroa, it was afternoon on our last full day. We enjoyed a delicious seafood chowder overlooking the harbor and perused some shops (well, Andy mostly waited outside). Then we decided to take a hike to Newton’s Waterfall.

Just a short distance outside of town, the walk to the falls starts out on quaint, meandering back roads. Autumn was just starting to touch some of the trees.

As house-lined streets turned into rural plots, we enjoyed the scenery and hills rising above us. We didn’t pass too many people, but sometimes you just get that feeling you’re being watched…

Not long after the peeping sheep, we came to the start of the Newton’s Falls Track. The path lead uphill through forest, branching off to go further up into the hills, but we didn’t have far to go before reaching the waterfall. At 9 meters (30 feet) tall, it was pretty impressive, coated in moss and surrounded by greenery.

The view from behind the falls was pretty fantastic too, with lush ferns clinging on and drinking up the never-ending supply of fresh water.

Definitely a worthwhile expedition if you’re in Akaroa!

That afternoon, we relaxed at our Airbnb before having an early dinner of classic Kiwi fish and chips on the couch, while watching a nature documentary. It was the perfect way to spend our last night.

After a leisurely morning of lounging for a bit, I snapped some keepsake photos before we said farewell to our amazing little oasis.

It was really hard to leave this place.

Until next time, Akaroa! We headed up and out of town, bound for the aptly named Summit Road. There are a few nature reserves dotted along the road, so we planned to check out a couple. It was really windy, but the views were worth it.

You can see the serpentine road we drove up, as well as the route ahead of us, hugging the hilltops.

Time for some photo ops!

The Banks Peninsula has views in every direction, and just over a rise, the Pacific stretched out to the horizon.

Back on the Summit Road, we made our way to Ōtepatotu Scenic Reserve and set out on the muddy path. The track takes you through some original forest to an incredible viewpoint. There’s a longer loop, but we settled for the shorter option so we could explore other places.

The name Ōtepatotu roughly translates to “place of the fairies,” and it’s easy to see why.

Luckily, Andy was happy to pull over whenever the view called for it.

I wouldn’t mind spending some time on that bench.

After the Summit Road merged onto the main thoroughfare from Akaroa to Christchurch, we stopped in Little River for a delicious lunch of home-made pies and milkshakes outside a combined cafe and art gallery. We decided to take the scenic route to the city, too, winding over the Port Hills.

On the way, we stopped at Allandale Reserve, on the opposite side of the same harbor as Lyttelton. Even at low tide, it was gorgeous.

A historic bridle path stretches along this inlet, from Teddington to Governors Bay – another must-do when we next pass through with more time on our hands.

Threatening clouds rolled in as we drove into the Port Hills, up toward Dyers Pass and Sign of the Kiwi. At the crest of the hill, before the road continued downhill into Cashmere and the Christchurch suburbs, we parked up outside the historic cafe. Despite the sky, we thought we’d take a “quick” walk on the nearby path, for a view and because I hoped to find a photo spot from my visit with family 14 years ago. Needless to say, it was hard to determine the exact location after so much time had passed, but I found a similar rock.

Since we’d already set out, we figured we might as well do the full loop and just hope we’d stay dry.

I could take a million photos of Lyttelton Harbour and never grow sick of it.

The views in the other direction were just as breathtaking, looking toward Christchurch and the Canterbury Plains.

Of course, you can drive up here, but walking is more satisfying.

We didn’t manage to fully outrun the rain, but it wasn’t too bad. Back at Dyers Pass, we popped into Sign of the Kiwi for some hot drinks before heading to the airport. A historic spot and popular tourist destination, the cafe was built in 1916-17 as a rest house, along with Sign of the Bellbird, Sign of the Packhorse and Sign of the Takahe. All still remain in some form today, two as cafes, one as a tramping hut and the other as a scenic lookout.

That wraps up our equal parts action and relaxation-packed adventure to Christchurch and Akaroa. Although my blog has focused on NZ destinations for the last couple years, I’ll finally have something different to share soon. Andy and I are headed to the UK a week from today, so stay tuned for Devon, Staffordshire and Scotland! Lots of adventures to come.

1 thought on “Summits & Passes

  1. From peeping sheep to Sign of the Kiwi (still so cool), such a great bunch of photos of a fabulous trip.

    Like

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