12.04.2010 - 15.04.2010 14 °C
The drive to the Banks Peninsula was a long one! We thought we would find a free camping spot on route to Christchurch and then head through in the morning. We didn’t like the look of one rest stop we found and carried on, realising the mistake as we quickly entered the city. We carried on through, misjudged a few turnings, but soon got free of the city. We then realised that we were running very low on petrol and decided to stop at a small town in the Peninsula called Little River. The petrol station was closed so we moved up the road to find a free stop. Sadly this was right next to the road on a huge hill but we didn’t really have a choice!
First thing in the morning we headed off to get our much needed petrol then onto Akaroa. On the way we stopped at a rest stop by the sea for a brew before entering Akaroa, the hub of the Banks Peninsula. When we got there we had a wander round the water and the town, stopping to buy some fudge at an extortionate price. It was delicious and well worth it though we had to ration ourselves. We began talking about it and arguing about how much the other was eating as if it were some kind of lovely fudgy drug.
In the afternoon we headed to Le Bons Bay which was practically deserted! We sat in the sun and watched the tide go out for a while before trying to find a free camping spot. Our hopes were low as it is such a popular area and thought they would be wise to our tricks! As we were cruising along the scenic touring route however we found a scenic reserve without any ‘no camping’ signs! It had a view high up over the town on one side and the sea on the other. Absolutely stunning, second only to our free spot by the Lake Pukaki. We had some brews and watched the sun go down.
The next day we headed into Christchurch where we stayed at Stonehills in the city. They offer decently priced inner city camping spots. Admittedly it is just an asphalt parking spot but at $15 for the two of us we thought this was fair enough. They still make you pay for the showers though! And campers aren;t allowed to use the pool facilities! (Probably to stop us bathing in the swimming pool instead of paying for a shower. Easy solution to that little pickle we thinks..)We camped up and headed into the city to have a look around, spotting the river ‘Avon’, the trams, many nice buildings and the Arts Centre.
The Arts Centre was a collection of little shops selling crafty bits and bobs including jewellery, wool items, art, books, wooden toys and souvenirs. We got chatting to a man who was originally from Hull who owned a shop upstairs, he was very friendly indeed and after an hour or two we had learned about his ex-wife, his equity, holiday plans, past holidays, previous locksmith business, his vasectomy, his dog and most of his friends too! Very nice gentleman. Joy’s favourite shop here was a DIY bead shop where you pick all your preferences then put together your own jewellery! While Joy spent time choosing and making a gift for Grandma K, Richard went to look at the old part of the Arts Centre and took some arty photos.
We went back to the camper and decided to get a Domino’s (cheap day Tuesday) as we were pooped! The next day we tidied the camper top to bottom ready to take it back in the morning, handed out 35 Onions, drank our final drop of duty free Jim Beam and got an early night ready to head back to the Gold Coast the next day...