It was my birthday on Thursday, so I wagged work and did a day trip to Akaroa¹ with the nephew. Like me, the nephew is single, child-free, a tad nerdy, and works from home. We rub along quite well together. My birthday is in the ‘busy’ time of year for birthdays, and is the seventh most common birth date in New Zealand.
Akaroa is a small harbour town 84 kms from Christchurch, and is a very pleasant day trip, weekend away, or holiday spot. It was originally settled by the French, who lost the race to get to New Zealand to the British, so had to settle for the second biggest harbour in Banks Peninsula² to park their ships. Many of the street names are still in French, and a lot of the old buildings have been preserved and are still functional, which gives the town a relaxed and old-worldly feel. Cruise ships used to come into Akaroa before Covid, and they created a big bustle and buzz around the place. That has understandably diminished somewhat since Covid broke everything.
The nephew and I were late getting away on the day. We’re usually pretty good time-keepers, but sometimes stuff happens. The plan was to lunch and mooch around in Akaroa a bit – the usual tourist activity – and then go and see his ex law professor, who lives a few minutes out of the township. Instead we stopped at Little River, a fabulous little town along the way with an unexpectedly good cafe and art gallery, and grabbed some food to take away. When we got to Duvauchelle Bay, we stopped and ate it in a picnic area opposite the boozer.
By the time we got to Akaroa, did the obligatory walk around, and were delighted anew at the stunning scenery and quaintness of the town, it was time to head off to the nephew’s ex law professor’s place. The nephew reckons that I make a good Millenial – go somewhere, take pics, leave 🙂
Nicky’s home is one of those places you die for. The view is sensational, time stops, and nek minite you’ve been there for way longer than you planned.
Whilst she proclaims not to be terribly gregarious, she is nevertheless very social and welcoming. Maybe because she’s originally from England, or maybe because she just does this, the outdoor table had a tablecloth on it and was set with a tea set awaiting our arrival. I couldn’t help feeling that somehow this was much nicer than plonking mugs down on a bare surface, as per the sort hospitality I would be guilty of. I’m wondering if I should change my ways.
We had such an ab-fab afternoon there, I hope she meant it when she said “come again”. And her holiday cottageᶟ next door would be the perfect place to extend the stay.
On the way home, I noticed that the Duvauchelle Bay boozer’s carpark, barren at lunchtime, had miraculously sprouted around twenty vehicles. I checked the time – 6:30pm, must be beer o’clock.
I got home late, after an errand or two along the way, but for a day like that I would wag work again anytime. Don’t tempt me too much, though, because now I have to catch up on it 🙂
Header pic of Akaroa by Jonathon Keelty.