Akaroa And Mt. Herbert

A full month has gone by since I’ve been here? Unbelievable.

Something that I think is absolutely wonderful is to be able to travel on the weekends when school isn’t in session.  One of the first trips that I went on was to a town called Akaroa – about an hour and fifteen minutes away.  My group and I quickly learned that although this seemed like a cozy, slightly tourist-y town, it was much better to go when it was warmer.  Some businesses there offer the opportunity to swim with dolphins, go whale watching, or go kayaking to some beautiful, remote locations.  Of course, all of this sounds fun to do and we were all willing to do that, but it was far too cold, windy, and there was supposed to be a large storm coming our way.

Being turned down wasn’t very fun, so we decided to make our own adventures.  We found a public hiking trail that weaves in and out of a farmer’s property so we decided to go on that.  I’m so glad we did just that, because otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to capture this image:

That was at the top of our hike into a farmer’s territory.  The clouds were especially low that day, so you can only get a glimpse of the green hills that surrounded us, but take my word for it that it was nothing short of awesome.  Our remaining time in Akaroa was spent shopping at local stores (where I picked up some extremely warm wool + possum socks), eating at a world-famous fish n’ chips place, and stargazing.

Another trip that I made out of Christchurch was a short day-trip out to Mt. Herbert.  After taking two buses and a ferry to get there, we hiked around trying to find the main trail up.  After walking through a small town, we came across two women (one of which was recovering after a hip surgery) that were taking a walk and they told us about a shortcut that would take us to the main trail.  After taking their advice and dodging some sheep carcasses (ewww) we finally made it onto the main trail.  After slipping through mud, falling onto some prickly bushes, and losing our balance a few times, we finally made it to the top of Mt. Herbert.  From the start at sea level to the 919m summit, we trekked up the relatively steep hill for one hour and 45 minutes, while the usual time for most others is three hours and 30 minutes.

In this photo is the marker showing the highest point of Mt. Herbert, with Christchurch just beyond the hills in the background, the Pacific Ocean off to the right, and (from what another hiker told us) the Canterbury Plains is farther to the left, just out of view.  After exploring more for another 6 hours, we decided to head back.  After that I took one of the most satisfying showers I can ever remember.