There is nothing like waking up, looking out the window and seeing sheep lazily grazing just past your stone wall while the sun lights up the distant mountains. Yes, please! We had a little time for lazing about but not much since we had a kayaking trip to take before we left the farm.
While we were getting ready for the day, I handed Paul the sunscreen to put on. We didn't have a mirror or a bathroom so Paul did his best with the sunscreen. I turned around to find him looking like this! He didn't understand why I couldn't stop laughing long enough to breathe.
After I scraped half of the sunscreen off of his face, we headed down to the water to get suited up (literally) for sea kayaking. I can't say I enjoy wearing kayaking skirts, but they were definitely useful for minimizing how wet my lap got on the trip.
After a quick primer on the shore, we got into our kayaks and headed out to see what we could see.
I have kayaked before and even sea kayaked a small bit, but never before have I kayaked in a 2 person boat! I think I like being on my own better, but Paul still made a good companion. He didn't smack me in the head with his paddle despite how this photo might look.
Shireen was our guide and knew just where to take us to see the seals! From far away we couldn't tell that there was anything particularly interesting about this stretch of rocks, but once we got close, we saw lots of seals.
This guy was on the span of rock Shireen calls something like the "Has Been Bachelor's Row". He didn't have any friends keeping him company so he didn't mind a short visit from us. Farther down, we even had a seal come out to swim with us. He didn't want to seem too into us, so he swam nearby us pretending he had important grooming to attend to. It was so fun to see how this awkward land creatures turn into strong and agile water creatures.
After the kayak trip, we went to spend a little more time in the cabin and sadly, needed to pack up to go. We savored every last minute there, including when trips to the outhouse involved shooing sheep out of the way.
Shireen came to get us in her truck to drive us back to Akaroa. On our way out, she suddenly stopped the truck and jumped out, saying, "You are in for a real treat!" She then headed to a plant a bit off the road where she picked a handful of cape gooseberries. Paul and I have an ongoing joke about how much I like to eat stuff from "nature". Early on in our relationship, Paul and I went on hikes where I would pick something and then encourage him to try it. He has always been skeptical of my offerings. Apparently, not everyone grows up with parents who encourage them to forage on walks. So, when Shireen did this, I think we both recognized that this is a woman after my own heart.
Despite his past skepticism, Paul did not turn these down. They were delicious! The packaging is like ground cherries or tomatillos but the taste was quite different.
After parting in Akaroa, we loaded back into our little Starlet and started our journey to a new part of the South Island. On our way out of town, we stopped to eat at a place we had spotted on the way in. The Hilltop Tavern turned out to be the PERFECT place to stop. We weren't sure from the outside if this would be our kind of place, but it surely was. They had craft brews, delicious and interesting wood-fired pizzas, a house cat and stellar views. We were really glad we had followed the hunch we had on our way into town and waited to eat lunch there.
So, that was Akaroa/The Banks Peninsula! It took 4 days of blogging to recap what we experienced in just over 24 hours. Whew! If you ever find yourself in New Zealand, please consider adding Pohatu to your itinerary. Since it is a bit out of the way geographically, it isn't featured in guidebooks, but it totally should be! If you are still hungry for more, their website has more photos and videos.