Sunday, 6 July 2014

Selwyn Huts & Akaroa

We took the long way to Banks Peninsula, driving to the end of the road on the south side of Lake Ellesmere, a huge shallow lagoon separated from the ocean by an 18km long spit. There are two tiny fishing crib(bach) settlements near the end; Selwyn Huts & Lower Selwyn Huts. Here the ramshackle stand alongside the cute & tidy. Many of the “huts” are lived in full time & although it looks like an idyllic lifestyle I am sure many of the people are refugees from the Christchurch ‘quakes. The post man sure has an easy job!

We provided the daily entertainment for some of the residents who were sitting outside soaking up the sun as we slowly passed through the villages with our home on the back. We were quietly hoping there was going to be a turning circle at the end of the road otherwise we’d have been backing into one of their drives! There was, so we parked up and had some lunch....

.....before walking down a track on the river bank, surrounded by native plantings and wetlands, right to the end which overlooked Lake Ellesmere. This is looking towards Banks Peninsula.

Across the lake with Kaitorete Spit on the horizon; six Pied Shags preening & one pied shag pooing!

As we drove back through Selwyn Huts, we both liked this crib which we both thought would be a great fishing hut to have. Across the road and over the river bank, there are plenty of private jetties or whitebait stands belonging to the huts. A lot were set up with fire pits, deck chairs & tables.

We skirted right around the lake heading for Duvauchelle Camp Ground on Banks Peninsula arriving just before the sun dipped behind the range behind and giving me enough time to walk across to take some photos of the boatsheds in the setting sun.

Looking back towards the camp ground which is just across the road from the stony beach of Duvauchelle Bay.

The camp ground is another well run ship, this time by caretakers for the Christchurch City Council. There are quite a number of caravans with permanent rooms & conservatories attached, but no one living in them full time. The owners pay a yearly fee & must use them for at least 30 days during the year, paying the going nightly rate. There’s a large green with casual camping sites right around the perimeter. It must be a busy place in the summer and very communal with, I can imagine, all the children playing cricket or running around in the centre of the field. Other than one other couple on the first night, we have been the only people staying this past week although a few have arrived at the permanent sites yesterday for the start of the school holidays.

The snow arrived on the top of the hills around us the night we arrived and the next day was cold & grey. We drove around the bays to Akaroa, 9kms away, to have breakfast at The Brassiere. The town was virtually deserted, just a few tourists about & us.

After breakfast we took a tour along the waterfront past the sailing club and the old lighthouse which after it was decommissioned was moved in 1980 from Akaroa Heads to this inner harbour site.

I wanted to visit an historic church that was located on the shoreline further down the harbour towards the heads but we took the wrong road and ended up in a dead end. It was rather a coincidence to find a lost hat on the side of the road there. Someone’s red French beret, totally befitting that it be found near the former French settlement of Akaroa.

We turned back and located the correct road which went up and over a crest before dropping back down to the shoreline, the roads are very steep, winding and narrow all over the peninsula. In another tiny bay we found the small settlement of Onuku, once a thriving Maori settlement with it’s marae & tiny church the centre points of the community.

Onuku Church built in 1878.

A couple of days later (after we had done a little exploring- blogs still to come), I left David relaxing at the van while I went off for a few hours on a photo shooting expedition. It was a lovely sunny day & Akaroa (Maori for long harbour) looked stunning in the winter sunshine.

Akaroa wharf, where the nature watching tour boats leave from. Rare Hectors dolphins, NZ fur seals & White-flippered penguins (a sub-species of the Little Blue penguin & only found on Banks Peninsula) are all found within the harbour.

You can see a smattering of snow on the range up behind the town. In fact the blog header photo was taken up there before I dropped down to the harbour.

A Little Black shag (kawau) drying it’s wings on the edge of the wharf.

Wharfs End……looking across to French Farm Bay

Daly’s Wharf, Akaroa (built 1914)

And more boat sheds in Duvauchelle Bay, these ones are across the bay from the others.


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