Akaroa and work in Rangiora

Recipe for bad weather and freezing hands.



10/28/20234 min read

A bit late article.

After a beautiful trip around Arthur's pass, we set off to meet our friends Ondra and Ivet for the last time before they fly home. It worked out great for us, we met in Christchurch for ours traditional lunch-dinner at McDonalds and set off after dark to the village of Akaroa on the Banks Peninsula south of Christchurch.

It lies in the middle of the crater and around it are relatively high green hills - the remains of the volcano. The description alone promised great views. But what didn't happen. Our traditional bad luck is constantly clinging to our heels and the rain clings to us like a tick. We spent the evening at the campsite in the kitchen, cooking and listening to the drops drumming on the roof with a hot wine in hand.

Even in the morning the clouds were not about to leave, so we took a walk in our raincoats. Akaroa is a picturesque town and even though it wasn't beautiful weather it was a very nice morning. To escape the rain, we set off to explore the center of Christchurch. It is still quite significantly damaged by the earthquake that happened here some ten years ago and leveled the city. There are cranes and scaffolding everywhere, and the roads alternate with dirt roads. And it's very busy there. It's not very engaging to walk around, but it's an interesting contrast.

The buildings did not excite us, so we set off on foot to the botanical garden. There is a lot of green in the city, but this was truly a green oasis. We quickly got lost on the footpaths between the lakes and in the thick growth of bushes. After the walk, we made another unsuccessful quest to find the iconic Pavlova cake. We lost both Ondra and Honza in the market and after finding them we left from the busy tiny square.

Ondra and Ivet were leaving for Mt Cook and the airport in Queenstown and back to the Czech Republic, so we said our goodbyes and shed a few tears. We won't see each other again for at least a year.

Honza and I headed for work not far from Christchurch to the town of Rangiora, where we had arranged to pick apples. Yes, back to fruit and memories of Norway.

We spent a month there. A month of frozen hands in the morning and climbing up and down the ladder with a huge bag on the harness and a pile of apples.

We spread our finds in the thrift store to buy a couch for the living room, turned the warehouse into a livable space, equipped it with heating and a stove, made new friends, put together two puzzles, Honza made an outdoor shower (a bit of masochism in the winter that was still going on), drove on a tractor and picked a few modest tons of apples. Just a typical backpacker life here in Zealand.

And again, traditionally, we lived a few kilometers away from each other with our other friends, but we didn't find out until two days before they left. But Honza managed to have two surfs on the waves at a nearby beach and we did one barbecue together.

We also went to the cinema at Grease after a hundred years and I got a tattoo of the funniest local bird with ADHD. Fantail bird (Maori Piwakawaka) the one that brings good luck.

After the picking, we set off again. To the Akaroa again. But the weather had diffefent plans. The clouds sat on the hills and the view wasn’t the best. But we still took the upper love road, because what if... Sometimes something appeared in the clouds, but it disappeared before I could turn on the camera.

So we went down to the viewpoint a little lower, from where you could see the bay. We sat on the viewpoint for a while and continued. We camped at a campsite down in the village and I went for a short run before it started raining again.

Even in the morning, the clouds didn't let us rest. They sat perhaps even lower than yesterday and the sun mocked us with occasional rays. We'll probably give up soon, but we want to see those hills. A morning run around Akaroa improved it a bit, but it was followed by rain right after the finish, so we couldn't be too happy.

We spent the whole afternoon in the car reading books, believing that maybe tomorrow would be better. And guess what. It was and wasn't.

The next morning's run was with a dose of sunshine and the trip to Cape Ōnawe also seemed sunny from the start. Well I'll cut it short. Even so, we went up to sleep on the hill, because the forecast for tomorrow must come true. And finally the sun was out.

A nice breakfast with views of the ocean was the perfect cure after the last few days. And a muddy climb to Stony Bay peak gave us finally chance to look around. And that was a great show.

Later we also went for more running and the nice path at Pigeon bay with lot of sheep around was worth it. Somewhere along the way, Honza suffered a problem in his foot, so when we went to sleep at the Packhorse hut in the afternoon, he was limping a bit. We got there just after sunset and the sky was beautifully colorful.

We left early in the morning. The plan was to walk to the road 25 km away, where we would try to hitchhike back to the car.

I was excited about the route. Ridge along meadows with sheep and views of bays. John didn't laugh much. His leg hurt quite a bit, but he just didn't want to cut it short. And now he will need at least three weeks of recovery.

Regeneration, which is said to be best done in a kayak. Sea kayak to be exact. And I already wrote about how we bought it and almost killed each other while putting it on the car roof in the article here.