Before arriving in Akaroa, the sounds of human civilization rose above all other, but here in Akaroa, pulling into this sheltered harbor, the biophony of nature was evident: The calls of seabirds, the waterfowl skimming along the surface and high above where the shaved mountains slope to the sea you could hear the occasional mews of sheep.
We had an early morning transfer to Christchurch from the harbor, a 52 mile ride through switchbacks that laced the mountainsides, our bus clipping the guard posts and branches along the road— there was a reason the driver had asked everyone to make sure their seatbelt was on.
Arriving in Christchurch, we were on our own for the next four hours to explore. The city is still under reconstruction from a series of recent earthquakes, starting in 2010 (7.1) 2011 (6.2) and in 2016 (5.9). What made the 2011 quake (6.2) so devastating was the liquification of the soil, where water is squeezed out between the sand grains causing a quicksand-like material.
We started our hike in the Botanical Gardens at the Canterbury Museum, adjacent to the gardens. Both the Museum and gardens are magnificent.
But the true star of the show was the curator’s vegetable and herb garden which supplies some of the dishes at the restaurant called appropriately, the Curator’s House, which is a Tudor style building with tables outside and in. We have never seen anything more delicious and that goes for the pear tree arbor serving as the entrance to the vegetable garden
Downtown Christchurch is excellent for shopping and dining, of which we did both.
It was a long day for us but when we got back on ship it was in the middle of our Mardi Gras celebration.
After a few cocktails, it was time to get back to the room, shower, dress and head to dinner. Tomorrow we will be in Dunedin, NZ.