Woke up to warm sunny weather with plans to head up to Akaroa, an hour outside of Christchurch, to swim with the dolphins. An hour on the road and we canceled those plans as the weather turned cold and we began driving in and out of rain showers. Instead, we took the long drive as a chance to stop in several small towns along the way and head into Akaroa for the craft stores and a seafood dinner.
On the way to Akaroa, many of the small towns were 50/50 on shops being open since it was Sunday. With the extra time, we took an impromptu drive toward Lake Heron, one of the general areas that was widely used in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Shortly before reaching the area, I stopped quickly to take pictures of a little hedgehog that was in the middle of the road after ensuring he made it across safely.
The road leading to the lake quickly went from paved to gravel and offered a neat view of the surrounding mountains. Portions of the drive showed absolutely no sign of civilization; not even a fence along the road. The streams we crossed were filled with water that is an unbelievably crisp cyan, more clear / colorful than the Shotover river which is “99% pure” and drinkable.
Arrived in Akaroa and hit some of the shops, offering a nice array of crafts. Dinner at a French restaurant, had tempura battered salmon, unspecified white fish, and king prawns.