06.02.2014 - 08.02.2014 19 °C
Early this morning we dropped anchor near Akaroa which is 84 km from Christchurch and is situated on the Banks Peninsula. This beautiful little resort village is on a sheltered harbor surrounded by craggy volcanic hills. The Banks Peninsula is named after Joseph Banks, the botanist who sailed with Captain James Cook. The region was later settled by a group of French settlers. Akaroa is about the same distanced from the equator as Halifax, NS.
This is another very small port with a shallow harbour so once again we had to tender in. The day was very chilly and the sea choppy so the tendering process was halted several times for safety reasons. The wait was worth it as Akaroa is a lovely little town to wander around in.
Hazel and Sue, Akaroa Harbour
Roy and Dave, Akaroa Harbour
Celebrity Solstice at anchor, Akaroa Harbour
Main Street in Akaroa
Dave in front of the war memorial
After our visit to Akaroa we returned to the ship for a late lunch and spent time organizing our pictures and working on this blog. We left Akaroa and sailed further south towards Dunedin.
Early the following morning we tied up at a commercial pier in the small industrial port of Port Chalmers which is further down the South Island. The city of Dunedin was about 20 km from Port Chalmers so we took a bus ride into town. They had erected a large tent at the port which was set up for free Wi Fi which many of the ship’s passengers and crew took advantage of.
Free Wi Fi area, Port Chalmers
We understood that there was lots of free Wi Fi available in Dunedin so decided to proceed straight into town.
Dunedin is about the same distance from the equator as Quebec City so temperatures range from an average high of about 19 C and a low of about 12 C at this time of year.
It is considered to be one of the 4 main cities of NZ for historic, cultural and geographic reasons. It was the largest city in NZ until 1900 and now has about 126,000 people. It was an active whaling port in the mid 1800’s. There was a gold rush in the area in the mid 1800’s as well. There is lots of evidence of its past prosperity in the beautiful buildings and architecture.
Fortune Theater, Dunedin
Law Courts, Dunedin
The harbor and hills around Dunedin are the remnants of an extinct volcano which is the reason Dunedin is very hilly. It is the home to Baldwin Street which claims to be the steepest street in the world. It was on the other side of town, so we did not venture that far.
When we arrived we learned that they were celebrating Festival Week so the city centre, the Octagon, was closed to traffic and filled with market stalls, children’s games and activity areas. We walked around enjoying the bustle and energy of the place.
We visited the Cadbury chocolate factory and then headed over to the gorgeous train station.
Dunedin Train Station
Inside there was gorgeous tile work everywhere – here is the floor in the main area.
Dunedin Train Station Floor
Dunedin Train Station Track level
On our way back to find our shuttle bus, we found the very active main library and settled in to access Wi Fi and upload our first blog post – it was painfully slow but free of charge. The Wi Fi service aboard the ship can cost as much as $1 a minute depending on the minutes that you purchase in advance. When checking our e-mail a few minutes later we were delighted to note that someone had already viewed the first blog post and left a comment. Due to the very slow upload speeds on the ship and the expense of Wi Fi time we have been a bit slow in getting our updates loaded.
Finally, in the late afternoon we boarded the shuttle bus and headed back to the ship for yet another wonderful meal and the after dinner stage show.
As is our usual practice we cast off from Port Chalmers/Dunedin just as we sat down to dinner. While we slept we sailed around the southern tip of the South Island of New Zealand and cruised in a northerly direction up the west side of the island.