Three friends embark on a whistle-stop tour, taking in the very best of Banks Peninsula in a weekend.
Christchurch to Christchurch
Best Time of the Year
- Swimming with dolphins
- Okains Bay sunrise
- Hinewai Reserve
- Summit Road drive
Christchurch to Akaroa
Distance 82km - Driving Time 1 hour 30 mins
Our first day with Britz campervans started in the late evening heading to Banks Peninsula and ultimately Akaroa. As a passenger in the vehicle, I was able to sit back and relax, soaking up the views of the everchanging landscape that we passed through. Our first mission was to head out to a lighthouse on Akaroa’s Southern Peninsula. Not knowing a lot about the location, we headed along winding roads, parking outside a farmers house and travelling the rest of the way by foot. The views did not disappoint. With the lighthouse revolving in full beam, the stars out and beautiful natural features it was a stunning spot that I am sure that I will come back to and explore.
Akaroa to Hinewai Reserve
Distance 20km - Driving Time 1 hour 30 mins
Day two in the campervan started early, before the sun had even risen. We travelled out to Hinewai Reserve - a small hidden location on Long Bay Road. From here we made our way down to one of the many waterfalls that can be found in the conservation area, Hinewai Falls. This conservation area was once farmland, whilst being privately owned it is open to the public to visit and explore. From Hinewai forest we drove our Britz campervan along Banks Peninsula’s summit road, admiring the views that lay below.
The sights from the road, down to and across, the harbour were spectacular. We took the opportunity to swim with the Dolphins with Black Cat Cruises in Akaroa harbour and around the Southern peninsula. Not only did we come close to some incredible dolphins, we also came across some incredibly scenic spots along the Southern Peninsula.
Akaroa to Christchurch
Distance 130km - Driving Time 3 hours
Once again it was an early sunrise we sought over Okain’s Bay. As we came over the top of the Peninsula the yellow and orange hues were starting to appear. The sight was so incredibly beautiful. We took a lot of photos from the beach, the sand yet unmarked by fellow travellers. We made our way to Little River via the summit road, admiring the views as we travelled around the bay. The Little River café was our place to rest and refuel our bodies before the final leg of the journey.
We made our way down to Tumbledown Bay. Over the years the ocean has battered the coast of this place forming some incredible rock formations. With cliffs like those of the Farroe Islands that many adventure photographers dream of, Tumbledown bay is certainly a hidden gem.
Where was the best view? From the Banks Peninsula Summit Road not far east from the intersection with Okains Bay Road.
Where was the best picnic stop? Tumbledown Bay Where was your favourite place/town visited and why? Tumbledown Bay, it is such a sweet place away from any business' or batches. Its dramatic cliff drops and its surrounding scenery were so incredible.
What was your favourite experience/activity & why? Swimming with the Dolphins was incredible. There are so few Hectors Dolphins in the world being able to get up close and interact with some of them was very special. The scenery that we were able to take in from the boat and the water was beautiful.
Top highlights? Swimming with Dolphins, Okains Bay for Sunrise, Driving Summit Road, Coffee/tea in Little River, Hinewai Reserve, Tumbledown Bay
Best café for coffee? Little River Café, Little River
Favourite pub/restaurant? Didn't have the opportunity to get out and enjoy either of these on this trip. Did you have a favourite Holiday Park you stayed in and why? Akaroa Top 10
What would be your top tip for other campervan travellers? Driving a campervan is quite different from driving a car, take it slowly and use the opportunity to enjoy the views.