With the long flight from Los Angeles to Christchurch behind us, we all piled into Kat’s car and headed towards Akaroa. Kat had moved to New Zealand several years back and had been asking us to come for a visit. Akaroa, situated on the eastern side of the southern island of New Zealand, is a small town in the winter that fills up with tourists come summer. We chose the early spring for our visit to avoid crowds and to be able to spend time with Kat, who works in the tourist industry. We were staying in a vineyard named French Farm, home to French Peak wines, in a large room above the tasting room. There are bull, sheep and lots of birds all around us and a friendly old black lab named Yogi, who would run in circles in front of your car when you tried to leave.
The beauty of this place can only be matched by the friendliness of the people that live here and I could see why our friend had chosen this place.
While I was in the store one day staring at the beer assortment trying to determine which one to try, a gentleman walked up and said “It can be a difficult choice” and proceeded to hand me several different local beers and tell me about them. After he determined what kind of beer I was looking for, he handed me several different options to choose from, he then chose a few beers for himself and proceeded to the counter.
One evening we went for a walk down the French Farm road because Kat wanted to introduce us to Albe the pig. I had been picturing something out of Charlotte Web, a pink and cute little pot-bellied pig. When we meet him, however, he was a small boar with big tusks looking like the Pumba the warthog from The Lion King comes charging at us at the fence to greet us. At first, I wasn’t sure the fence was going to stop him. Over the next several days we would bring him apples and leftover cabbage from our meals.
Over the next several weeks we would cover a lot of ground over these two islands, driving from the southernmost point of the south island to the far north tip of the northern island (all of which I will cover in other posts). Everything we saw from Hobbiton film set to the Remarkables (as seen in The Lord of the Rings movies) and Queenstown, from Oamaru (home of Steampunk) to Wellington. All of this left me in awe of, and a little in love with, the beauty of this land.
I am a storyteller and I have been my whole life. I don't mean I lie, I just like to tell a tale or two from my experiences... and what is better than to help inspire others to experience something I love.