New Zealand: the Banks Peninsula – Akaroa Harbour

The 1st of June is the first day of winter down here. We had booked a two-hour cruise around the harbour and were a little disappointed to wake to mist and drizzle. The locals were saying that it was most unusual to get so much mist at this time of year. It lifted a little as we walked down to the pier for the 11am departure. There is a hut on the pier selling fish and chips so the gulls were hanging around hoping for some food. Red-billed Gulls are apparently declining in number.

We sailed down the eastern side of the harbour with a commentary on the history, geology and natural history of the area. These are the southern-most palm trees

The outer part of the harbour is a reserve and the company we went with, Black Cat Cruising, give part of the ticket price to maintaining the reserve. We kept our eyes peeled for wildlife but this was as close as we got to penguins.

Just outside the harbour dolphins were fishing all around us.

New Zealand Fur Seals were very well camouflaged on the rocks but soon popped their heads up to have a look at us.
We looked at the volcanic cliffs a little more closely

and then had a swift look around the Pacific for whales but there were none to be seen. The mist was descending again as we returned to Akaroa for lunch.

We walked back to our motel via the museum and some of the older streets in the town.