New Zealand is more than just the major cities of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch and the adventure spots such as Queenstown. It's also about the little places that surprise you.
One such place is the town of Akaroa, 84kms south east of Christchurch. In the early 1840s a group of French colonist settled in the area and that heritage can still be seen today, mainly in the street names of Akaroa.
We had hired a car to get around both islands and whilst staying with family in Christchurch, we made the day trip to Akaroa. We took Highway 75 from Christchurch which takes you directly to Akaroa through some stunning scenery, which seems to pop up everywhere in New Zealand. The final stretch of the road overlooks Barry's Bay, Duvauchelle Bay, Robinsons Bay and Takamatua Bay before you finally drop into town.
They are many activities and tours you can do around the harbour such as kayaking or swimming with Hector Dolphins that populate the area. We mainly wandered around the art and craft shops and a stroll along the beach. The highlight for me though was grabbing some of the delicacies from Akaroa Fish & Chips on Beach Road.
We had been told we had to try some of the freshly caught fish along with a healthy portion of chips and they didn't disappoint. The best bit though is sitting at one of the outdoor benches looking out at the glistening water of the harbour as you tuck in.
After a great day we headed back along Highway 75 towards Christchurch were once again you are struck by the stunning backdrop of the snow capped mountains in the distance.
What I like a lot about New Zealand is that it isn't just about the places you visit, its about the journey to get there. They are always splashed with amazing scenery or little memories such as the drive down the hill into Akaroa that will stay with you forever.
So visit New Zealand and visit Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown but don't forget about taking those trip to great little towns like Akaroa and others like it.
In February 2011 we turned on our TVs around the world to the devastation caused by a magnitude 6.3 Earthquake that had hit the area around Christchurch in New Zealand.
I have a great fondness for New Zealand and as I'd only landed in Christchurch airport just a few months earlier I was happy to take part in Blog4NZ. Blog4NZ is a blogging and social media effort to support New Zealand travel in the wake of the Canterbury earthquake. For more information visit blog4nz.indietravelmedia.com