It looks a long way up, doesn’t it? Well it is, it’s 500 meters high with the Gondola stretching a 945 meters long. I’m not sure if it is the longest one there is, but it was pretty impressive. The views were amazing.
The sign below was also at the bottom of the Gondola ride, I love these!!
After doing the time tunnel (not the old TV series) ride they have – which was very informative – we went to the cafe for a cup of tea. How very English of us.
After our tea, we headed out onto the hill top to enjoy the views.
It was a little blustery and cold, but I was wrapped up ready for it all. The views were even more breathtaking without the reflective glass blocking the scenery.
After the Gondola ride, we headed over to the Banks Peninsula. It was formed by two volcanic eruptions about eight million years ago. It is surrounded by harbours and bays which is why it appears to be round in shape.
The Maori’s refer to Banks Peninsula as Te Pataka o Rakaihautu (The Great Storehouse of Rakaihautu). Rakaihuatu was a noted early explorer who travelled the South Island, settling in the peninsula to take advanage of the abundant supply of mahinga kai (food of the forests, seas, rivers, lakes and skies) especially the eels and shellfish.
Akaroa is the Ngai Tahu word for Long Harbour, its waters provided the main sustenance for the people.
Akaroa’s lighthouse first lit up the harbour on 1st January 1880 and was made from pieces shipped from the UK. It also has an odd hexagonal shape which is unique to New Zealand.
Akaroa has a very French feel to the area because it was the first where the French first settled in New Zealand. Also in 1838 a whaling captain Jean Langlois purchased the Banks Peninsula from the Maori and he returned to France to form a trading company. However on his return, only days before he returned, the British officials sent their own war ship to raise their flag at Akaroa, claiming British sovereignty under the Treaty of Waitangi. Maybe if the French had arrived only a couple of years before then New Zealand would be a lot different from how it is now.
There are some amazing views along the drive and in particular on the Summit road which is on the edge of one of the original craters.
There was even snow along the roads – lots of it.