February 10, 2020
Today we began our independent travels after two weeks on guided tour. We slept in bit, then decided to walk the Onawe Pa Track (2.7 miles, 300 feet), on the Banks Peninsula. We drove about an hour to the carpark, then spent most of the afternoon looking at the rocks, tide pools and views along the trail.
Route from Christchurch to the Banks Peninsula, an eroded volcano.
View from the Hilltop Lookout showing the long narrow Onawe Peninsula in Akaroa Harbour.
Location Sign at the Hilltop Lookout
The far end of the Onawe Peninsula is an island at high tide. We began by walking along the tidal flats on the west side of the peninsula, on a dark cobbled beach with iron-stained yellow and orange volcanic tuffs in the adjacent cliffs.
Walking south along the westside of the peninsula
The low point that is flooded at high tide. We walked through the gap and saw a few birds.
Heron in the tidal flats
Closer view of the heron
We walked back through the gap, and continued walking south and up onto the hill to the top of the peninsula.
Track going up to the top of the peninsula.
Looking south as we walk up the road/trail
Grey boulders at the top of the peninsula
View to the south of Akaroa Harbour, including a cruise ship
View back to the north, showing the coastline and skyline of the Banks Peninsula.
On our return, we explored the beaches and cliffs on both sides of the peninsula, looking at marine life in the tide pools, and ‘picture rocks’ in the cliffs.
Back down to the beach
Tide still out…
Through the gap again.
Crab and snail
We enjoyed photographing the differentially stained tuffs, or ‘picture rocks’:
I decided to climb up the first hill, to look at the view from there:
Me, atop the hill.
View from the top…
Looking back at Onawe Pa
Tide coming in on the tidal flats, as we make our way back to the car park.
Last view from the Hilltop Viewpoint on our way return drive.
Back in Christchurch, we had dinner at a Thai restaurant. We had done well with left-side driving, and were ready to make our way to Lake Tekapo tomorrow.