Where do you find some challenging, twists and turns, wonderful scenery and a destination worth traveling to? Now that is a big ask you may say.
But if you are visiting Christchurch and don’t have much time, and had hoped to fit in a quick tour on a hired motor cycle of your choice to see the local sites, well you have come to the right place. There are lots of choices, but here is one that we always enjoy and can highly recommend…..
CHRISTCHURCH – AKAROA
Just The Facts
Duration: 3:00 Distance: 164km Required Skill: intermediate
Corners: many Straights: few Scenery: good
Note: Duration and Distance are calculated based on a return trip.
Little River is approximately 30 minutes drive from Akaroa on Banks Peninsula, a major South Island tourist destination, and 45 minutes drive from Christchurch. It is on State Highway 75, which links Christchurch and Akaroa. Little River is a great place to stop at for a quick break and to prepare for the lovely twisty switchbacks which about to come. Little River is very popular for its cafe and art gallery.
The road from Christchurch is at sea level, but once past Little River, the road rises steeply and twists and turns its way to the top of the summit road. From the summit at Hilltop, all of the bays on the peninsula are accessible on equally steep and twisting roads leading down to them. Not all roads are sealed and some are more suited to Adventure Motor Cycles. But here we keep you to the black stuff.
The ride is simply brilliant, little traffic, especially on week days. Though you do need to be aware that when you least expect it a Goods truck could come round the next corner. Negotiating the switchbacks from Little River over to Akaroa is a good test of anyones riding skills. The views are wonderful, but keep your eyes on the road going down in to Akaroa, it has many lovely twists and turns, so you may want to stop to take some time to enjoy the view and to take photos of this beautiful harbour. There are a few purpose built parking bays at the sides of the road, ideal for the photo enthusiast.
Hill Top Tavern
But first you’ll arrive at the hill top which is worth stopping at to get some pictures of the massive expansive view and taking a good look down to where you will be heading.
At hill top is the apply named Hill Top Tavern which is open Wed to Sun 10:00 to late with live music, great food and an assortment of locally brewed Beers, Wines and Ciders.
Plenty Room for Parking at the Hill Top Tavern
The name Akaroa in the native Māori Language is Kāi Tahu meaning ‘Long Harbour’. Akoroa is located in this long habour which began as a historic French and British settlement nestled in the heart of an ancient volcano. It still has a French/New Zealand feel and you will probably notice the streets are all named in French.
A French Touch
After leaving the hill top, you are in for further corners carved out in the very heavens themselves. You will be negotiating some exciting twists and turns all the way down to Barry’s Bay which take you through a number of additional bays leading finally to the lovely little village of Akaroa.
Fish’N’Chips (Kiwi Gourmet Speciality)
Akoroa has a lovely feel to it. On the weekends it is full of atmosphere and you can enjoy having lunch at one of the many yummy restaurants, cafes etc (Fish a chips are not to be missed) or simply sitting back soaking up the harbour view while enjoying a nice cold drink or ice cream and chatting with fellow riders (riders who for sure will be there on a sunny day!!). Once you have felt that you have truly experienced Akoroa and have had a great look in all the many Art galleries and shops, and maybe even taken your ‘togs’ (Kiwi for swimming gear) and enjoyed a swim with the dolphins, it’s time to throw your leg back over the bike and do it all again. Go on ..have fun!! Indulge in all those challenging corners…..you know you want to!
One final piece of advice….. Barry’s Bay
If you love cheese, then on the way out back to Christchurch, don’t forget to stop at Barry’s Bay. There is a great little cheese factory named oddly enough Barry’s Bay Cheese, which has some amazing New Zealand cheeses not to be missed by cheese connoisseurs.
So give Christchurch – Akoroa a go, you will love it!!
..and please contact Kiwi Motor Cycle Tours for any questions you may have, we would love to help ensure you have a great tour in New Zealand.
Email: KiwiMotorBikeTour[email protected]
HOW TO GET THERE
From the Center of Christchurch ride south via Columbo street, which leads from the central city south to Cashmere, up the cashmere hills via Dyers Pass Road… keep following the main road all the way up passed the sign of the Takahe to the Sign of the Kiwi -> Down to Governors Bay -> around Banks Peninsula -> down to Teddington -> (turn right into) Gebbies Pass Rd (Highway 75) -> follow the road to the Blue Duck Cafe -> still on Highway 75 towards Little River, up and over to Akaroa via the Hill Top Tavern….. a !!FANTASTIC!! short ride on a sunny day. See the map for further clarification.