Akaroa escape a Kiwi classic
There are few things more quintessentially Kiwi than ripping into a steaming pack of fish and chips and settling in for a salty, saucy dinner on the beach. Gorging on the feast before retiring to the family tent to relax with an icy drink is a right of passage for many families on summer holiday.
Tucked into the back corner of a family farm in Akaroa, two unobtrusive canvas tents offer a luxurious rendition of this classic escape.
We arrived at Akaroa Glamping, just over an hour southeast of Christchurch, to catch the last hour of light. Perched on top of a hill in Takamatua, in Akaroa Harbour on Banks Peninsula, the private campsite offers views of Onawe Peninsula, the harbour and the surrounding hills.
A note stuck to the entrance gate directed us along a short farm road to the top of the hill, and our tent.
Akaroa Glamping operator Harry Thurston said after a long stint overseas, home beckoned and he set to work clearing the sheep off the land and designing and building the private campsite.
Complete with polished wooden floors, a king-sized bed, cosy armchair and a private shaded deck, the business opened in January.
Here, you’re unlikely to be bothered by the loud children, dodgy air mattresses or missing pegs synonymous with traditional tenting trips. Rather, the site, complete with a private, fully functioning bathroom – read hot showers and flushing toilets – and fullyfunctional shared kitchen, offers all the joy of camping and all the luxuries of a hotel.
After dumping the duffel bags on the bed, we took the five-minute drive into Akaroa’s township. Bypassing the busy restaurants, we picked up fish and chips from a busy store on the main street and made it back to the campsite deck before they started to cool.
The glampsites don’t have electricity, but guests are given portable lights and a powerbank to charge cellphones so we were in no hurry to head inside.
We ate, drank and watched the sun set over the harbour before turning in for an early night.
Thurston greeted us in the morning, topping up the eggs, milk and other offerings in the kitchen. Messages left on the kitchen’s chalkboard from previous guests boasted of engagements, birthdays and staycations spent at the farm. One said they had spotted a tui in the trees, a particular highlight for international visitors. Common bird life in the valley also includes wood pigeons and bell birds.
After a brunch in the township we headed back to Christchurch, rejuvenated. I hear in the heat of summer, the glampsites are even more stunning so as soon as the weather plays ball, we will be back.
Scott Walbran enjoys a fish-and-chip dinner at the campsite.