Akaroa es­cape a Kiwi clas­sic

The Press - - News - Mad­di­son North­cott mad­di­son.north­[email protected] The writer was hosted by Akaroa Glamp­ing.

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.

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