Akaroa Wildlife penguins
One of the top things you must do in New Zealand is to experience true authentic farm stay and mingle with New Zealand’s cute fluffy sheeps. And, in Akaroa, you have an additional benefit of watching wild blue penguins swimming up to the shore from their ocean.
If you are adventurous, sporty, and do not mind to disconnect from the fast world for a while, slow down your pace a little, Akaroa Pohatu Flea Bay Tour is for you.
We signed up the 48 hours Pohatu package which includes:
- A scenic 4WD adventure over Banks Penisula, crater rim to volcanic cliffs and Akaroa Heads Lighthouse Reserve (with photo stops on requests)
- Free and easy trek at the Beech forest of the Tutakakahikura Scenic Reserve.
- Cottage stay
- Guided penguin tour
- Sea Kayaking along Pohatu Marine Reserve with endemic wildlife (at additional cost of $20nzd)
The package is $130nzd per pax excluding kayaking.
Shireen was our guide. She is a matured, very amiable looking lady, friendly and knowledgeable.
Upon reaching Akaroa, she asked us to stock up and packed our food supplies for 48 hours as there was no food available in the flea bay. It totally felt like an adventurous camping experience, that you had to stock up and cook your own food. Quite exciting. If you like more grocery options, perhaps its advisable for you to stock up prior to reaching Akaroa as their supermarket is relatively smaller.
After we were done, we begun our tour to the flea bay via her 4WD. If you have seen her, you would know not to judge a book by its cover. She is a very skilful driver. The roads to the flea bay was a challenging and tough one with lots of steep slopes and narrow paths, but she managed very well with ease. Thrilling ride but very safe. Along the way, the views were all spectacular. And, she would share with us the history of Akaroa, its nature and wildlife etc. She even plucked for us a tea tree leave to show us how it smelled and looked. Very passionate nature lover.
Part of the tour included trekking down the valleys at the Beech forest to our accommodation. Shireen was kind enough to offer our belongings a ride down and helped us to unpack our belongings at our accommodation, while we did the 3 hours trek. The tracks were very well-maintained despite that they all within the forest itself. This forest is a conservation reserves with red beech and regrowth hardwood, as well as 4 waterfalls. The highlight of the track is the last waterfall which has an access from behind the veil.
One thing to note, it is recommended for you to get a trekking shoe, if you can, for safety and comfort reasons. This is because some of the rocks can be loose, and the mud are slippery. So, be careful. When you reach the last waterfall, you are almost reaching the cottage where you will be staying at.
The cottage is a basic but clean accommodation, with heater, but without wifi, giving you peaceful time while you enjoy the company of your friends, sheeps and penguins in front of the beautiful sea….You need not worry about the cleanliness of this simple accommodation. I had stayed hostel before and I feel that this is cleaner than normal hostel, except that it was quite surprising that the bathroom had no lock and no heater. There is water heater though. We all tried as hard as we could to bath really fast as the coldness was really unbearable for us. We were too used to our tropical climate back home. The accommodation resembled a village in the olden times, when things were simple and people were all kind and trustworthy. Hence, probably that explains the no-lock policy here as there is no need for that.
The blue penguin tour was in the evening when the guides brought us to view the “homes” they built for the blue penguins. After that, they brought to an observation area where we would view the penguins coming up the shores. You also have opportunities feeding the cute sheeps, watch penguin feeding.
Another activity that you should do include kayaking to make friends with the endemic wildlife here that include the rarest and smalles dolphin in the world, hector dolphin, and the seals….Kayaking allows you to view them close up without getting yourself much wet.
Unfortunately, for us, the weather condition was not very favorable when we were there. The sea was tough and we had to come back half way while we were out the sea. But, we did manage to see a few seals swimming in front of us. This was the closest encounter I had with the seals…As the beach is rocky, do bring along a waterproof shoe.
Or, you can simply just admire the lovely scenery while playing boardgames with your friends….