By Kaitlyn Wylie
Little River, a small village conveniently placed at the foot of the Banks Peninsula and a gateway to Christchurch’s more outdoorsy relative. In Latin, peninsula literally translates to almost (pen) an island (insula), i.e. A very accessible destination with all of the frills one expects of a typical island such as postcard views and an abundance of food from the sea. Last week, I took a trip to Little River to experience a break from technology, a spot of relaxation and a chance to explore a place I have spent many a childhood jaunt, but from a different perspective. One of my favourite past-times is pretending I am a tourist in my own hometown; you can travel the world, but sometimes it’s your backyard that was stunning all along. Go check it out!
Here are some to-do’s in Little River and Banks Peninsula.
Little River is approximately a 30-35 minute drive away from Christchurch, however we made it longer by enjoying an al fresco Flat White in what looks like a very mild winter at The Bicycle Thief on Old Tai Tapu Road. The Bicycle Thief is newly situated out here in Tai Tapu and also has sensational wood-fired pizzas and a great brunch for those wanting less of a rush.
There isn’t a lot to see in Little River itself, thus the desire to escape to somewhere more snail-paced. However, there is a Crafts Store and a Cafe/Gallery well worth the look. We chose to stay at The Little River Cottage which I found on Airbnb. Nestled a small distance out of the village, yet what felt like way up in the hills, the Cottage was ideal for doing sweet nothing except read books, look at stars and drink bubbles. And the lovely hosts make ciabatta fresh for you in the mornings – win!
Once you’ve taken the chance to unwind in Little River, there are many adventures to be had on the Peninsula. I had never been to the Southern Bays before, so we took a trip to Te Oka Bay on the South side – which actually felt like a trip to Antarctica with the bitter southerly winds, timing and weather is a must as it is a beautiful spot.
The “capital” of the Peninsula is the French-settled village of Akaroa; well-known for it’s seafood and postcard harbour views. There isn’t much to do in Akaroa besides eat fish and swim with dolphins – which is fine by me. Sidenote; although most of the signage is in French, they don’t speak French – unfortunately.
Other bays and attractions worth visiting are; Barry’s Bay Cheese, The Hilltop Tavern, French Farm, Okains Bay, Le Bons Bay and if you’re game, there are a few companies that do great cruises around the Harbour.