|The beach a 5 minute walk from our flat|
The first pass was a lovely empty road with sweeping views in all directions as we decended to Port Levy. Continuing on we were confronted by a trio of warning signs. It seemed that to continue to Pigeon Bay was not suitible for campers or trailers, the road was narrow, and a giant '!'. Caustiously, we sped along at speeds up to 20 km/h as the two-way road was at times barely wide enough for one car, and was at its best wide enough for one car to dangle over the edge and the other to pass on the inside taking some shrubery with it.
At a corner we let a truck whiz past us, but quickly lost sight of it in the gnarled twists of a narrow canyon. Soon after we crested the pass, we came upon the truck, an ATV, and a whole heard of cows blocking the road. The rancher on the ATV instructed us to follow the truck bumper to bumper as it cleared a path. However the road was not wide enough and the hillside too steep for the cows to go anywhere but forward.
We backed off the truck's bumper, disappointing the rancher, when a cow slammed into the side of the truck. The loud crunch combined with thoughts of insurance paperwork filled Craig's head and we decided that we were not in a hurry. If we had to sit and watch a cow eat for a bit then so we would. After 10 minutes of inching along a second rancher was able to help get the cows to one side of the road at a wider section and we continued on our way undamaged.
The rest of the drive was also filled with great views around every corner, to the point where we maybe didn't enjoy them to the extent they deserved. Our turnaround spot was the town of Akoroa, a town that our guidebook proudly proclaims as the first settlement in the Cantebury region, forgetting that Māori arrived a few hundred years earlier. Steeped in French routes, there were bakeries, general stores, and a pretty waterfront to wander.
With the sun dipping closer to the horizon than we'd anticipated, we buckled a sleeping babe back up and opted for a more direct and well-travelled road for our return.