AKAROA THE BEAUTIFUL.
Under- the above heading Miss Isabella Maud Peacocke gives a very flattering and interesting account of her visit to Akaroa in a recent num ber of the " Auckland Weekly News" We give the article below as it ap peared in the "News":-----"A most delightful trip i" that from Christohurch to Akaroa overland. I recently had the pleasure o£ making this trip with a friend. ' We left Christchurch by rail late in the afternoon for Little Biver, where we in. 'tended to stay the night. The landscape at this etage of the journey, thcugh picturesque, after a peaceful, pastoral fashion, is not parti cularly impressive Vith the exception of that portion of it wbere the line rune along the edge of Lake Bllesmere. This remarkable lake, which communicates with the sea by one narrow arm, spreads over miles of inland country. It is, in appearance, like an immense marsh, of no depth, and ulong tht margin grow hroiid. swampy Mrntches of rU'h<'B and tuupo, literally swarming with pukuki handiome I ir.ris, with plum. »ge like d/ep blue plush, and scarlet patched headfi, are to be seen rising in scores, and flapping awkwardly away as the train passes, or their long necks and inquisitive heads may be Been peeping out inquiringly from the green rushes, like some new species of red'and-purple blossom. Further out, on the open water there is a sight uever to be forgotten: hundreds and huiidroda of statoly blaok swans, with aoarlet bills, criiimng in companies, with arrogantly-held heads and sooty breaste, parting the ripples, and wild duck, and ourlew and sea swallows, and gulls from the ooast in thousands, ever crying and calling, rising and settling, and swirling in a
restless cloud of beating wings, over the Inke, Little River shut in by rolling hills, seems to exist only ns the gateway to Akaroa. The picturesque, but somewhat'sluggisb stream from which the place presumably ta es its name, meanders through the villagp, and pcsaa Maori set lement, wbiihls something of a rarity in the Soutu The village is, arebfuc. Among other primitive things wb found a crazy gabled building tottering on the edge of a creek, which sef-med to be a wheelwright's shop, and wan k'j.t by one Christopher CoUiaihua. Lut| e -k'ver smk£ Christopher Columbus!
"We met also a team of builocks, yoked shoulder to shoulder, with low hnngim; | titads, drawiDg a great load of freshly felled, timber. We spent the night at Little River j and nest morning started for Akaroa by motor car. There were four motors, and well ladA they whirled away, the raail-car taking the lead. It flew along a level ptroteb of well kept road, and then, swineing abruptly to the mountain road, becan its mug journey of 36 miles over the hill tops It purred up the steep inclines with steady speed, taking the stiffer giadee with a deep, protesting roar. There were glimpses in the valley of pretty homesteads nestling in folds of the hills: of winding hill trucks, and silvery creeks here and there sparkling in the s"unshine. The road wound up and up, twisting and turning, the car sounding a shrill whistle almost continuously us it swept round corner after corner. The maiLcar stopped here and there at rural post offices, left and received the slender mails, and was off again, overtaking the other cars, which, at such stops, would often pass it, but had stlways to draw aside for its passage, as ii would always come up with an impatient •Honk! Honk." as if crying ' Way forme, (here!' Way for the mail^! I carry tlw mails of the King!' About noon we reached the breezy summit o£ the hills, or 'Billorest,' as tho hostelry is fittingly named, and from there we caught our first glimpse oi -\karon Harbour. Far below m lay the sparkling blue waters of this almost lan J
•eked harbour, deep and fpacious, with green Peninsula thrusMn.v long arms ou nto thf. ,s?a, with exquisite little bays'nnii rounded islets breaking the level expanse Then began the long descent, tho cars rush*
.:>£ smoothly down the winding road, an-. , ow the greasy snnbrowned mountain side; I,'avt' place to gr-en th ckets and tree-(iii'-.i gtl'l-i'- We ':*,-< r.!.i.'i):;gtl '-.tin--a of I'vh !rwv r .<■:<.i;l-d ■«!•'.'> i.tftii* of wii." fiOi
(!-;:iVi>lvi!iii-; :v r ii'.' >1: :-.■ <5; '.. ■<.■ ui-.Jsi -n waV a hlaz-j of m inulun .*,n<! were aefio-upariitd, va (h- tri.'.'npbal ear vA the Titania might iiiivs in-n. by fights of (.•lack and crimson bun.nflies. Gei.k;i flnEht'6 and flickered in and out of the and a tiny fall brawled, white with foam, over the rocks at a turn in the road. We split) tor some time along the water's edge, whet' the sea, in tender shades of azure and erriei; aid softly blended, crept up with sighing murmurs almoet to the "feet of tho ancisii trees that cast their shade over it. Akaio'a lay basking in the heat of a perfect midsummer day, with golden sunehine shimmering on the dancing blue sea, walled iiv by the brown hills that to reach ctr circling arms about it. Historic , intereii attaches to the place, It was tho first French settlement in New Zealand, ard to this dm the descendants of some of the oiiginii French. aettlers remain there, and many, cxiany mom lie sleeping with their fathers in the old French ciin<"<-ry on the hillside. The most prominent iskt is Onawe, a bare, brown hiil, at low tide connected with tbV mainland by a natural rocky causeway Akaroa has its peaches too, for on ever) hillside and peaceful valley grows the cockfoot grass, for tbe seed of wliich this dislrici controls the markets of the world Ah , through the long summer days men, womei 'inri children are out on the hills, cuuing tb grast ,by the primitive means of £ hooks, and caiefully laying it a>idi; v little swathes, to be gaihere liter. What infinite p;ins and patienci goes to the laborious taak! But as yei, 'h ugh an attempt is now be'ng made, no t-ffioient laboursaving device has beer ih nght of to meet the demand, and a scytku would scatter and waste the previous seed ureyioue as grains of gold. • o like the liu-btimitnangf old, eaqh man goes forth tn
i-»p li s harvest with his own hands, and \i ihe owetu of bis brow, to garner it iri, Asa
i'a ia also possessed of a mascot in thy. ->hnp of a pet penguin, which was cenglift whiie very young in one of the outside bays ' Pompey,' the penguin, rhare? • wici<
• Pt:loroU3 Jack' the unique distinction of being protected by an Act of Parliament, and every man, woman and child in th* place knows him as he seeme to know them. He .has been the pet of the town now for 11 years, and sleeps every night in civilisa • ion that is to ?ay, in a fitted up cask in s timber yard—but by day the old world in. / stinet of his seaborn ancestors assetcs itself, and at daylight he ia away out to sea on c fishing raid, where we may with him 'good hunting ' He returns usually about dark, leisurtly swimming, waddles up the baacb, and w its at the sea-wall for an obliging j friend to lift him into the main street,] where he solemnly stalks off to bed. Sorop ■times; *P mppy' Jhas a 'night out* and dres f< t r turn t\atil the foilowkig evening, but his friends at Akaroa seem to bear him n< ill will for that, but meet the solemn anH dignified delinquent on his return with open arrag as ugual.".
Permanent link to this item
AKAROA THE BEAUTIFUL., Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser, Volume LXXII, Issue 4390, 24 April 1914