The Akaroa experience - Sheep Shearing
Christchurch Travel Blog› entry 15 of 17 › view all entries
The one thing I`m hating more and more with each new day of each new trip of mine is the alarm clock. It`s ultra sensitive, light and very inconvenient when I get the top bunkerbed. The previous night of partying didn`t do me any favours as I got back real late. I was in a room filled with 40 yrs+ French people who sleep rather early (9pm) and I had to tip toe for everything. It`s harder considering your room is the farthest from the main door.
What`s worse was, it was their last day in C`ch and they decided to have an early start. So alarms ringing all over the place by 6am, bright sunlight, etc means I was going low on sleep. I finally got myself together at around 8am. Got up, got ready (thank God I had my groceries with me) and the `French Connection` bus arrived at 9:30am to take us to Akaroa.
Having seen the South west parts of the South Island, it has to be said that the Canterbury Plains (North Eastern part, around C`ch, if you will) is rather DULL. The driver stopped us at some beach where you can pick up stones (Agate?) and ppl on the bus actually got off to pick it up. I didn`t! Stayed put listening to James Blunt on me iPod. After this, we actually went to a house occupied by a German family. And the mother of all LOL`s - since retiring and moving to NZ, they actually collect stones and polish them. They have a unit in the garage where they do the polishing. It was really tough controlling my laughter whilst at their ahem... "museum" as that poor lady was showing us around, how the polishing takes days sometimes and that they have an alarm which reminds them when it`s over. The height of joblessness it must be said.
From there, we stopped for a toilet break in some abandoned railway station (totally pointless) and then at a cafe from where we got good views of the Akaroa city. It was cold outside, but a good cuppa of Hot chocolate made up for it. (offtopic - I love how in NZ, hot chocolate is served with marshmellows). I quite liked this cafe, seemed like a proper family affair with a sofa set, fireplace, piano and the family dog all just let loose in the dining area.
We then went to a cheese factory. "Factory" the French Connection flyer proclaimed which led me to believe that I`ll see cheese being processed and all.
We finally arrived Akaroa at about 1pm. I managed some fesh and cheps before I reported to the Information centre where the Paua Bay Farms person came and picked us up. German bloke. Along with me were a delightful Chinese-American couple Erwin and Pam. Erwin works for Oracle, and Pam for Google. So turns out that I`m not the only geek that backpacks! Pam and Erwin are newly married (>1 month) and were on a fortnight honeymoon to NZ and Aus.
Anyways, we reached the farm around 2pm. The drive was delightful. And visiting a sheep farm was a big thing for me.
The farm owner (forgot his name!) greeted us on arrival. He explained the history of the farm before explaining the different types of dogs he keeps to help him. He then got one of the dogs to bring one set of sheep (which were grazing on the hill slopes) near us. That was absolutely spectacular seeing how dogs operate. They are indeed intelligent animals! We then, rather I then guided the sheep as shaven vs unshaven and put them in diff dens. We took one unshaven sheep and he taught us how to shear it. I sheared a good bit of it. It was fun, but heavy.
Once all this was done, and the history of wool was explained, we headed to the farmhouse (and a tour) before setting in for some fabulous raspberry scones and afternoon tea.
We left the farm around 3:45pm, reached Akaroa by 4:15pm in time for my French Conn bus back to C`ch. Slept the way through. Reached C`ch and did some souvenir and clothes shopping. Met Paul in the kitchen, chatted for a bit and pretty much hung around the hostel area itself. Had thai noodles for dinner, slept by 11pm.