With two days to burn in New Zealand Brad, Liz, and I rented and car and drove about an hour out of Christchurch to the town of Akaroa, which is on volcanic Banks Peninsula.  We hiked a trail that took us more or less from town, over the crest of the peninsula, down the other side to the Pacific Ocean, and back to our car.  The guide book said the hike should take 3-5 hours one way, but we did the whole thing in less than six (but we stopped for an extra hour to eat lunch on the beach).  Not too bad!  There's no point in me describing this with too many words.  Just enjoy the pictures!

Believe it or not, this place is real.  About 30 minute into the hike.

I was all over New Zealand last year and saw some great stuff.  But there are still nuggets like this everywhere.  Too much to see in this country.

The town of Akaroa descends as we approach the high point of the peninsula.

Liz climbing up the path.  I didn't realize how steep the first part of this hike was until later in the day when we were coming back down. 

Almost to the top.

Looking down over Akaroa from the top of the Banks peninsula.

From the top, 180 degrees away from Akaroa is the Pacific Ocean.  Now we just had to get down there...

After a steep descent through a red birch forest, following a river for several kilometers, and walking through several fields full of sheep, we make it to the ocean!

Local birds by the water.

Waves coming up the shore.  Hike is halfway done.  Now for the return...

The bay at which we ate lunch.

Coming back over the peninsula now.  We crossed through many active sheep prairies. 

Sheep grazing near the top of the peninsula with the Pacific Ocean in the background.

Akaroa reappears during late afternoon as we crest the top of the peninsula again. 

Seriously.... this place is real.

Looking back at the crest of Banks peninsula.

Akaroa awaits us.