Banks Peninsula – Where’s that again?
Excuse the geographical ignorance, but I have to admit I have never been to Banks Peninsula. People keep telling me it is ‘amazing’, ‘beautiful’, ‘not to be missed’ and I know I have to go, because so many of the OE businesses seem to gravitate to this area.
So on a beautiful autumn morning I am finally heading east from Christchurch on SH75, destination Akaroa.
The settlement of Little River is about 30 minutes drive, half way to Akaroa and is home to Okuti Garden Ecostay.
The Okuti Garden website says they are eco-friendly, child friendly and vegetarian friendly. Just friendly, actually! And its true, host Jim Mullins greets me with a smile, I leap out of the car and say something stupid along the lines of "OMG this place is really freaky". It is the shock you see, everything around me is just so... so... 'pretty'.
The Okuti Garden ‘idea’ according to Jim is difficult to pin down, but it has something to do with ecology and it has something to do with design and art and trying to live more sustainably in rural New Zealand.
The results of this 'idea' are self evident, now I am here, there doesn't seem any point in going any further. I have found paradise, why would I leave? Guests can stay in a yurt, house truck, earth brick studio or farmhouse, all set out around ponds and streams, fruit and nut trees, meadows, woods and organic vege gardens on the sunny side of the lovely Okuti Valley.
Your hosts Janie, Jim and their 9 yr old son Sol have created beautiful green outdoor spaces, providing clean, comfortable, affordable accommodation for families and people to come and 'create' or 'learn' or 'play' or just to relax in. www.okuti.co.nz
You can also cycle to Okuti Garden from Christchurch along the Little River Rail Trail.
Another 20 mins towards Akaroa (past that incredible view when you pop over the brow of the hill and first see Akaroa Harbour laid in front of you) winding down the hill and through to Robinsons Bay is Matua Gardens Retreat.
I spend the afternoon with hosts Sue and Richard and have the distinct impression they have considered EVERYTHING in regards to the boutique luxury accommodation garden stay they offer. 5 star luxury with complete privacy, guests have their own suite with a comfortable lounge, computer, wifi, private car park and entrance. However, behind the scenes should a guest be interested in exploring further, is over two hectares of gardens with exotic and native plantings mature trees and streams, free range chooks, home grown fruit and heritage vegetables, intelligent company should you want some, vintage car and classic motorbike/sidecar tours and a lot more besides.
There are pockets of enormous old trees and almost subtropical lush plantings (weird - not my perception of what I would expect to grow this far south). It’s just an astounding place and these hospitable folk live here and will share it with you. www.matuagardens.co.nz
Akaroa itself is just a couple of minutes drive further, home to Pohatu Penguin Plunge and the start of the famous Banks Peninsula Track, (both departing from the Akaroa Information centre.)
Pohatu Penguins offer land-based tours of the largest little penguin colony on mainland NZ, or sea kayaking or self contained accommodation while staying overnight in the middle of the penguin colony itself. www.pohatu.co.nz
The Banks Peninsular Track is NZ's oldest private walking track offering 2 or 4 day self guided walks, staying in unique historical and whimsical accommodation along the way. http://bankstrack.co.nz/
I’ve hardly covered anything here, there's lots more, Banks Peninsula is my new favourite destination and next time the family are coming too.
Who's new to our on-line community
A Luxury Eco B&B with stunning views of the Hokianga Harbour and sand dunes. Perched above the native bush, and accommodating only one couple, it is both sophisticated and private.
Relax and recharge to a soundtrack of native birdsong and go to sleep to the sound of the sea and Moreporks. A romantic escape to remember.
Goats' Milk Soap, Goats Milk Lotion, Herbal balms and massage oils. Raw goat milk (fresh or frozen) sometimes available (for pets, soapmaking, etc).
A delightful cottage on the gentle slopes of the Port hills Christchurch, set in one acre of mature trees and informal garden, with views of mountains and city.
Plant-based, Organic Cafe, 'A light-hearted gathering space' in Newmarket, central Auckland.
WIN a Detox at Enriching day Spa in Nelson in April
Feel the need for a detox before winter sets in?
The Enriching Wellness Day Spa in Nelson is offering a prize of one of their most popular Detox treatments:
Exfoliation/hydration treatment Allow 90min Value $140. Feel your body come alive with a top to toe invigorating full body scrub. Stimulation of the skin tissue aiding in overall skin function. Then a hydration application. Your body feels renewed and alive. Fantastic!!
Obviously you will need to to be in Nelson to make use of this prize so if you don't live locally, perhaps gift it to a friend who does.
Go to the Organic Explorer Facebook page to tell us what the letters "SHE" of SHE Chocolaterie in Governors Bay, Banks Peninsula stand for. All correct answers go in the draw to win www.facebook.com/organicexplorer
The prize will be drawn on April 30th 2012. Go to www.facebook.com/organicexplorer
Jan Dewhurst - ex Organic Pizza Company, is offering to sell this rather unique personalised plate
(all letters no numbers) and thought it may be of interest to an Organic Explorer out there. You just add your own surround details and theirs will be removed.
Asking price for this rare plate is $5,000.00.
If this is of interest or you have any further queries, please contact Jan
via email email@example.com or her Mobile: 0212524124
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