Akaroa – Excess of Charm. Lack of Cutlery.

I’d heard great things about Akaroa. I’d done some research and my expectations were high. I’ll just make it clear – it’s a pretty breath taking place and pictures cannot do it justice.

A little background – the British discovered this place, just south of Christchurch, almost 200 years ago and the French settled here. History lesson over, it still has a real French feel today. The street names are French, the shops have a Parisienne feel and the petrol station uses the word ‘l’essence’ (which doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out means petrol).

Don’t get me wrong, its not like disembarking a ferry at Calais and being greeted by frogs legs, snails and a rude French lady staring at you, but it does have a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’. (see what I did there?).

The scenery was so picturesque. The place was tranquil. The boats were cute. It’s the perfect place to retire to. Or run a cute B&B. Being the low season, there weren’t many people around but I’m told it gets incredibly busy in the summer. The list of things to do is long, including swimming with dolphins in the harbour. So I’ll be returning for that.

The stand out moment of the day however? The beautiful blue water? The rolling hills? Perhaps the little cute boats? Or the French theme in a country that was once part of the British Empire that’s not really an empire anymore? Nope. It was eating fish & chips.

We had fish & chips for lunch. And ate it with our hands. I refused to take it seriously and thought Devon was having me on. But as he picked up the fish and brought it to his mouth I suddenly realised it was no joke. I was going to dip piping hot battered fish into tartare sauce and eat it with my hands. Anyone who knows me will know I can’t wear anything white to a meal. I just have this magical ability to drop anything destined for my mouth.

I mean it’s a first world problem in the grand scheme of things. I feel like I’ve embraced many Kiwi things – the fact a ‘dairy’ shop sells more than dairy. A ‘lolly’ is a sweet and doesn’t come on a stick. Pineapple lumps. Jandles. Wellies being called gum boots. Rugby. The list goes on. But I really can’t get my head around this one.

Since arriving here, I’ve been quick to shoot down anybody who told me that ‘coming to NZ was like going back in time to a 1960’s UK’. The social views are far more developed than back home and cash here is virtually a thing of the past, for example. Even the old people use contactless. You can even design your own burger at McDonalds.

But eating fish and chips with my hands? I’m going to struggle with this one.

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