Okains Bay, Banks Peninsular

It felt good to escape the tourists in Akaroa. A cruiseliner had anchored in the bay and swarms of people were gradually being delivered to shore by a couple of bright orange tenders.

We drove the skinny windy road up over the ridge and down to Le Bons bay first for a walk on the beach, then on to Okains Bay. Lots of hardy people (it was only about 12 degrees!) were camping in the camp ground by the beach. Another beach walk. I'd like to have got some tua tuas - the shells on the beach are enormous, but the water was freezing so there was no way I was going in to do the tua tua twostep.

Down by the store locals were competing in some Easter tradition of 'egg and spoon' and 'sack races'. We warmed up with blue cod fish and chips from the Okains Bay General Store and enjoyed watching the races. The store looks like it has been the center of life for the bay for a long time with well used postboxes inside and what looks like an old workshop next door.

Okains Bay Store

Then we checked out the museum. It has got to be one of the best in the country as well as one of the most remote. Quite small and unassuming looking from the road, it started as a family collection that has grown into an incredible collection of Maori (and Chatham Island Moriori) and early colonial artifacts. Also on display an awesome collection of waka, a collection of local old buildings that have been moved to the site including a working smithy and and even an outhouse (we didn't try it find out if it was working) all packed with interesting stuff.

The kids loved the place too — but I knew I only had time to draw one item — what I ended up drawing probably isn't the oldest or most important piece, but as a solid 1 meter square chunk of Totara I was attracted to the solidity and sculptural aspects of it. You could easily spent a few days sketching here!