While driving to Akaroa we started realising the kind of experience we would have in NZ: wide stunning landscapes, intense light and by far more sheep than people. The view over the Akaroa volcanic peninsula by the ocean is by itself enough to justify a trip to NZ. Once in Akaroa we were literally spoiled by Laurie and Nancy, Ed' s family friends, who welcomed us in their beautiful home. They showed us around some of the best spots in the area, such as the Otanarito bay, and treated us with marvellous fish dinners. It's not difficult to love Akaroa and start picturing ways to spend some months here, between golden hills and the pacific. We also joined a trip out in the ocean to get a chance to swim with the local Hector dolphins. We set out on a boat wearing a hardcore dry suit but once out of the harbour we realised the ocean was not quite Pacific. Waves were so high that the guy driving our boat had quite a busy time in keeping the boat straight and suggested avoiding jumping in the water. We did see the cutest dolphins jumping around us but felt quite wise in letting them enjoy the rough sea by themselves. Seasick and happy we came back to other great moments with Laurie and Nancy. Akaroa was a terrific start for out trip and we are now heading south to get in a mountain mood!