A quick trip to the Akaroa Museum yesterday reminded me that the view overlooking Akaroa Harbour from the hilltop is still as breathtaking today as it was when colonial artists chose to paint the scene in the nineteenth century.
From the car park of the Hilltop Tavern you get very much the same view of Barry's Bay, with the distinctive shape of Onawe Peninsula lying at the head of the Harbour, as colonial artists such as John Hoyte, Nicholas Chevalier and William Watkins had. Perhaps one notable change is that much of the native bush has since been cleared, evidence of which can be seen in Hoyte's and Watkins's paintings. It has however remained one of Canterbury's best loved and most popular views and is an obligatory stop for tourists making the steep drive over the hill from Little River to Akaroa. Well worth the effort.