As Banks Peninsula is very rural you must always be prepared to break for a sheep on the road. Somehow they always find escape ways out of their paddocks, and if a ewe makes her way outside the lambs follow her, and when a lamb gets out under a fence its sibling(s) follow and the ewe has to look after them…
Whereas escapees are rather rare (but cannot be excluded) on the State Highway between Christchurch and Akaroa, I have rarely made a trip in the backcountry without stopping the car because I did not want to contribute to the roadkill – and, of course, to photograph them, as this is such a typical occurrence in this country and adds to the rough beauty of New Zealand. And really, I rather prefer some cute sheep on the road than a dairy cow… ;-) And apart from that I want to support the sheep farmers who continue this kind of farming although they could earn a lot more money with dairy farming which kills the environment. (48 % of NZ's greenhouse gases come from dairy farming, especially from farting cows blowing methane gas into the air.)
There are far more roads on the Banks Peninsula than any comparable area of New Zealand, and they make exploring the region a real pleasure as they twist and turn and dip and dive, offering wonderful vistas at every turn. However, many of these roads are both very narrow and very steep - and not all are sealed. Also, there are few barriers and passing places can be few and far between although you will find places where you can stop and enjoy the view. Campervans are not recommended on the steep shingle roads and hired vehicles may well be banned from using them by their contract.
Always check road conditions in winter before setting out as ice and snow can close roads - this can be as early as Easter and as late as October. Ask at your hotel or check at the Visitors Centre in Akaroa.
Don't let the weather spoil your time on the Banks Peninsula. Come prepared for changeable and unpredictable weather and you'll be fine. The brightest morning can change in a few moments to chilly grey - but the opposite is just as true - so be ready to shed a layer or add one on , and take it as it comes. Here they talk about 4 seasons in one day.
Walkers should take particular note of this - but then, experienced walkers know that any way, wherever they are.
Akaroa is beautiful to just meander around and take time looking, but if the weather changes it does fast, so be prepared, and take an umbrella just in case. Ideal to keep sun off or rain off!!