Akaroa on Banks Peninsula is a 1.5 - hour drive from Christchurch and perfect for a day trip. The picturesque village with its French heritage has a lot to offer!
On route to Akaroa
The drive to Akaroa is very scenic: rolling hills, green paddocks and stunning ocean views. For everyone who is not in a hurry, drive to Akaroa via Lyttelton through Gebbies Pass. This road is not as busy and the views over Lyttelton Harbour are spectacular.
Make sure to stop in Little River for a coffee and check out the local Art Gallery. Just after the village the road starts to wind its way up to the top of the hills. There is a turnoff to follow the scenic tourist drive along the summit, or you can drive straight down to Barrys Bay. Barrys Bay is famous for its cheese factory, a great spot to grab some yummy treats for a picnic along the way or a gift to take home.
Akaroa and the bays
Akaroa has a lot of wildlife and is ideal for watersport lovers. The harbour is home to the world's smallest and rarest dolphin: the Hector's Dolphins. There are numerous harbour and sailing cruises available to observe these wonderful animals. For everyone who wants to have a closer encounter, join one of the swimming-with-the-dolphins tours.
In and around the village you will hear and see lots of different native birds and little blue penguins live in the bays as well. To see the penguins it's best to join Pohatu Penguins for one of their tours.
More the active type? See the local Adventure Centre to hire kayaks and bikes or head to one of the many beaches for a swim. Akaroa is a paradise for walkers with numerous tracks which suit all levels of fitness.
Feeling hungry? Head into town and try out the cafes, bistros and restaurants. Our tip: the local bakery and their delicious croissants!
Arts and Culture
Akaroa is rich in history, the local museum in Okains Bay will tell you everything you need to know about the Maori and colonial history. Another must visit when in town is the Giants House. The artist Josie Martin has created a unique garden with mosaic sculptures: be prepared to be surprised.