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Akaroa is approximately 80 kms from Christchurch, about a one and a quarter hours drive. It is nestled on the shores of an ancient volcano with the harbour being the original Crater Lake.
Originally settled by the Maori and then in the early 1800’s by whalers and sealers, it was officially claimed by the English in 1839. In 1840 it was settled by a small group of French and their influence remains with historic buildings, narrow streets, fluttering tricolors and over recent years bilingual signage reminds us of Akaroa’s French heritage.
This was the signing place for the South Island signing of the Treaty of Waitangi and the reason for its existence.
Famous for the rare Hector’s Dolphins and a multitude of aquatic wildlife and marine birds, Akaroa has grown as a tourist destination and over the past decade now offers a great selection of accommodation, activities, restaurants, cafés, shops and galleries.
Some of the other activities available are:
Fishing and dive charters, jet boating, sea kayaking, sailing
For on the land experiences there are options such as:
Guided tours of the town and the outer bays, a penguin colony, seal colony, a Banks Peninsula country farm, mountain biking, petanque on the village green, quad biking, horse riding, and tennis.
Hire a moped or push bike and explore the back streets of Akaroa village and the many bays and settlements which fringe the harbour. Don’t forget your camera and allow sufficient time for sightseeing.
There are two excellent museums: one in Okains Bay, which has one of New Zealand’s leading Maori artifacts collections, and The Akaroa Museum, which offers a unique insight into early New Zealand and the settlement of Akaroa. A duplex theatre runs during the summer months.
Most people find that one day is not enough so do come and stay longer. Many think the same of a week and some just find it hard to leave!