The city of Akaroa is popular as the only French colony in New Zealand. The town is located in an ancient volcanic crater. It still preserves its French atmosphere with its traditional architecture, the French street names, and much more. Apart from French history, this city also has British heritage. In the Maori language, the term Akaroa signifies Long Harbor. It’s the harbor of the town that attracted French and British settlers to create a colony here. The less-crowded town is serene, where you can enjoy nature at its best. Staying in this place will provide you with a mountain of adventure, which might ultimately tempt you to come back for more, like the French settlers of the past. Read on to learn more about the best things to do in Akaroa:
1. Explore the remains of the sole French settlement in New Zealand on foot
The city and its French heritage are best discovered on foot. The city offers stunning views of French heritage in every step, and these are best discovered on foot. You can take a self-guided tour around the city. Prior to the trip, you can visit Akaroa Adventure Centre, located at the corner of Rue Lavaud and Rue Balguerie, to get guidance and a map for a walking trip through the city. There are various kinds of walking routes through this city, like the Village Walk to take you through the historic reserves, the French cemetery, Britomart Monument, and the remaining French-style edifices. The other track, called the Country Walk, is mainly focused on discovering nature. You can climb to Stony Bay Peak or have snacks in Tree Crop Farm.
The city of Akaroa on foot
Website: Akaroa on foot
2. Garden of Tane
A mere 5 minutes walk from the town center will take you to the Garden of Tane, which is a scenic reserve located in this city. This place is best for the stroll through the forest full of native trees, birds, and other natural scenes. The main entrance to this park is through Rue Jolie and Aylmers Valley Road, whereas you can also enter from Beach Road. There is a playground for children, and two ancient cemeteries that used to serve as a burial ground in the past.
Garden of Tane
Address: Akaroa 7520, New Zealand
3. A visit to the Akaroa Lighthouse
This lighthouse was moved to its present location by the Akaroa Lighthouse Preservation Society in 1980. Previously, it was located on Akaroa Heads, where it started functioning in 1880. A century later, the lighthouse was moved to Akaroa Township, along Cemetery Point. The Akaroa Lighthouse can be accessed from Akaroa Lighthouse Road. You can climb up to the lighthouse to have an awesome view of the coast.
Address: Akaroa Lighthouse, Akaroa 7520, New Zealand
Website: Akaroa Lighthouse
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4. Take a trip to see the Akaroa seal colony
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Along with the other coastal wildlife, Akaroa also boasts the presence of seals. To watch the seals in their natural habitat, you can opt for a safari to visit these seals. These seals normally stay at the eastern slopes of the Pacific Ocean, along the rim of an extinct volcano. The Seal Colony Safari takes a small group of tourists to the place where you can watch these seals in their natural habitat. Here, in the midst of the coast with volcanic mountains, you get to see the cute New Zealand fur seals without disturbing or distracting them from their natural chores.
Akaroa Seal Colony Tour
Price: From 62 USD / 85.98 NZD per adult
5. Visit the Giant's House
The Giant’s House is actually a historic house in Akaroa that boasts gardens with various kinds of sculptures. The whole property has a sculptural wall mosaic, as well as other sculptures. This house originally belonged to the painter and sculptor Josie Martin, who created this wonderful world of color. The entire place is secluded and quiet; you can enjoy the serenity of the garden. It is located very close to the Akaroa town center, offering wonder for both children as well as elders.
Address: 68 Rue Balguerie, Akaroa 7520, New Zealand
Website: Giant’s House
6. Visit the local wineries: Akaroa Winery
Takamatua Valley Vineyards is the perfect venue for your next event - we hosting wine tastings, conferences, weddings and other special occasions.Posted by Takamatua Valley Vineyards - Akaroa Winery on Monday, 26 September 2011
The surrounding countryside of Akaroa is famous for its vineyards which produce amazing New Zealand wines. Akaroa Winery is located in the Takamatua Valley. It is actually a family-owned vineyard located in the hilly area that overlooks the Takamatua Bay. This region is most famous for the vineyards of Takamatua Valley, since these were the first ones to produce pinot gris in New Zealand. Along with a tour of this vineyard, taste some wines produced by this winery.
Address: Akaroa Winery, 59 Long Bay Road, Akaroa
Website: Akaroa Winery
7. See the ancient cheese making process at Barry's Bay Cheese
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The wine tastes best when it is eaten with a slice of a cheese. Along with wines, Akaroa is also famous for its cheese. If you are interested in the process of making these cheeses, you can head on to Barry’s Bay Cheese factory. This cheese factory still uses the traditional ways of making cheese, which was taught by the English settlers.
Barry's Bay Cheese factory
Address: 5807 Christchurch Akaroa Rd, Duvauchelle 7582, New Zealand
Website: Barry’s Bay Cheese factory
8. Lastly, explore the history of the town at the Akaroa Museum
Located in a historic Langlois-Eteveneaux cottage, which was built by the French settlers, the Akaroa Museum gives a glimpse into the history of the Banks Peninsula. It tells the history of all ages, from Taonga Maori to French and English settlers. It also provides a glimpse into the traditional whaling industry and features a large collection of local costumes. A visit to this museum will give you the details of Akaroa’s past.
Address: 71 Rue Lavaud, Akaroa 7520, New Zealand
Website: Akaroa Museum
Apart from the existence of the rare small dolphins, called Hector’s dolphin, the shores of Akaroa also are home to other dolphin species. If you are not satisfied with just a cruise to see these dolphins, you can take a step further to swim with these amazing creatures. Prior to jumping in the ocean and putting on your wetsuit, you need to listen to the information given by the experienced instructors. You can interact with dolphins in this 3-hour expedition and collect amazing memories of these sea mammals.
Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise
Duration: 2 hours
The immense beauty of the Akaroa Harbor is best discovered from a cruise. The harbor is surrounded with volcanic mountains and the water is a common place to observe dolphins. It is possible to take a cruise around the harbor on a catamaran. The sea caves of the Akaroa Harbor are another attraction such as Cathedral Cave. Here, you get to see the rarest small dolphins, which are known as Hector’s dolphins, along with the birds like cormorants, gannets, petrels, White-Fronted Terns, and albatross.
Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise
Duration: 2 hours
The former French colony
The former French colony of Akaroa still shows signs of its French and British heritage. Calm, quiet, and serene: all these adjectives are well-fitted to this stylish town that has a mile long history and immense natural beauty.
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