Located in the quaint South Island of New Zealand by the Banks Peninsula, Akaroa is a major tourist destination and a furnished resort town attracting over 200,000 visitors during its seasonal bloom. Akaroa Township is a French Settlement with both French and British Colonial architecture towering around the city. From the quirky gardens of the Giant’s House to Hector’s Dolphin marine tours, if you’re a novelty-experience seeker, here are the best things to do in Akaroa.
Our Top Choice – Explore the Giant’s House
A masterpiece designed by Josie Martin, a horticulturist, sculptor and traveller, the Giant’s House is a peculiar whimsical site of attraction and a six-star hotel. The premise is home to a contemporary art gallery, a fascinating garden and sculptures to surprise visitors at every turn to a room. During summer, visit The Artists Palate cafe in the garden and enjoy a delicious meal watching the surrounding glam. If you’re planning a tour to the Canterbury Region, visiting the Giant’s House is one of the best things to do in Akaroa.
Visit the Akaroa Museum
Featuring three long exhibits of the intriguing history of Akaroa, the museum – also known as Akaroa Museum Te Whare Taonga, is a major tourist hotspot in town. Built around the base of Langlois-Eteveneaux House – a French interior premise. While the museum largely hosts exhibits belonging to cultural history, it also houses art of zoology and archaeology. If you find museums fascinating, Akaroa Museum is one of the best sites in the region. Plus, it’s open 365 days, so you can visit anytime you feel like it.
Head to the Akaroa Lighthouse
Built in 1880, the unique little Lighthouse at the rugged headland of the Harbour was later moved to the Akaroa Township – almost after 100 years. Currently, it is one of the very few wooden Victorian Lighthouses in New Zealand. The Lighthouse is opened for viewings during the Christmas season and on Sundays. If you’re around Christchurch or Canterbury Region, remember to visit the Akaroa Lighthouse. You can even catch some breathtaking views of Akaroa Beach.
Relax at the Fisherman’s Bay Garden
An idyllic landscape located by the Banks Peninsula Coastline, Fisherman’s Bay is a cultivated garden encompassing about 100 hectares of sheer natural beauty. Overlooking the ocean, the dramatic views offered to visitors are incomparable. The best time to visit the Bay garden is during late spring when the blossoms are at their fullest. However, the destination is admired all year round. Fisherman’s Bay Garden houses a flower border, a herb garden, a fern garden, a farm garden, a rock garden and a stream valley. If you enjoy botanical garden tours, Fisherman’s Bay Garden is your spot.
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Join a Marine Tour
Dolphin swimming and marine escapades are a highlight in Akaroa. Hectors Dolphin, the world’s smallest dolphin species are found here in the Akaroa waters, and visitors have the opportunity of swimming with them. The Harbour Cruise Adventure is the perfect method of exploring the beach and marine mammals. Other cruising options are also available that are much luxury and furnished. Many cruise tours include a shore excursion where the experience is not just limited to the beach. If you’ve never come across hectors dolphins, this is the place.
Go on a Guided Kayak Safari
Sea Kayaking is a one of a kind adventure experience on the South Island and one of the best things to do in Akaroa. The guided tour would take travellers across the Harbour- through the pristine marine reserve. Adventurists can paddle in an extinct volcanic crater pool where they can encounter endangered animals such as the white flipper penguins and the hector dolphins. If you love water sports, the Akaroa Guided Kayaking Safari is the ideal bucket-list experience. Make sure to carry some sunscreen and get yourself hydrated before you start the safari.
Visit the Akaroa Harbour
Located in the Canterbury Region the Akaroa Harbour is a destination unlike any other. The entrance to the Harbour begins from the Banks Peninsula on the Southern Coast and goes inland to the North. It is said that the Harbour area once was a Volcano, and ancient lava flows can still be spotted amidst the cliffs. Several cruises are set off by the main wharf along with the distance of the waterway that promises an enchantingly scenic experience for visitors. Those who love cruises, make sure to sign up for this journey at the Harbour.
Witness Penguins in the Pohatu Marine Reserve
Located between Ounu-Hau Point and Redcliff Point, the untouched Pohatu Marine Reserve is a lush habitat for the native Pohatu Penguins and natural sites. The dramatic landscape of this reserve spans over 530 acres, and its beautiful sceneries can be observed while on a kayak adventure. Surrounded by magnificent cliffs, stacked rock formations, sea caves and reefs, the Pohatu Marine Reserve gained its attention due to the endangered wild species that thrive within its land. Remember to set off on the sunrise kayak for the most bewitching sights.
Trek along the Banks Peninsula
Spanning over an area of 1,150 square kilometres, the Banks Peninsula is one of the most intriguing locations in Oceania, mainly due to its unique positioning. Travellers will come across countless hills, bays, bushes and valleys where there’s endless freedom to roam. The ocean ridges and the unique formation of Banks Peninsula were created due to an ancient volcanic eruption. It is researched that the volcano reached at least 4,500 feet in height. Trekkers would find this place, a haven of nature.
Visit the Meniscus Wine Lounge
A recently opened winery, the Meniscus Wine Lounge gathers its grapes from the South hillside of the Akaroa Township. The wines are renowned for their unique taste which comes from the lava-rich soil the grapes grow in; The Wine Lounge is the perfect place to end an evening while gazing out at the beautiful terrace and the scenic views of Akaroa and the Banks Peninsula. If you love visiting vineyards and wine tasting, Meniscus Wine Lounge is the place for you.