10 THINGS WE LOVE ABOUT AKAROA
As the only attempted settlement by the French in New Zealand, there is no doubt that Akaroa’s European history adds a fascinating aspect to the town. The influence from the original French setters is still very evident through the architecture, street names, proudly flying French flags and descendants of the original French families still living here. Enjoy wondering the streets of Akaroa while exploring and soaking up a piece of European history. akaroa.com
There is no better place to experience a sighting of the highly endangered Hector’s Dolphin. Only found in waters around the South Island, Akaroa Harbour boasts the highest population of the Hectors. A trip out on the water is a fantastic way to encounter the world’s smallest and rarest dolphin. Click here to book.
Pohatu hosts the largest Australasian Little Penguin colony on mainland New Zealand. Francis and Shireen Helps have worked tirelessly over the last three decades protecting the White-flippered Penguins, giving a fabulous opportunity to view them in their own habitat. Take a tour to view the penguins on land, or a kayak adventure through the Pohatu marine reserve. Pohatu Penguins ticketing office is located in central Akaroa. www.pohatu.co.nz
The multi day hike, the Banks Peninsula Track winds its way around the remote and dramatic Peninsula landscape. Views of the ocean to as far as the Southern Alps entrances can been seen from the stunning ridge line. The track offers overnight stays in the picturesque huts and lodges. You start the adventure by being picked up from the centre of Akaroa. www.bankstrack.co.nz
Managed by Hugh Wilson, a world renowned Botanist, the Hinewai reserve has grown over the years to 1,250 hectares of regenerating native remnant forest. Hinewai now attracts tourists and biological researchers from around the globe has over 20 publicly accessible walking tracks that cross the reserve, including part of the Banks Peninsula Track.
Akaroa and Banks Peninsula boasts an abundance of local food producers, from locally breed salmon, wines, cheeses, olive oils and much more. Visit the summer Farmers Market and the local butcher to take advantage and sample some of what the peninsula produces.
Situated on the eastern side of Banks Peninsula, Fisherman’s Bay is operated by very avid gardeners Jill & Richard Simpson. The 100 hectares of rugged and dramatic landscape has been transformed into a stunning hillside garden oasis, with its winding paths running through regenerating protected native bush, traditional flower borders, a herb garden, farm garden, fern garden, a shaded streamside valley and pond, and a wild exposed rock garden. www.fishermansbay.nz
This magical and breath taking creation of Josie Martin’s mosaic garden is something not to be missed when in Akaroa. Mosaic steps, sculptural walls, welded steel sculptures and many other fabulous creations surprise and delight around every corner. www.thegiantshouse.co.nz
Every two years in October Akaroa pays homage to its European history through a weekend of French Fest celebrations. With a street party on the Friday night, the re-enactment of the French landing, a festival day with market stalls and entertainment on the Saturday, the festival delights and entertains all.
There are some great short walks around Akaroa, but one of our favourites is at Children’s Bay, which leads you up the hill through forests of native bush, and offers breath taking views down the harbour. The ‘wildlife’ on this walk is a little different too. Keep an eye out for giraffes, a crocodile, and at the very top a Rhino – don’t worry none of them bite!