There is no better place to experience a sighting of the highly endangered Hector’s dolphin than around Banks Peninsula. Only found in waters around the South Island of New Zealand, Akaroa Harbour boasts the highest population of the Hector's dolphins. A trip out on the water is one of our favourite things to do in Akaroa and is a fantastic way to encounter the world’s smallest and rarest dolphin. Book Now!
Pohatu Penguins 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, this is one of those activities you should book in advance! www.pohatu.co.nz
The multi-day hike winds its way around the remote and dramatic Peninsula landscape. Views of the ocean as far as the Southern Alps entrances can be seen from the stunning ridgeline. 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, an amazing natural attraction. Hinewai now attracts tourists and biological researchers from around the globe have over 20 publicly accessible walking tracks that cross the reserve, including part of the Banks Peninsula Track. www.hinewai.org.nz
Testing out the local produce is always on the list of things to do in Akaroa. We boast an abundance of local food producers, from locally bred salmon, wines, cheeses, olive oils and much more. Visit the summer Farmers Market on Saturdays and the award-winning local butcher to take advantage and sample some of what the peninsula produces. www.akaroa.com/akaroa-farmers-market
Situated on the eastern side of Banks Peninsula, Fisherman’s Bay is operated by very avid gardeners Jill & Richard Simpson. The 100 hectares of a rugged and dramatic landscape has been transformed into a stunning hillside garden oasis displaying 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. It's also one of the more affordable things to do in Akaroa. www.fishermansbay.nz
If you're still wondering what to do in Akaroa, this magical and breath-taking mosaic garden created by Josie Martin’s is something not to be missed. Mosaic steps, sculptural walls, welded steel sculptures and many other fabulous creations surprise and delight you around every corner. www.thegiantshouse.co.nz
Every two years in October, Akaroa pays homage to its European history through a weekend of Frenchfest celebrations. With a street party on a Friday night, the re-enactment of the French landing, and festival day with market stalls and entertainment on Saturday and into the night; 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! www.bankspeninsulawalks.co.nz
Last on our list of fun things to do in Akaroa is visit the Museum. Akaroa Museam is focused on the history of Banks Peninsula. Its varied collections include archives, art, photography, costume and textiles, taonga and technology. www.akaroamuseum.org.nz