This is a Tender Port. Ships tender to the long shallow water pier in the center of town, a small settlement, settled originally by the french in 1838 and architecturally full of beautiful Victorian Villas The small settlement can be easily walked and explored in several hours with plenty of cafes and restaurants to savor. This is currently the base point for excursions to Christchurch in the absence of the port Lyttleton which was destroyed in the 2011 earthquake.
Christchurch city is 1.5 hours drive away.
Watch a destination video.
The name Akaroa is Kai Tahu Maori for "Long Harbour", which would be spelled "Whangaroa" in standard Maori.
Just 85 kilometers from the city of Christchurch, New Zealand, Akaroa is a historic French and British settlement nestled in the heart of an ancient volcano. The town is small, only 600 population.
Explore the village with its colonial architecture, craft stores, and cafes. Relax in the sun at French Bay, or find a secluded beach of your own in one of the neighboring bays. Head out onto the harbor, where scenic, fishing, and wildlife encounter cruises are available.
Breathe in Akaroa's serene, mystical and romantic ambience. Wake to the sound of bellbirds and watch the joyous swooping of the wood pigeons. Smell the lavender and the heritage roses. Watch for walnut and oak trees planted by the first settlers.
There will be tour operators at the jetty.
Rosemary Lyons who operates this local taxi will be offering a free service around Akaroa on cruise ship days. The loop trip operates every 15 minutes from the Akaroa main wharf and goes to the center of Akaroa (Akaroa Visitor center) and to the Recreation Ground, (end of town). Stops are also possible to The Giants House.
Many Hector's Dolphins may be found within Akaroa harbor, and 'swim with the dolphins' boat tours are a major tourist attraction.
The harbor's edge is home to plenty of activities for those who prefer to stay on dry land. Enjoy farm, outer bay or seal and penguin colony tours or visit one of the neighboring surf beaches.
It pays to compare your cruise line tours here.
Pohatu Penquins Tour the largest Australasian Little Penguin colony on mainland New Zealand. Only 30 minutes driving distance south of Akaroa Harbour.
Enjoy the boutiques, galleries, and shops of Rue Lavaud, Beach Road, and Church Street. Visit the wharf to see the beauty of the paua pearl display and handcrafted jewelry.
The New Zealand dollar is used in New Zealand. A few traders do accept foreign currency, particularly in tourist destinations. The conversion from US dollars to NZ dollars is approximate US$1=NZD1.30.
Automatic teller machines (ATMs), locally known as 'the hole in the wall', are available in just about every town.
English, Maori and New Zealand Sign Language are the official languages of New Zealand. English is universal, and is written with Commonwealth ("British") spelling.
The emergency telephone number in New Zealand is 111.
Many public libraries have public Internet access. Generally there is a charge.
Holidays in New Zealand
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