Not only is Akaroa the only place in the world you can experience dolphin swimming with the world’s rarest and smallest Hector’s dolphin did you also know that Akaroa is the oldest town in Canterbury? Akaroa and the surrounding area is steeped in rich history and it would not be here today without the help of Mother Nature.
The story begins approximately seven and half million years ago when two giant volcanoes erupted. This eruption resulted in the formation of what we now know today as Banks Peninsula. The area was rich in natural resources making it an inviting place to settle. The Maori where the first to inhabit the land, followed by a British and French colony. To this day Akaroa village still has a distinct French flavour and influence and is home to our award winning Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise and Swimming with Dolphins.
The dramatic formation and landscape of Banks Peninsula allows you to experience breath-taking scenery en-route to Akaroa. This wonderful scenery complimented by the charm of the French inspired village has assured Akaroa’s popularity as a unique tourist destination.
Today it is home year round to 1000 people, many of who work in the tourism industry. Akaroa has superb examples of historic homes and there are approximately fifteen gardens within 20 minutes of Akaroa which are open to the public. The area is unique for its heritage roses and micro climates, the popular Akaroa Herb Farm, street scapes and historic churches.
Once in Akaroa there is a wealth of things you can do during your stay. If like us you have the spirit of adventure there are plenty of activities available. Join Black Cat Cruises on one of our award winning trips. We can take you on a Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise or experience the opportunity to Swim with Dolphins. We proudly operate the only dolphin swimming experience with the Hector’s dolphins. Akaroa is the perfect destination for a once in a lifetime dolphin encounter.
Akaroa is also home to a vineyard located near Barry’s Bay as well as a French Farm winery. The French Farm winery has an idyllic setting situated within the alley where the French navy established farms and orchards back in the 1840’s. You will also find horse trekking, sea kayaking, jet ski-ing, paragliding and four wheel farm bike riding, not to mention a wealth of stunning walks in and around the Banks Peninsula area.
There are also plenty of opportunities to enjoy swimming. Akaroa has its own beach and the surrounding Okains and Le Bons bay beaches are often deserted and less than a 30 minute drive through the picturesque rolling hills and country side.
If you need a place to rest your head there are plenty of accommodation options in Akaroa. From boutique hotels, harbour side motels, friendly backpackers and homely bed and breakfasts you’ll be sure to find somewhere. Akaroa also has an excellent holiday park. If you want to a truly rural kiwi experience there is the option of farm stay properties within 20 minutes’ drive and many of these are designated historic homes.
Akaroa also hosts a range of annual events that include French Fest, Le Race, Harbour Swim and Triathlon, the Duvauchelle Agricultural Show and Waitangi Day celebrations at Okains Bay. See www.akaroa.com for more details.