Akaroa isn’t just the only place in the world where you can swim with the world’s rarest and smallest dolphin; it’s also a treasure trove of history and culture. Located just ninety minutes from Christchurch, Akaroa holds the distinction of being Canterbury’s oldest town. Its existence today is a testament to Mother Nature’s majesty.
Both the quaint township and the expansive harbour of Akaroa sit within the embrace of the Banks Peninsula. This popular tourist haven, also a beloved “batch” destination, is a mere scenic drive away from Christchurch.
Dominating Akaroa’s skyline is an ancient volcano from the Miocene era. This once mighty crater now forms the harbour, offering breathtaking views and serving as a playground for the playful dolphins.
In 1840, French settlers became the first Europeans to call Akaroa home. The town retains a distinct French flair, from its charming street names to historic buildings, and businesses that celebrate its Gallic roots.
History also recalls a pivotal moment when an incident involving the English in a Māori conflict resulted in the sacking of Takapuneke, east of present-day Akaroa. This set the stage for Britain’s appointment of James Busby, aiming to establish order, and eventually leading to the Treaty of Waitangi.
Akaroa beckons with an array of experiences: pristine beaches, world-class hiking trails, diverse wildlife, delectable local cuisine, and quaint shops.
Today, our Akaroa Nature Cruise stands as New Zealand’s top wildlife activity, while our Swimming With Dolphins experience ranks as the nation’s ultimate bucket-list activity. Notably, Lonely Planet lauds it among the world’s Top 10 Marine Mammal Activities.Swimming with Dolphins Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise