“New Zealand’s Harbor Jewel”
Why Travel to Akaroa, New Zealand?
Akaroa is a charming peaceful town with a magnificent harbor, colorful historic buildings, and unparalleled sights. You can relax and marvel at the beauty that is Akaroa or take a swim with some of the rarest animals in the world.
How Long to Stay in Akaroa, New Zealand?
To explore this little piece of paradise we recommend at least two days. A day for the famous Akaroa Harbor nature cruise and a day to take the scenic drive around Akaroa Summit Road. You could see it all in one-day if you planned accordingly but having at least a couple of days allows you to enjoy everything at a relaxed pace, the way it should be. It will also allow you some time in town shopping (Akaroa is lined with many crafts, shops and restaurants) if that is your thing or if you are looking for a more active adventure, you can swim with wildlife or take a bike or kayak trip.
Top Things to Do in Akaroa, New Zealand
1) Take an Akaroa Harbor Nature Cruise
Cruise around the majestic harbor of Akaroa where you will journey through an extinct volcano crater, admire soaring rock formations, and meet the cutest locals – seals and dolphins.
Akaroa 101: Be sure to take an Akaroa Harbor Nature Cruise
This is an unforgettable experience and was one of our favorite adventures we did on our New Zealand itinerary. It should be noted, that weather can strongly influence how enjoyable this trip is. In fact, some days the ship isn’t able to make it out of the harbor. If it doesn’t make it out of the harbor we don’t think that the activity is worth it so keep your eyes on the weather report and call in to ask about the ocean conditions.
No big deal, we got to drive the boat.
Akaroa Harbor is home to amazing wildlife such as Hectors dolphin (the rarest dolphin in the world), seals, and the occasional whale or orca, while boasting the most incredible coasts, and scouring cliffs.
2) Enjoy the Town and Akaroa Harbor
You can sit and enjoy a tranquil sunset.
Or take a stroll around town to check out the historic buildings.
We were lucky enjoy to stumble upon some live music. As we were strolling the vibrant streets of Akaroa, we heard a live band playing from the main Town Hall – The Gaiety. Thank goodness for our curiosity because we enjoyed hours of entertainment with an international band (for free).
3) Drive Around and Sightsee – Akaroa summit road
There is a nice scenic drive known as Akaroa summit road that is a beautful drive and offers several stop off points such as:
Say hello to all the sheep
New Zealand 101: There are more sheep than humans in New Zealand
(Don’t) get lost…
Okains Bay has a few activities: a sandy beach, a lagoon for swimming and of course walking around. Stop by the cave right off the beach site and swing at the playground.
4) Drive to Christchurch and Visit Quake City
The drive from Akaroa to Christchurch is about an hour and a half. We chose to take this day-trip while we were en-route to our next desination Kaikoura.
Christchurch is the largest city on the South Island. You may also recognize the city from the terrible earthquakes that occurred there between 2010-2011. One of the main attractions in Christchurch is a visit to Quake City, a museum filled with information, stories, and exhibits on the terrible earthquakes.
After the exhibit, we walked around town and noticed the damaging effects the earthquake left. (These pictures are from 2018).
Where to Stay in akaroa, New Zealand
Half Moon Cottage
A lovely, peaceful cottage surrounded by colorful flowers and trees.
What topped it off were the owners excellent hospitality and making a new friend who was one of the few other guests.
Where To Eat in Akaroa, New Zealand
Stop at Murphy’s for fish and chips. If you are looking for local fresh catch of the day, you’ve come to the right spot. Fish is cooked right on site at the food truck.
We highly recommend the Sole fish.
Akaroa Ice Creamery
We discovered some delicious desserts at this ice cream shop.
Akaroa 101: Vegan food and desserts are available in Akaroa. Here they sell Vegan pints of ice cream.
Other Recommendations of Things to Do
These are all adventures that we unfortunately didn’t have time to do on our own but would have considered if we had more time:
- Swim with Hector’s Dolphins (the world’s rarest and smallest dolphins) in their natural habitat. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Nowhere else can you find these endangered animals.
- For the adventure seekers – You can try some kayaking, paddle boarding, biking, hiking, and swimming off the peaceful shore of Akaroa.
Questions For You
- Are you planning on adding Akaroa to your New Zealand itinerary?