The picturesque seaside town of Akaroa was first settled by French colonialists in the 19th century. In a race to claim New Zealand as French territory, they were narrowly beaten to the South Island by the British but decided to stay anyway. And just as well they did – Akaroa has a magical charm thanks in no small part to its distinct French heritage.

Akaroa Peninsula
Situated on the volcanic plateau of Banks Peninsula, Akaroa is approximately 90 kilometers (56 miles) from Christchurch. The winding journey to Akaroa is a beautiful scenic drive that takes just over 1 hour and 15 minutes by road.

Known throughout New Zealand for its French charm and breath-taking scenery, the streets of Akaroa have retained their French heritage and have even kept their uniquely French names. The small township is full of charm, craft shops and a panoramic view of the Akaroa Harbour.

The seaside retreat of Akaroa is a favorite of Cantabrians, who like to escape from the hassle and bustle of the Christchurch city life to Akaroa for a weekend retreat, while couples love it for a romantic getaway.

There is so much to do in Akaroa and if you are visiting just to relax and indulge in the beautiful scenery, there is no other place in New Zealand quiet like Akaroa offering such a distinctly French flavor.

The small township offers everything from horse trekking, 4WD tours, an 18 Hole Golf Course, harbor cruises, kayaking, mountain biking, swimming in the sea, shopping, gardens, relaxing in a wine bar or beer garden or sipping lattes if that happens to be what you desire.

Nearby is the local Maori village of Onuku and if the weather allows why not take a leisurely cycle and see it for yourself or if the thought of that is a little more physical than what you had in mind, try lazing on one of the sandy spots close to the waterfront. It’s all there for you to choose from in Akaroa.

Accommodation in Akaroa ranges from bed & breakfast, backpackers, motels, lodges, holiday rental homes, health retreats, and hotel accommodation, all offering affordable rates.

There are many short tracks situated around the Banks Peninsula, however, if time is not a factor I would recommend the 39km Banks Peninsula Track from Christchurch to Akaroa that offers some of the most amazing scenery Canterbury has to offer.

For any Christchurch tourist, Akaroa is a place not to be missed by any means.