Akaroa is a pretty little coastal town about an hour’s drive from Christchurch. Situated on a harbour in Bank’s Peninsula, it’s the only New Zealand town to have been settled by the French. This is reflected in the architecture and street names.
Akaroa Museum, set in a suitably historic building, gives an interesting treatment of the local history from the earliest Maori settlement in the area. You can also take a tour of the Barry’s Bay cheese factory, in operation since 1895.
Many of Akaroa’s tourist activities centre around the sea. You can swim in the harbour with the endangered Hector’s dolphin, or take one of many tours of the harbour to watch the dolphins, penguins and seals. The Fox II is an historic ketch that you can help crew on.
Akaroa is also home to the Giant’s Garden and Tree Crop Farm, for those whose tastes run more to land than sea.