Introducing Akaroa & Banks Peninsula
Banks Peninsula and its hills were formed by two giant volcanic eruptions about 8 million years ago. Small harbours such as Le Bons, Pigeon and Little Akaloa Bays radiate out from the peninsula’s centre, giving it a cogwheel shape. The historic town of Akaroa, 83km from Christchurch, is a highlight, as is the absurdly beautiful drive along Summit Rd around the edge of the original crater.
Akaroa (‘Long Harbour’ in Maori) was the site of the country’s first French settlement; descendants of the original French settlers still reside here. It’s a charming town that strives to re-create the feel of a French provincial village, down to the names of its streets (Rues Lavaud, Balguerie and Jolie) and houses (Langlois-Eteveneaux). There are also a few choice eateries.
If you’re not in a hurry, it’s definitely worth spending a few leisurely days in the excellent budget accommodations that dot the outer bays of Banks Peninsula. Most accommodation will arrange pick-up in Akaroa.
Akaroa & Banks Peninsula destination guides
Swimming with Dolphins in Akaroa
Make a date with the worlds smallest, rarest and friendliest dolphins only on Akaroa Harbour. There is only one place on the planet where you can swim with Hector Dolphins also known as the New Zealand Dolphin and that is the beautiful sheltered Akaroa Harbour.
Akaroa Swim with Dolphins Tour from Christchurch
Enjoy this full day trip from Christchurch and visit the beautiful unspoiled old French whaling depot of Akaroa. Travel by road to Akaroa via Sign of the Takahe and Sign of the Kiwi, Governors Bay, Gebbies Pass, Lake Ellesmere, Lake Forsyth, Little River and the Hill Top.