Akaroa

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Our most recommended things to do in Akaroa

  • Akaroa Harbour 2-Hour Nature Cruise

    1. Akaroa Harbour 2-Hour Nature Cruise

    Experience an award-winning nature cruise of Akaroa Habor. Discover wildlife like dolphins, seals, penguins, and other seabirds. Gaze upon giant volcanic sea cliffs and hear about Akaroa's fascinating past.  Travel on a modern catamaran, which is perfect for viewing the natural wonders of Akaroa Harbour. There's lots of room on the two decks for unimpeded viewing and plenty of covered seating for shade and shelter. Inside, for your convenience you'll find a bar and washrooms. Each cruise is fully narrated by your skipper who has extensive knowledge of the nature, wildlife and the history of the harbour. As Akaroa Harbour was a live volcano millions of years ago, there are many spectacular ancient lava flows to be seen. One cliff has a sheer 500-foot face and a fascinating history, while Nikau Palm Gully is the southernmost limit for these tropical palm trees. There is also the incredib...

    Everything was good, but as a disabled person, it was difficult to get on/off the boat. When I did get on, the only real option for me to sit was at the stern (outside) and I didn't see as much of the sea life as others. It was a bit chilly at times and it would've been very difficult to get inside. However, the other people in my group (7 of them) really enjoyed the trip and probably would've given you 5 stars.

  • Akaroa: Swimming with Wild Dolphins 3-Hour Experience

    2. Akaroa: Swimming with Wild Dolphins 3-Hour Experience

    Swim with the endangered Hector’s Dolphin, the world’s rarest and smallest oceanic dolphin. On New Zealand’s ultimate dolphin experience, you’ll have the chance to see and swim with Hector's dolphins close up, in the wild.  Check-in at Akaroa’s main wharf and meet the friendly crew who will provide you with a warm wetsuit, mask, snorkel, booties, gloves, and a hood if necessary. Climb aboard the jet-powered catamaran and cruise out into the sheltered harbor. The highly trained crew will give you a safety briefing and explain how to interact responsibly with the dolphins.  With only 12 swimmers permitted per vessel, you’ll have a greater chance of seeing the dolphins up close. Gear up and slip into the tranquil harbor waters to join the dolphins their natural habitat. The covered vessel has no propellers, making it safer for you and the dolphins. Warm up in the heated cabin or take a ho...

    Very well organsied, great safety briefing and clear instructions. We swam with about 8 dolpins and a Royal Albatros landed in the water near our group which was an extra bonus to see such a large majestic bird so close.

  • Akaroa: Pohatu Penguins Scenic Nature 2-Hour or 4-Hour Tour

    3. Akaroa: Pohatu Penguins Scenic Nature 2-Hour or 4-Hour Tour

    Join a 4WD eco-tourism safari to the spectacular award-winning Wild Side Conservation area. Depart Akaroa for a scenic drive in a 4WD minivan over the crater rim of the Akaroa volcano to Pohatu Flea Bay. Along the way, learn the region's history from your local guide. Stop for photo opportunities with views of Akaroa harbor and the Pacific Ocean. Arrive at a local family's farm where you can meet friendly pet sheep and hand-feed them for a real kiwi experience. In season, monitor nesting sites with your guide and learn about the conservation work done for the largest colony of little penguins on mainland New Zealand. At certain times of the year, you may even see some of the rehabilitation efforts such as supplemental feeding. The extended 4-hour tour includes visits to the spectacular cliff-tops of Akaroa Heads Lighthouse Reserve. You will have more time to enjoy the area with homema...

    These people are the most dedicated to wildlife that we have met. Their knowledge enguins is first class and at the end of the two hour trip we were still at the bay and rescued a penguin that had come ashore and was in serious trouble that would have died but for their intervention. They then took it to the vet in Christchurch. We had a great 2 hours ( nearly 4 ! ) and recommend everyone to go and suport them.

  • Akaroa: 4WD Safari and Guided Sea-Kayaking Experience

    4. Akaroa: 4WD Safari and Guided Sea-Kayaking Experience

    Enjoy a memorable sea-kayaking experience from Akaroa with two departure options. No experience is necessary because the trips are run in settled safe conditions by an experienced and knowledgeable guide.  Depart from Akaroa for a scenic drive in a 4WD minivan over the crater rim of the Akaroa volcano to Pohatu Flea Bay. Learn about the region from your local guide and, during the afternoon trip, stop for photo opportunities along the way. Then, it is time to gear up and climb into the double kayaks. Your safety is the top priority and the experience can be mind-blowing with the right sea conditions. Explore the outer coast of Pohatu Marine Reserve and marvel at its spectacular towering cliffs, rock stacks, reefs, and deep sea caves. Flea Bay Island and the impressive island arch can be reached in settled sea conditions. Marvel at the diverse wildlife and marine species such as penguin...

    It was beautiful to be on the water in the kayaks that were easy to paddle. The scenery and wildlife spectacular. The guides were fun friendly and informative in all aspects of the trip.

  • From Christchurch: Helicopter Flight to Akaroa

    5. From Christchurch: Helicopter Flight to Akaroa

    Embark on a helicopter flight from Christchurch that follows the spectacular rugged coastline until you head inland to Akaroa harbour. The locals will tell you that no trip to the Christchurch area can be complete without a visit to Akaroa, the jewel in Banks Peninsula’s crown. On the way, discover the lush forests and grasslands that run down the hillsides to the azure water of the endless bays, fed by the Pacific Ocean itself. Upon arrival at Akaroa explore its excellent shops, cafés, and restaurants. Early French settlers gave Akaroa its heritage and distinct French feel that is reflected in the names of the streets and local bays.

  • Akaroa Day Tour with Harbour Cruise from Christchurch

    6. Akaroa Day Tour with Harbour Cruise from Christchurch

    Enjoy a day trip to Akaroa, a charming township nestled in an inner harbour bay of Akaroa Harbour on the Banks Peninsula. The tour begins with pick up from your Christchurch hotel. Head out along the road to Akaroa via Lake Ellesmere, Lake Forsyth, and Little River. Pause at the Hill Top to experience panoramic views of Akaroa Harbour before heading into town. The township contains a host of historic buildings, craft and gift shops along with a multitude of idyllic photo opportunities. An optional lunch is available at the popular Bully Hayes restaurant nestled in the naturally picturesque setting of Akaroa Village. After lunch, enjoy a nature cruise that will showcase the delights of Akaroa Harbour. Keep a lookout for dolphins, penguins, and seals!  On your return journey to Christchurch, stop at the Barry’s Bay Cheese Factory to sample some fine New Zealand cheese. Your tour conclud...

    Picked us up in a comfy van. Very knowledgeable guide with amazing time management. Shout out to Grahams! Get to see some dolphins and seals and truly enjoyed the lunch given. Ordered blue cods and salmons and breads for starters. Perfect weather. Managed to walk around after lunch. All in all, 10/10. Really worth it!!

  • Akaroa: Pohatu Little Penguins 3-Hour Evening Experience

    7. Akaroa: Pohatu Little Penguins 3-Hour Evening Experience

    Join the tour from Akaroa for a scenic drive by a 4WD minivan over the crater rim of the Akaroa volcano to Pohatu/Flea Bay. Listen as your guide shares with you the history and unique wildlife of Akara. Stop for photo opportunities where you can gaze across Akaroa harbor and enjoy stunning views of the endless Pacific Ocean. On arrival, walk around the colony to monitor nesting sites, collect data, and make sure that the birds are doing well. Spot the penguins undisturbed, socializing on the water, and with darkness falling, a very high likelihood of some returning to shore. Binoculars and camouflage gear are provided to maximize viewing abilities. Darkness will signal the end of the activity, as artificial lighting disturbs the birds so is not used. At certain times of the year, you may even see some of the rehabilitation efforts, such as supplemental feeding.

  • Akaroa Harbour 3-Hour Eco Tour by Sea Kayak

    8. Akaroa Harbour 3-Hour Eco Tour by Sea Kayak

    Experience the natural wonders of Akaroa Harbour by sea kayak on a 3-hour eco-friendly tour. You’ll take in one of New Zealand's most scenic and ecologically diverse natural environments. A highly experienced kayak guide leads each small group (maximum of 8 persons) to ensure a personal, informative, and safe experience. You’ll paddle to stunning remote beaches, where time stands still, and explore inlets and bays and the extinct, sea-flooded volcanic crater that protects the harbor from the open Pacific Ocean. Discover the stunning beauty of Akaroa on the adventure of a lifetime. Your guide will tell you about some of the rarest sea creatures in the world, that live right here!

    We had a wonderful tour with Jake. He gave clear and thorough instructions at the beginning and made sure we all understood. He helped us all individually get situated properly in the kayak. On the tour Jake talked about birds, sea life and geology of the area as he pointed out examples. It was all quite interesting and easy to follow. We patiently followed some dolphin activity and was rewarded with one popping up between our kayaks. Jake kept a close eye on everyone to make sure we were safe and having a good time. We recommend this tour and also recommend Jake as a guide.

  • Akaroa Self-Guided Audio Tour

    9. Akaroa Self-Guided Audio Tour

    Download a vibrant MP3 self-guided audio tour combined with a fully detailed map of the area of your tour. Nestled on the east coast, the quiet seaside town of Akaroa is best known for its volcanic hills and the dolphins that are found in the bay. In this audio tour, you will enjoy the tranquil setting and the stunning natural views along the harbour and of the Old Lighthouse, learning about its interesting French history at the Akaroa Museum. You will also see the Town Wharf, the Whale Trypots, the War Memorial, the Corner of Lavaud and Balguerie, St Patrick's Catholic Church, the Old French Cemetery, the Giant's House, the French Forecourt, and Rue Jolie. Known as the Paris of New Zealand, this tour will delight and captivate you.

    This was a nice overview of the city and its history. Make sure you visit the Giant’s House. Well worth it!!! Unbelievable.

  • Lyttelton Shore Excursion: Twin Harbors (Lyttelton & Akaroa)

    10. Lyttelton Shore Excursion: Twin Harbors (Lyttelton & Akaroa)

    From Lyttelton, the tour travels around the inner bays of Lyttelton Harbour, Corsair Bay, Cass Bay, Rapaki and Governor’s Bay. You'll then travel over Gebbies Pass and onto the Akaroa Highway stopping on route at Birdlings Flat. Birdlings Flat is a shingle beach at the tip of Banks Peninsula, affording great views of this rugged southern coastline. After you will stop at the Akaroa hilltop which affords a magnificent view of the entire Akaroa Harbour and fantastic photo opportunity. On arrival in Akaroa, join the Canterbury Cat for a two-hour nature cruise on the Akaroa Harbour. This full commentary cruise of the spectacular harbor features a host of marine life. You will normally see the rare and endangered Hector’s Dolphins, New Zealand Fur Seals and the Little Blue Penguin, as well as a number of native marine birds that populate this coastline. Following the cruise, there will be ti...

Frequently asked questions about Akaroa

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What people are saying about Akaroa

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 188 reviews

The tour was excellent nice drive out to Akora and our driver gave good commentary stopped at little river for a look around and a coffee, only disappointment was the harbour cruise was cancelled due to weather conditions so cannot blame tour company for that, instead he took us to the Giants house and a drive off the beaten track to view the fantastic harbour from high ground.

Picked us up in a comfy van. Very knowledgeable guide with amazing time management. Shout out to Grahams! Get to see some dolphins and seals and truly enjoyed the lunch given. Ordered blue cods and salmons and breads for starters. Perfect weather. Managed to walk around after lunch. All in all, 10/10. Really worth it!!

It was beautiful to be on the water in the kayaks that were easy to paddle. The scenery and wildlife spectacular. The guides were fun friendly and informative in all aspects of the trip.

Great overall experience. On time went longer than to two hours, great commentary.

Very beautiful a calm sunny day and plenty of interest