Akaroa, New Zealand | Cruise port of call | CruiseBe
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Akaroa, New Zealand

Akaroa is a charming small town (population 600) on

Banks Peninsula

in Canterbury. It is set on a sheltered harbor and is overlooked and surrounded by the remnants of a Miocene volcano. It is the only settlement founded (1838) by the French in New Zealand and emphasizes the "French connection" in its visitor material.

"Akaroa" is Maori for "Long Harbour". The village is snuggled into a wide bay on the eastern side of the rugged harbor, with Onuku Marae a little further south. Akaroa's harbor is home to an array of wildlife, most notably the rare Hector's dolphin. Cruises and dolphin swimming are popular attractions.

Akaroa, New Zealand

Destination:
Akaroa is a charming small town (population 600) on

Banks Peninsula

in Canterbury. It is set on a sheltered harbor and is overlooked and surrounded by the remnants of a Miocene volcano. It is the only settlement founded (1838) by the French in New Zealand and emphasizes the "French connection" in its visitor material.

"Akaroa" is Maori for "Long Harbour". The village is snuggled into a wide bay on the eastern side of the rugged harbor, with Onuku Marae a little further south. Akaroa's harbor is home to an array of wildlife, most notably the rare Hector's dolphin. Cruises and dolphin swimming are popular attractions.

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Akaroa, New Zealand: Port Information


Akaroa is a tender port for cruise ships anchored in the harbor. Tenders bring passengers to the long shallow-water main wharf in the centre of town. The small town can be easily walked and explored in several hours. On cruise ship days, a free shuttle operates every 15 minutes from the Akaroa main wharf and goes to the centre of Akaroa (Akaroa Visitor Centre) and to the Recreation Ground (end of town). Stops are also possible to The Giants House.

Akaroa is currently the base point for excursions to Christchurch in the absence of the port Lyttleton, which was damaged in the 2011 earthquake. Christchurch city is 1.5 hours drive away. Shuttle Services: Akaroa Shuttle (Red Bus) and French Connection (Cityline) buses to Christchurch leave from the main wharf.

Get around Akaroa, New Zealand


Everything in Akaroa is within walking distance. 
You can use shuttle service to get to  Christchurch or other attractions ( The Giant's House, for example).
There are no commercial taxi companies in Akaroa. However, you can use local tour drivers.

What to see in Akaroa, New Zealand


  • The Akaroa Historic Area, located along the waterfront of Akaroa Harbour, is easily explored by foot. The main axis comprises all of the Rue Lavaud, part of Beach Road, and includes streets and areas to the east of these two principal arteries. The axis of the area runs roughly north and south with the northern end beginning at the junction of the Rue Lavaud with Woodills Road, and the southern end terminating at the Garden of Tane, about a half an hour walk end to end. The eastern boundary of the area includes the L'Aube Hill Reserve and French Cemetery, and Stanley Park. The western boundary is the French Bay, marked by Dalys Wharf at the end of the Rue Balguerie and by the Main Wharf at Beach Rd and Church St.
  • Akaroa Museum, 71 Rue Lavaud (corner of Rue Balguerie). M–F and daily during school holidays 10:30am-4pm. Partially reopened following repair work after the 2011 Canterbury earthquakes. Three heritage buildings - the Langlois-Et eveneaux cottage (early 1840s), the Customs House (early 1850s), and the Court House (1878) - are part of the Akaroa Museum complex. The Long Harbour - a 20 minute DVD - tells of the volcanic origins of Akaroa and its settlement. The permanent collection includes a complete edition of the Akaroa Mail from 1876, nineteenth and twentieth century costume, photographic and family history archives. Free.
  • The Gaiety Hall, 105 Rue Jolie. The façade has Italianate/Classical detailing that is usually executed in stone, but here entirely of wood. It was built in 1879 by of the Oddfellows Lodge. By the late 20th century it had become dilapidated, but a group of three local women took the venerable building in hand. The Gaiety Trust raised more than $300,000 to renovate the building. Wonderfully restored and brought back to life, it is once again a popular venue for community events. The Gaiety is currently closed for earthquake strengthening.
  • Pohatu Marine Reserve at Flea Bay. Take Onuku Rd, then Lighthouse Rd, then Flea Bay Rd. The bay is the centre of the Pohatu Marine Reserve, set aside to protect the natural marine environment. The drive takes about forty minutes, sometimes on steep and exposed shingle roads, and 4WD is recommended. The drive has excellent views back over Akaroa Harbour.
  • The Giant's House, 68 Rue Balguerie. 12PM-4PM depending on season. An artist transformed this historic hillside house with a whimsical garden of sculptures and colourful tiles. Interesting oddities around every corner and good views. 

What to do in Akaroa, New Zealand


  • Akaroa Dolphins cruise, 65 Beach Rd. Daily 12:45pm; summer: also 10:15am and 3:15pm. Two-hour cruise to see Hector's dolphins, fur seals, little blue penguins and other wildlife, and sea caves and volcanic cliffs. 
  • Akaroa Harbour cruise (Black Cat Cruises), 61 Beach Rd or on the wharf. Daily 1:30pm; summer: also 11am and 3:40pm. Two-hour cruise to see Hector's dolphins, fur seals, little blue penguins and other wildlife, and sea caves and volcanic cliffs. 
  • Banks Peninsula Track. Two day or four day hill country walks over a 35-km circular route around remote bays of Banks Peninsula. Starts and ends in Akaroa. The route goes through Onuku, Flea Bay, Stony Bay, Otanerito Beach and Hinewai Reserve. On the way you may see fur seals from a close distance, and plentiful birdlife including penguins, oystercatchers, paradise ducks, geese, bellbirds and many others. Shared accommodation in huts and cottages. At delightful Stony Bay there are private open-air baths where you light a fire underneath to heat the water, as there is no electricity. Self-catering with fully equipped kitchens. There are small shops at Stony Bay and Otanerito Beach, where you can buy your food. Options include private rooms, kayaking and pack cartage on some sections. 
  • Ecoseaker, Dalys Wharf, toll-free: 0800 326 794, e-mail: dolphins@ecoseaker.nz. Oct-Apr, meet at 11:50am. Swim with Hector's dolphins, or you can just watch. The boat takes a maximum of twelve swimmers and gets you close to the dolphins even when you are on board. You may also see marine birdlife, including little blue penguins, and fur seals, and visit sea caves at the base of the volcanic cliffs around the harbour. Hot chocolate and biscuits are provided after the swim. Trip lasts up to 3.5 hours. Wetsuit, mask and snorkel provided. Children must be at least 8 years old. It pays to book as numbers are limited.
  • Swimming with dolphins (Black Cat Cruises), 61 Beach Rd or on the wharf. Report times Sep-Apr 8:30am, 11:30am, 1:30pm, 3:30pm; May 11:30am only. Swimming with Hector's dolphins. Three hours in total, including 2 hours on the water and up to an hour with the dolphins. Wetsuit, mask and snorkel provided. 

What to eat and drink in Akaroa, New Zealand


  • Bully Hayes, 57 Beach Road, Akaroa, ☎ +64 3 304 7533. Open 7 days from 8 am; Long time Akaroa favourite.
  • The Brasserie, 41 Rue Lavaud, Akaroa, ☎ +64 3-304 8585. Open 8:30-4:30 M-W; 8:30-9pm Th-Sun. Lovely garden for outdoor dining.
  • Rona's, 42 Rue Lavaud, Akaroa, ☎ +64 3 3048533. Open Thu-Mon only. Seasonal food a speciality  
  • Harbar, 83 Rue Jolie, Akaroa. Open daily 8:00am-10:00pm. one of the only truly waterfront restaurants in Akaroa.

Shopping in Akaroa, New Zealand


There are many shops with lovely souvenirs in the center of Akaroa. Most shops are open until 5.30 pm. 

Safety in Akaroa, New Zealand


Emergency telephone number: 111

Use your common sense: don't demonstrate your jewelry and other valuables, be polite, avoid remote, isolated places, although you should also avoid big crowds or groups of youth. 

Language spoken in Akaroa, New Zealand


English, Māori, and New Zealand Sign Language are official languages. 

LOCAL TIME

8:04 am
August 26, 2019
Pacific/Auckland

CURRENT WEATHER

5.3 °C / 41.54 °F
light rain
Mon

8.25 °C/47 °F
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Tue

7.55 °C/46 °F
broken clouds
Wed

7.87 °C/46 °F
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Thu

8.35 °C/47 °F
light rain

LOCAL CURRENCY

NZD

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