Yellow flower bushes in a scenic view of the ocean bay in Akaroa, New Zealand
FRENCH VILLAGE, NEW ZEALAND-STYLE

Cruise to Akaroa, New Zealand

The small town of Akaora is the most French-inspired spot in all New Zealand. This was the first and only French settlement on the island — on the Akaroa Village Walks, you can discover the quaint shops, cafes and restaurants with architecture reminiscent of a French countryside town, as well as historic cottages adorned with roses. Then, get to know Akaroa's other side: ocean adventure. Cruise to New Zealand and head to Akaroa Harbour, where you can kayak or swim in the placid waters alongside Hector's dolphins, the rare species of small dolphins that inhabit the waters of the Banks Peninsula. Or trek out to Hinewai Reserve and hike up volcanic Stony Bay Peak, where you'll get great views of the peninsula and the village below.
National Language English
Currency Accepted New Zealand Dollar (NZD)

Things To Do in Akaroa

Hector's dolphins swimming in the ocean of New Zealand

Find Hector's Dolphins

Hector's dolphins swimming in the ocean of New Zealand

Hector's dolphins swimming in the ocean of New Zealand

Find Hector's Dolphins

Hector's dolphins are native to New Zealand — you'll see them nowhere else in the world. To see them, book a tour of Akaroa Harbour on a catamaran or a six-sailed ketch, or get out on the water in a kayak. You'll likely see penguins and seals on your trip too.

Alpaca's in Akaroa, New Zealand

Meet Cute Alpacas

Alpaca's in Akaroa, New Zealand

Alpaca's in Akaroa, New Zealand

Meet Cute Alpacas

Shamarra Alpacas Farm has a host of fluffy alpacas and a wide field that overlooks Akaroa Harbour. Get up close to take photos of their friendly faces, and later, handle their ultra-soft fleece. There's a shop if you want to buy something to keep you warm in New Zealand's ever-changing weather.

A couple on an organic wine takamutua tasting in the vineyards of New Zealand
A couple on an organic wine takamutua tasting in the vineyards of New Zealand

Takamutua Tasting

Sample organic wines at Akaroa Winery with views out to the Akaroa Inlet. Here, the winemakers practice sustainable growing and production techniques. Many of their wines resemble fruit-dominant California vintages and are very age-worthy. Top wines are a Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir; sample their Chardonnay, Reisling and Gewurtztraminer, too.

Braised short ribs with vegetables
Braised short ribs with vegetables

Local Cuisine

In keeping with its character, Akaroa offers a wealth of French-inspired eats. Fill up with a ham and gruyere croissant from a bakery in the town center before you start your day's adventure. For dinner, tuck into locally raised beef short ribs served with sweetbreads, baby carrots and truffle jus. Or head to Akaroa Fish and Chips for their namesake dish — they're well-known as one of the best fish-and-chip shops around.

A collection of jewelry made of New Zealand's paua shells
A collection of jewelry made of New Zealand's paua shells

Shopping

Arts and crafts are the thing to shop for in Akaroa. Little River Gallery has great selections. Pick up jewelry made from New Zealand greenstone or paua shell is available at Fire & Ice, or take home an unset stone from Hettie's Rock and Crystal Shop. Jump onboard a Akaroa cruise and look for products made from local Alpaca wool or clothing made with traditional Maori designs.

Insider's Tips
Insider's Tips
1 A dolphin excursion aboard a sailboat or kayak means a great experience even if the dolphins are shy that day.
2 Watch for both white-flippered penguins, native to Canterbury, and little blue penguins.

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