Picking my jaw off the floor of my rental car, I arrived in Akaroa in the early afternoon.
Surrounded by awe-inspiring scenery I found myself in a place that could easily be mistaken for a little village somewhere in the south of France. Quant little buildings that house a lovely array of shops, cafes and restaurants flank the main road through Akaroa and speak to the history of this little French settlement, not far to the south-east of Christchurch on New Zealand’s South Island.
On the way to this magical little place, I had found myself driving through some of the most picturesque scenery in the world and imagined myself surrounded by Hobbits and Fairies and all types of mystical creatures. Is it any wonder that our Kiwi cousins are such a happy and welcoming bunch?
A stop off for lunch and a great coffee in a little town called Little River on my way, added to the joy of driving through the Akaroa and Bays region.
Little hidden away wineries, boutique accommodation and a factory famous for making local cheese are just a few surprises you will find on your way through to Akaroa, making the drive in itself a day to remember.
There’s plenty of things to see and do in Akaroa and no shortage of places to stay. Akaroa is the oldest and best-preserved colonial town on the South Island, and its only French settlement.
A visit to the Akaroa Museum provides an insight into the rich history of the area through displays and a short film that help with understanding Akaroa’s past- Maori History, French Settlement and consequent, British Sovereignty.
Akaroa boasts some beautiful walking trails and boat tours that will take you out into the most beautiful harbors in the world. For those who like to brave the waters, some tours will let you swim with the dolphins. Guided walking tours are available for an insider’s look at this beautiful little town.
For me it was a walk around the bay, a meander around the town to check out the beautiful old buildings and an immersion into the local French culture. A serving of “the world’s best fish and chips” taken in the local park overlooking the vista that is the harbor and surrounded by local bird and sea life was the highlight of my stay in Akaroa.
Akaroa is definitely a place to visit if you are planning a trip to New Zealand.
Ooh La La!