Akaroa is one of New Zealand’s first European settlements and has a rich Maori and French history. To understand the fascinating history don’t miss the Akaroa Museum and the Okains Bay Maori & Colonial Museum in Okains Bay. Quaint old colonial cottages and fine examples of early architecture abound.
NORWEGIAN JEWEL NEW ZEALAND CRUISE – FIFTH PORT AKAROA
After calms seas overnight we woke to a glorious sunrise at Akaroa, meaning “Long Harbour” in Maori, is an old whaling township situated on the Banks Peninsula, south-east of Christchurch. Akaroa is a small town with French and British colonial history, nestled among hills and the Akaroa Bay.
Tip: Did you know that there is a waterfall in Akaroa? Enjoy walking, but short on time? Well this is the perfect de-tour for you. Try the Newton’s Waterfall walk, departing from Aylmer’s Valley Road. It’s a pretty easy 10-minute walk to the waterfall which flows all year round.
Tip: Did you know that the Lighthouse has been in Akaroa for over 40 years? It is now run by dedicated volunteers. The best time to visit is on Sundays from 11am-2pm or on cruise ship days. Have a look at this historic building; all it takes is a 10 – minute walk from Akaroa town along the water and through the beautiful nature. And make sure to take a picture in or around the lighthouse to remember the beautiful historic building.
With a population of less than 700 residents, quaint doesn’t even begin to describe it. Akaroa Village has many historic buildings, arts and crafts shops, cafes and restaurants. During your stay in Akaroa, you can enjoy a boat ride around this harbor, stopping to take in the natural beauty and snap picturesque photos.
Tip: Picture perfect The Ōnuku Marae has been around for centuries and has been involved in some significant and historic events including the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. Want to see the real culture of New Zealand ? Then take a visit to the Ōnuku Marae. The Ōnuku Marae is located 5.2km away from the township and is a 9-10-minute walk along the coast and through the trees.
Many tourists come to Akaroa just to view Hector’s Dolphins, which is a small species of dolphin found exclusively in New Zealand. The peninsula is also known for Blue penguins (smallest of all penguins) and seal colonies. Since there are little predators or natural dangers to New Zealand’s wildlife, you often have an excellent chance of seeing them in their natural setting. In fact, New Zealand has often been called the “Seabird capital of the world” due to the number of species that live there or breed along its coasts.
Tip: An absolute Akaroa treasure. If you want to find out more about the fascinating historical French township of Akaroa and the history of Banks Peninsula. Its varied collections include archives, art, photography, costume and textiles, taonga, and technology.You can also learn about what buildings are heritage buildings, and they provide a research service. With it being open from 10:30am – 4:00pm during the winter and 10:30am – 4:30pm in the summer months you can come and visit 363 days a year for free.
Tip: Interested in a little free fudge tasting or a delicious piece of cheese? Head to Pot Pourri to try some cream and butter fudge. Pot Pourri is located just as you come into Akaroa on the right-hand side after the playing field. They hand make a variety of fresh delicious fudge daily and offer a complimentary tasting before you buy.
We didn’t book any tour for Akaroa and waited for the herds of touring people tendered for their trips to see Christchurch, wineries and Dolphins Tours. Later we headed off the ship to the shore, which boasted beautiful boutiques, jewellers and galleries. With the delightfully sheltered French Bay dividing the retail area of town into two, it’s was a pleasant stroll between the two shopping areas sited between the recreation ground and the main wharf. It was only just over 1 km from one end of the town to the other so we took a leisurely stroll there and back so Kim could search out a souvenir of her Akaroa visit. We took our time and enjoyed the sights as we wandered along the waterfront and we made sure we peeked around the corners for the hidden gems.
Tip: If you are more interested in the cheesy side of things then you must stop off at the Barrys Bay cheese factory to try some traditional handcrafted cheese. Local New Zealand cheese, made by local people…they’ve been handcrafting cheese’s for over 120 years.
We thoroughly enjoyed our trip to Akaroa and were glad to have finally experienced another really beautiful part of New Zealand. For us Akaroa was rated first in Ports we visited in New Zealand. Akaroa is a tiny coastal town with a volcano to cycle on and the world’s friendliest dolphins. What more could you ask from a hidden gem than this! Sometimes when you travel, it’s refreshing to visit a place like Akaroa. We personally can’t recommend it enough.
Check out our time in Akaroa:
Day 8 on the cruise the Entertainment was:
Velvet is a nightclub, a state of mind, a fantasy. Inspired by Studio 54, famous for wild parties and non-conformity, a culture of acceptance blind to color, creed, class and given to wild abandon. The Jewel Production Cast present Velvet, and amalgam of Variety and Concert forms – sheer entertainment set to a blistering disco soundtrack.
Karaoke Blast with Cruise Staff
Everyone belting out their favorite tunes in the Bliss Lounge.
Diva Fever with Prism
Prism played tribute to music of the most notable Divas.