An easy drive from Christchurch, on the Banks Peninsula, the charming township of Akaroa has the unique distinction of being the only French settlement in New Zealand. In 1838 a French whaler, Captain Langlois, decided that Akaroa was an ideal location for a town to service the whaling ships, and it was subsequently settled by French and German families. Akaroa’s French street names, restaurants and historic buildings are their legacy.
Our full day tour begins by driving to Akaroa via Lake Ellesmere, Lake Forsyth and Little River, with a stop at the Hill Top to enjoy panoramic views of Akaroa Harbour. After an included lunch at a popular waterfront restaurant, we embark on a two-hour cruise on board the Canterbury Cat, to explore Akaroa Harbour.
These fertile waters are home to Hector’s dolphins, a small species of dolphin native to New Zealand; there are also penguins and seals to spot.
Following the cruise, we visit Barry’s Bay Cheese Shop and Factory, for a chance to sample some of the finest New Zealand cheeses, before we return to Christchurch late afternoon.
Please note: All Freedom Day descriptions represent a typical itinerary and may not operate exactly as described. Local operators may vary from time to time.