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Things to do in

Akaroa

Our most recommended things to do in Akaroa

Akaroa Harbour 2-Hour Nature Cruise

1. Akaroa Harbour 2-Hour Nature Cruise

Experience an award-winning nature cruise of Akaroa Habor. Discover wildlife like dolphins, seals, penguins, and other seabirds. Gaze upon giant volcanic sea cliffs and hear about Akaroa's fascinating past.  Travel on a modern catamaran, which is perfect for viewing the natural wonders of Akaroa Harbour. There's lots of room on the two decks for unimpeded viewing and plenty of covered seating for shade and shelter. Inside, for your convenience you'll find a bar and washrooms. Each cruise is fully narrated by your skipper who has extensive knowledge of the nature, wildlife and the history of the harbour. As Akaroa Harbour was a live volcano millions of years ago, there are many spectacular ancient lava flows to be seen. One cliff has a sheer 500-foot face and a fascinating history, while Nikau Palm Gully is the southernmost limit for these tropical palm trees. There is also the incredible Scenery Nook, an amazing pink, purple and red volcanic amphitheater that will take your breath away.

Akaroa: 4WD Safari and Guided Sea-Kayaking Experience

2. Akaroa: 4WD Safari and Guided Sea-Kayaking Experience

Enjoy a memorable sea-kayaking experience from Akaroa with two departure options. No experience is necessary because the trips are run in settled safe conditions by an experienced and knowledgeable guide.  Depart from Akaroa for a scenic drive in a 4WD minivan over the crater rim of the Akaroa volcano to Pohatu Flea Bay. Learn about the region from your local guide and, during the afternoon trip, stop for photo opportunities along the way. Then, it is time to gear up and climb into the double kayaks. Your safety is the top priority and the experience can be mind-blowing with the right sea conditions. Explore the outer coast of Pohatu Marine Reserve and marvel at its spectacular towering cliffs, rock stacks, reefs, and deep sea caves. Flea Bay Island and the impressive island arch can be reached in settled sea conditions. Marvel at the diverse wildlife and marine species such as penguins, seals, various seabirds, and possibly the world’s smallest dolphin.

Akaroa: Pohatu Penguins Scenic Nature 2-Hour or 4-Hour Tour

3. Akaroa: Pohatu Penguins Scenic Nature 2-Hour or 4-Hour Tour

Join a 4WD eco-tourism safari to the spectacular award-winning Wild Side Conservation area. Depart Akaroa for a scenic drive in a 4WD minivan over the crater rim of the Akaroa volcano to Pohatu Flea Bay. Along the way, learn the region's history from your local guide. Stop for photo opportunities with views of Akaroa harbor and the Pacific Ocean. Arrive at a local family's farm where you can meet friendly pet sheep and hand-feed them for a real kiwi experience. In season, monitor nesting sites with your guide and learn about the conservation work done for the largest colony of little penguins on mainland New Zealand. At certain times of the year, you may even see some of the rehabilitation efforts such as supplemental feeding. The extended 4-hour tour includes visits to the spectacular cliff-tops of Akaroa Heads Lighthouse Reserve. You will have more time to enjoy the area with homemade muffins and cakes, and more time to see the native wildlife and to explore Flea Bay. This activity directly funds the conservation work that takes place at Pohatu Bay to protect the penguins.

Akaroa: 3-Hour Guided Sunrise Sea Kayaking Safari

4. Akaroa: 3-Hour Guided Sunrise Sea Kayaking Safari

Experience the best of nature on a 3-hour guided kayak safari from Akaroa town. Venture into an eco-paradise and view wildlife along the way. Stop at a remote beach for refreshments, a swim, or just to explore. After a briefing session at 07:30 the tour heads out on a gentle paddling excursion. After about an hour, you’ll stop for a break at the beach. No experience is necessary for this adventure. It’s easy and fun and suitable for anyone 12 years of age and older! The early morning trip can make for spectacular sightings. The guides say that these are the best trips of the day, as there’s no one around, and it’s just you and nature and your silent kayak. What you’ll actually see on the safari depends on a number of factors, but often guests report seeing cormorants diving, gannets feeding, and fur seals and flippered penguins playing. There have even been sightings of the rare, small Hector’s dolphin. Included in the tour at no additional cost are photos that your guide will take, refreshments, a personal picnic blanket, a remote beach stop for a swim or relaxation, and brief stops on the water to hear about interesting events, and facts about the wildlife and points of interest.

Akaroa: 24-hour Overnight Pohatu Penguin Package

5. Akaroa: 24-hour Overnight Pohatu Penguin Package

Discover the award-winning Wildside of Banks Peninsula and its unique fauna and flora on this 24-hour tour.  Start your adventure in a four-weel drive mini-bus from Akaroa and travel over the crater rim of the ancient Akaroa volcano to the Akaroa Head Lighthouse. Marvel at the scenic reserve that stands on high cliffs and take in the views of the endless Pacific ocean.  Enjoy a self-guided bush walk through Tutakakahikura scenic reserve, an ancient forest with 400 years old native trees to finally arrive at Pohatu marine reserve where you will spend the night. Settle down and use the time to relax. Enjoy safe swimming beaches before your evening penguin tour in season.  The following day you can go on an additional adventure if you would like. Join the sea-kayaking safari and discover the wildlife of the Pohatu marine reserve. See New Zealand fur seals, many species of sea-birds, and the frequent visit of Hector's dolphins. The tour runs from midday to midday but specific departure times can be arranged.

Christchurch: Akaroa & Banks Peninsula Wild Penguin Eco-Tour

6. Christchurch: Akaroa & Banks Peninsula Wild Penguin Eco-Tour

Enjoy a full day adventure taking in the breath-taking scenery of the rugged Banks Peninsula coastline and farmlands. Stopover at scenic lookouts and visit quaint Little River Gallery as well as the award-winning Barrys Bay Cheese factory at Duvauchelles.  The highlight of the day is encountering wild Penguins at Flea Bay, Akaroa on the Banks Peninsula. Discover the penguin colony in their natural habitat at remote Pohatu (the largest Australasian Little Penguin colony on mainland New Zealand). Your tour includes a catered lunch, refreshments, and expert guided tour of the penguin colony by a local family of conservationists. Learn about the area’s rich history, native flora and fauna, and Pohatu’s unique penguin conservation program. Be greeted by the farm's friendly pet sheep and see White-Flippered penguins as the people of Pohatu monitor nesting sites.  If visiting between mid-November and mid-February, you may even be lucky enough to see rehabilitation efforts such as supplemental feedings and swim therapy. Pohatu have been conserving the Little Penguins for over 30 years and have 4 conservation awards for their efforts in penguin conservation, protection, and monitoring. Spending time with Pohatu even helps the preservation of these beautiful birds for future generations. 

Akaroa Harbour 2.5 -Hour Eco Tour by Sea Kayak

7. Akaroa Harbour 2.5 -Hour Eco Tour by Sea Kayak

Experience the natural wonders of Akaroa Harbour by sea kayak on a 3-hour eco-friendly tour. You’ll take in one of New Zealand's most scenic and ecologically diverse natural environments. A highly experienced kayak guide leads each small group (maximum of 8 persons) to ensure a personal, informative, and safe experience. You’ll paddle to stunning remote beaches, where time stands still, and explore inlets and bays and the extinct, sea-flooded volcanic crater that protects the harbor from the open Pacific Ocean. Discover the stunning beauty of Akaroa on the adventure of a lifetime. Your guide will tell you about some of the rarest sea creatures in the world, that live right here!

Akaroa Self-Guided Audio Tour

8. Akaroa Self-Guided Audio Tour

Download a vibrant MP3 self-guided audio tour combined with a fully detailed map of the area of your tour. Nestled on the east coast, the quiet seaside town of Akaroa is best known for its volcanic hills and the dolphins that are found in the bay. In this audio tour, you will enjoy the tranquil setting and the stunning natural views along the harbour and of the Old Lighthouse, learning about its interesting French history at the Akaroa Museum. You will also see the Town Wharf, the Whale Trypots, the War Memorial, the Corner of Lavaud and Balguerie, St Patrick's Catholic Church, the Old French Cemetery, the Giant's House, the French Forecourt, and Rue Jolie. Known as the Paris of New Zealand, this tour will delight and captivate you.

From Christchurch: Helicopter Flight to Akaroa

9. From Christchurch: Helicopter Flight to Akaroa

Embark on a helicopter flight from Christchurch that follows the spectacular rugged coastline until you head inland to Akaroa harbour. The locals will tell you that no trip to the Christchurch area can be complete without a visit to Akaroa, the jewel in Banks Peninsula’s crown. On the way, discover the lush forests and grasslands that run down the hillsides to the azure water of the endless bays, fed by the Pacific Ocean itself. Upon arrival at Akaroa explore its excellent shops, cafés, and restaurants. Early French settlers gave Akaroa its heritage and distinct French feel that is reflected in the names of the streets and local bays.

Akaroa: Electric Mountain Bike and Sea Kayak Adventure

10. Akaroa: Electric Mountain Bike and Sea Kayak Adventure

Make two activities in one day and embark on this great adventure to explore Akaroa.  Jump on the latest model of electric mountain bikes with multiple pedal assist functions and start your ride. Enjoy glorious views and a huge sense of achievement after you have reached the top of the crater. Relax and enjoy the route while your knowledgeable guide is leading the way. Your guide will also take some photos of you during the activity.  After that, the group will change to a sea kayak and paddle through the marine reserve together with the local guide. See the stunning marine reserve from two different and unique perspectives.  Get the best of both worlds as you pedal and paddle your way through this action-packed unforgettable day of adventure in beautiful Akaroa.

Other Sightseeing Options in Akaroa

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What people are saying about Akaroa

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 227 reviews

Easy to book, easy to board, great viewing no matter where you decide to sit. Was a reasonably calm day so our usually queasy traveller was perfectly fine. Really interesting local history and seeing the wildlife was amazing

Great friendly easy going guide, fantastic experience seeing the wildlife including Wetas and Geekos. Even got to feed some young rare lambs

A great trip, our guide was really knowledgeable. We saw lots of seals and some penguins. The drive over was also spectacular.

Informative commentary, comfortable trip with outstanding access to wildlife and natural features

Highly recommended to everyone to do this activity.