Monday, April 15, 2013

Things to do in Akaroa New Zealand

Recently on our cruise to New Zealand, we dropped anchor in the charming harbour port of Akaroa.  The only French settlement in New Zealand.

In 1838, French Whaler Captain Jean Francios L'Anglois,  purchased Akaroa from the local Maori, concluding that the harbour and a future town, would be an ideal location to service whaling ships.  After acquiring the peninsula and paying a deposit of 6 pounds and agreeing that a further 234 pounds worth of goods would be furnished on the Maori at a later date, he returned to France to advertise for a group of French families to accompany him to New Zealand, with the intention of forming a French colony. 

Unfortunately for L'Angois upon his return in 1840, the Treaty of Waitangi had been signed, declaring British sovereignty over the whole of New Zealand.  The Brits were charmed in this kind of 'diplomacy' in that era.  They beat the French in setting up a colony in Sydney by a matter of days in 1788, as just one other example.  Despite their set back in Akaroa, the French settlers remained in the area and prospered.

Happily for those of us who follow in those French footsteps, they have left their mark on this gorgeous part of New Zealand by way of street names, some lovely colonial style architecture and a very appealing street cafe and food culture.

There is a French influence in the street sculpture too.

There are beautiful alfresco lunch spots

Being just 84km from Christchurch,  Akaroa has become the port of choice for cruise ships, in light of the recent earthquakes in Christchurch, which have devastated that city.

That little white dot is our cruise ship in the middle right of this shot, so you can see it is a fabulously large and beautiful harbour.  Being  surrounded by steep volcanic mountains, also makes the it deep enough to be navigable by ship.  It was necessary to get a tender from the cruise ship over to the town, as there is no port infrastructure for cruise liners.

When we got to shore, we walked up the end of the pier and arranged our own tour.  We took a bus trip around the harbour, stopping at a few points of interest, which cost $AUD100 for the 4 of us.  It was a truly stunning road trip, but the road side drops were a little hairy for the faint hearted.

We found the yacht clubs, as Mr Beach House likes to do wherever we are in the world.  There appeared to be two in this town.

We took in some Saturday afternoon racing

And surveyed some earthquake damage, as we took a little turn about the town of Akaroa.

This war memorial had been fenced off, as some of the stays for the cross' mount had come down in the last earthquake, which hit Christchurch and Akaroa simultaneously.

The cemetery was a completely beautiful place for a stroll, but there was headstone carnage everywhere, which seemed most unfortunate for those who rest here.

Akaroa even has it's own cooking school, which made me wish I was staying longer.  

Cooking classes include meals, wine and recipes.

I popped my head in through the door and the cooking fragrance was sublime.

I just had a look at their website and found this statement.
""We have been named in LONELY PLANET as one of the top 10 places to learn to cook local cuisine in the WORLD!!! We are right up there with Tuscany & Chiang Mai (where the inspiration came to open our school!) - Stoked!"

There are also some fabulously quirky homwares stores in the town  as well.

And then there is the Akaroa light house.  You can climb to the top and check out her history  and the view, but there was a big sign on the door stating that earthquakes could occur at any time, so you entered at our own risk.  Yes, I was a scardy cat and did not enter, after having just crossed the road from our walk in the cemetery,  but nothing happened, so now wish I had been more of a risk taker and made the climb. 

This stunning town was such a beautiful place and we have decided we want to hire a car and drive around NZ one day .  The sweet little French influenced outpost of Akaroa will definitely be on our itinerary for a revisit.   If you want to stay in Akaroa there is some gorgeous inspiration here.

For all my other travel stories have a look here over on my pinterest travel board

For DIYers, don't forget my paint giveaway here
for Australian residents only.

Today I am linked up here
Sunday Showcase


  1. I went to Akaroa years ago. It still looks gorgeous! x

  2. Do you know the name of the road you were standing on in those pics? My great great grandfather and family lived there and built some roads. Long Bay Rd and the Summit Road. He is buried in the cemetery at Akaroa.
    Such a great post. I really enjoyed it.
    Tania xx

    1. Oh TM I wish I had known. I would have put a flower on his grave for you. Such a place of beauty in so many ways.
      Interesting about the roads. Was he of French decent?

    2. no, he arrived just after the French settlers in 1963. He bought a few parcels of land and was a fairly honest citizen from what I can gather. He mingled with the early French settlers like Langlois & Eteveneux etc.

    3. I guess you mean 1863. How very interesting. I am so into family history. Thanks for letting me know about yours.

  3. so pretty! i'd love to go there!!

  4. I have fallen in love with the light house beauful photos-love dee x

  5. I just so enjoyed this New Zealand tour!AriadnefromGreece!

  6. New Zealand is a beautiful country as seen here in your post. I rarely get
    a chance to see photographs of it. Thanks for this wonderful, interesting post.

  7. The summit road is very famous! Travels around banks peninsula above chch. Many a happy afternoon has been spent on that road by us.
    Parts of it are now closed due to the earthquake, but it is a very long road..

  8. Oh wow, great pictures. I would love to travel there. Thanks for taking me along on the trip and for joining Inspire Me. Hugs, Marty

  9. Oh I've been to Akaroa. It's beautiful. I had a great big bowl of NZ green lip mussels by the water. The architecture in the village is gorgeous. So glad you went there.

  10. Oh absolutely stunning, lovely post, really enjoyed it. And it took me back to being there in 1996 with husband and a five months pregnant tummy. We did a great 6 week road trip around NZ.... ahhhh..... I've read about that cooking school and am ready and willing to pop over there for a course any time... in about ten years when not so caught up with kids!

  11. We totally enjoyed our virtual tour of Arakoa. We would love to visit someday. The golden rolling hills actually look like parts of the central coast of California. We looked at the pictures together and I asked my husband what spot it reminded him of and he was spot on with me.

    thanks for me mini vacation

  12. It looks so gorgeous. Thanks for sharing and taking me away on what is a grey Tuesday morning in France!

  13. Beautiful post, made me homesick. The lushness of NZ is amazing, their art always brings a smile to my face, slightly whacky and very original. xxx

    1. So glad to have taken you back there for a moment. NZ certainly punches well above its weight on so many levels. A truly gorgeous country.

  14. Oh, my! SO scenic...what a lovely trip and gorgeous weather. Thanks for sharing these fabulous photos. Looks like you had fun :)

  15. Indeed New Zealand is one of the most beautiful country in the world as I remember it was! I was in Queenstown many years a go. I can never forget the beauty of the country. And I did bungee jumping too.....Would love to go back again.
    Thank you so much.


  16. Hm. I must have missed Akora! I went to a lot of other spots in NZ, but not this one. New Zealand is so beautiful! I hope to go back again some day.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...