Akaroa cruises destination information
|Akaroa itinerary and upcoming sailing dates|
|Jan 4, 2020||New Zealand Discovery, 14 nights||from $2640|
|Jan 7, 2020||New Zealand, 11 nights||from $3779|
|Mar 2, 2020||New Zealand, 12 nights||from $3271|
|Jan 14, 2020||New Zealand, 10 nights||from $2887|
|Jan 18, 2020||New Zealand, 12 nights||from $4132|
|Mar 27, 2020||New Zealand, 11 nights||from $2794|
|Jan 18, 2020||New Zealand Discovery, 14 nights||from $2080|
|Mar 10, 2020||New Zealand, 13 nights||from $6774|
|Nov 6, 2020||Kiwi Adventure, 13 nights||from $3787|
|Jan 27, 2020||New Zealand, 12 nights||from $3274|
|Dec 11, 2019||Australia and New Zealand, 11 nights||from $923|
|Jan 12, 2020||New Zealand, 14 Night||from $3918|
|Jan 13, 2020||Australia and New Zealand, 10 nights||from $1419|
|Feb 23, 2020||New Zealand, 14 nights||from $5691|
|Dec 21, 2019||Australia and New Zealand, 14 nights||from $2189|
|Feb 11, 2020||New Zealand, 13 nights||from $3763|
|Dec 19, 2019||Fly Stay Australia and New Zealand, 2 Nights Hotel and 14 Nights Cruise||from $2160|
|Feb 12, 2020||New Zealand, 13 nights||from $4250|
|Feb 29, 2020||New Zealand, 10 nights||from $3181|
|Nov 17, 2020||Kiwi Explorer, 10 nights||from $2222|
The Stunning Main Port of Akaroa
Akaroa, nestled on the shore of Akaroa Harbour on Banks Peninsula, New Zealand, is a beautiful spot only 75 km from the city of Christchurch. In contrast to the rest of the country's British heritage, Akaroa's first European settlers were french.
The charming little village with craft stores and cafes is easily explored on foot, and you can still find many traces of its gallic roots in signs around the place and the names on gravestones in the cemetery. The Harbour is ringed with sheltered bays, and the harbour, formed from an ancient volcano, offers many options for fun, of which the most popular are sailing and swimming with the resident Hectors dolphins.
Tender Port - Wheelchair access limited and some mobility may be required to board tenders.
Cruise Port: What to do in Akaroa
Many ships call in to Akaroa as an alternative to Christchurch, but it is well worth the visit for its own merits - and if you prefer small towns and natural attractions to city life, it would be the obvious choice when choosing itineraries. Christchurch is 1.5 hours from the town.
There is something for all walks of life in Akaroa. Some cruise passengers might enjoy just taking in the history, French influence and cafe culture of the lovely waterfront town, while others can dive right into water sports, wildlife encounters and other activities.
Due to its small size, Akaroa is a tender port. This means that ships anchor offshore in the sheltered harbour and ferry passengers ashore in tender boats to the shallow water pier which gives direct access to the centre of town. Easy!
If you haven't already picked up some New Zealand Dollars by the time you arrive in Akaroa, there are a few ATMs where cash can be taken out, and the BNZ on Rue Lavaud has currency exchange facilities available on weekdays.
Most bigger restaurants and shops in New Zealand, Akaroa included, will accept credit cards, but it's always a good idea to have some cash available just in case. Tipping is not expected or customary.
Local life and language
â€œLaid backâ€ and â€œfriendlyâ€ are two terms commonly used to describe New Zealanders, especially those in the South Island! This is a generalisation of course, but one which makes it easy to get around in any Kiwi port. Don't be afraid to politely ask for help or directions if you need them.
Akaroa is a little different to the rest of New Zealand in that the French language still has a bit of a hold there - it was once a French colony and has held on to this heritage. It is not spoken by many inhabitants but there are street names and the occasional sign in French. English is the primary language, and the only other one you might encounter in signage is Maori, the lovely language of the native people of New Zealand.
What to do in Akaroa
Despite its small size, Akaroa township has plenty to keep a tourist busy for a relaxing day of pottering around. There is always a craft market happening when ships are in port, and a farmer's market each Saturday morning from October to April. There is a small but very interesting museum which tells the story of Akaroa, a mini golf course, cafes, shops, and some short walking tracks around the town including a one-hour one which takes you through the historic cemeteries.
The dolphins in Akaroa harbour are a huge drawcard for visitors, and it's no wonder - the mammals which frequent the waters are primarily Hector's Dolphins, the smallest and one of the rarest dolphin species which is found exclusively around New Zealand. There are several companies which will take visitors to swim with them or just enjoy watching them from safely onboard.
Get on the water
Akaroa's harbour is beautiful, and there are plenty of ways to enjoy it besides swimming with the dolphins. Try a guided kayak safari or hire a SUP and get in a bit of a workout - alternatively, harness the power of the wind and get onboard a sailboat for a harbour cruise. Speed demons might prefer a jetboat tour.
Explore the surrounds
The rolling hills around Akaroa Harbour are prime for exploration. One way to experience them is with a farm tour, offering a peek into rural life on the Banks Peninsula. Another great option is to put some hiking boots on and take to the hills. Check out the Banks Peninsula Walks website for a range of great tracks from and around Akaroa, ranging from ten minute strolls in town to half-day hikes.
Organised vs. self-guided
It's always the big question: to book an excursion through your cruise line, or go it alone? In Akaroa, both are perfectly viable options. There is not much in the way of public transport beyond some taxis, so if you are planning to head further afield it can be a good idea to book a tour, be it through the cruise line or independently - just make sure that you get back in good time if it's not a line-sanctioned tour! Local operators will be very familiar with the time restrictions.
On the other hand, if you're happy to stick close to town and partake in activities like dolphin tours, browsing shops and cafes, walking, playing mini golf, taking in some history and generally enjoying the ambience, there's no need to sign up to anything. Take your time and take in Akaroa at your own pace!
Many lines and operators offer tours that will take you over and around Banks Peninsula to see the sights, perhaps calling into a few Canterbury farms and other highlights. These kinds of tours are a good overview of the pretty region and great for those who want to leave the water behind for a few hours.
There are more critters than just dolphins to be seen during a visit to Akaroa, although they are certainly a highlight. Other options offered by various lines include visits to the International Antarctic Centre in Christchurch and its penguins, wildlife cruises in the Akaroa Harbour and farm visits.
Christchurch and the TranzAlpine
Many lines will offer transfers to Christchurch for independent sightseeing there. They also will take cruise passengers to join the TranzAlpine railway from Rolleston or Arthur's Pass, a scenic train trip into the Southern Alps which offers some of those quintessential stunning New Zealand vistas.
Cruises visiting Akaroa
However you choose to spend your time in Akaroa, take the time to enjoy this beautiful harbour town and the surrounding region. The unique culture and wildlife are an opportunity not to be missed!
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