NZ's only French settlement

Akaroa Harbour. Photo: asgw

The South Island’s oldest town, Akaroa boasts more than just a hint of French charm; this picturesque seaside town is New Zealand’s only French settlement. It has some of the country’s best preserved architecture and a beautiful harbour and bays.

The Akaroa Museum is a great place to explore the colourful history of Akaroa and Banks Peninsula, with displays ranging from local Maori history to French history, with whaling, sawmilling and costume exhibitions.

The Akaroa Harbour is a marine playground, perfect for a cruise or sailing trip. Various cruise options are available, from exploring the harbour to viewing or even swimming with Hector’s dolphins.

Sea kayaking in the harbour is also a good way to discover the best of Akaroa.

Dotted around the harbour’s edge are various beautiful beaches and secluded bays, great for a swim or just relaxing on the sand.

Where to stay


What to do in Akaroa

  • Go sea kayaking in the harbour
  • Look out for the rare Hector’s dolphins
  • Explore the town’s histor at Akaroa Museum
  • Take a tour of the town’s historic sites
  • Enjoy a meal at one of the town’s many fine cafes

More info


Getting there

  • From Christchurch by road: 84km