A beautiful blend of French culture in New Zealand - a day in Akaroa is a must-do when touring the Christchurch area. Quaint French named streets, colonial architecture, and boutique shopping nestled along the picturesque Akaroa Harbour, the unique experiences and activities in and around Akaroa is well worth a one day visit.
Self-drive or shuttle bus options
It’s an easy and beautiful 1.5-hour drive from Christchurch with plenty of delicious cafes and scenic viewpoints along the way.
You also have the option to book with a bus shuttle that operates daily from Christchurch to Akaroa direct to give you plenty of time to explore the charming township for the day.
Get an early start and head towards Christchurch in the morning and enjoy spectacular views of the Lake Ellesmere along the way.
Coffee + art
If you’re looking for a coffee break or a spot of morning tea, the Little River Café and Art Gallery is a great foodie spot that’s only 40 minutes from Christchurch conveniently situated along State Highway 75.
From NZ fine art to NZ made gifts and keepsakes, you’ll be surprised at the unique collection of local art including sculptures, jewellery and contemporary prints onsite.
Must-stop Hilltop lookout
About 10 km from Little River, you’ll reach the renowned Hilltop Tavern with a stunning viewpoint that encompasses the Banks Peninsula, the sprawling beautiful bays below and learn a little bit about the history of this ancient volcanic landscape.
Adorable alpacas in Akaroa
Probably one of the happiest places on earth, Shamarra Alpaca is nestled on the top of Wainui Main Road and is home to over 160 incredibly cute and very photogenic alpacas. Daily tours are at 10am, 12pm, 2pm, 4pm and bookings are essential so make sure you plan ahead.
Meet local celebrities Rising Sun, Austin, Mikado and Equador and get a chance to feed and take a photo with these cuddly creatures! Tours include a guided walk around the private farm, a visit to the onsite shop where you can buy a range of beautiful alpaca fleece blankets, wraps, scarves and beanies as well as enjoy a beverage and homemade cookie at the end of your visit.
Barrys Bay Cheese Factory
Calling all cheese lovers, make sure to stock up on some local, award-winning cheese before you head back to Christchurch. Just 4km up the road from Shamarra Alpaca Farm, Barrys Bay Cheese has been producing traditional handcrafted cheese since 1895. From cold smoked Pohutukawa red cheddar to creamy Peninsula Blue, to award-winning Havarti, this is a must-stop for cheese lovers and learn a bit about the local dairy history.
The perfect place to explore by foot and enjoy a meal before heading back to Christchurch. Favourites include Ma Maison, The Wharf and Bully Hayes, all serving up fresh local cuisine and conveniently located for a stroll along the stunning waterfront. Akaroa Harbour is also abundant with marine wildlife with harbour cruises available for dolphins, penguins and fur seals encounters.