Akaroa is an enchanting little town about 90 minutes southeast of Christchurch. And I am in love. When we first cruised into Akaroa’s harbour on our cruise ship, I was already amazed. Akaroa is perched on a beautiful blue bay, with the most picturesque hills creating the perfect back drop. I can clearly remember standing on my cabin’s verandah, smiling at the vista in front of me, and thinking “Are you fucking kidding me?!”
On our tender ride from ship to shore I was looking out the window the entire time, just to make sure I wasn’t imagining the true beauty before my eyes. I climbed off the tender and onto the jetty, and sure enough, it was real. While Akaroa was just our port of call as a gateway to Christchurch, I know I’ll be coming back here and staying for longer than a few hours!
Akaroa is a charming town, with super friendly locals and cute little shops & eateries to explore. There’s plenty of watersports out in the harbour, and plenty of fun to be had ashore. I really recommend driving up to Summit Road, where you can get a stunning view of the harbour.
The drive between Akaroa and Christchurch is wonderful, taking you through the New Zealand countryside. There are a few stops you can make along the way; we stopped at Little River for all-important snacks on our way into Christchurch, and then at Cheskin Orchard & Brian Bay Cheese Factory on our way back. If you’re not driving yourself, I really recommend hiring a private tour operator (particularly if, like us, you’ll be on a cruise ship) so you can make the drive a little more personal and make stops along the way.
Akaroa is a perfect option for a day trip from Christchurch or for a small-town getaway. Either way, you’ll find yourself awestruck by the beauty you’ll encounter here. It’s truly a magical part of New Zealand, and I’m so happy that I was able to experience it!