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Akaroa has a diverse range of activities to suit most tastes and ages. After the abrupt disruption to the port of Lyttleton in February 2011, Akaroa Harbour on the opposite side of Banks Peninsula was pressed into service the cruise ships who needed a gateway to Canterbury. It was short notice and unlike many ports on the cruise schedule the Akaroa community had little experience in catering to the ships.
Passengers have embraced the positive aspects of the dramatic harbour and surrounding peninsula and have been pleasantly surprised by the beauty, the ambience and the activities on offer.
Repeatedly we have heard that it isn't another chain store town and that is so very attractive to the discerning traveller. Of course there are always those who are looking for the golden arches and that coffee! Rest assured the coffee in Akaroa is as good as anywhere and the cafe and restaurant food is fresh and local. If it's a hankering for the chain stores then Akaroa will be disappointing.
Unlike Lyttleton, Akaroa is not an industrial port. It has a few small boats, mainly fishing and tourism activities, operating from the main wharf. It is a tender port and as such offers an experience that almost all other New Zealand ports don't.
With a range of quality independent restaurants and cafes, local wines, cheeses and produce, wildlife and abundant nature experiences, dramatic scenery, eclectic community and unique tours, it is well known as the jewel in the crown of Christchurch.
Passengers disembarking at Akaroa have many options ranging from excursions organised aboard the ships to an abundance of wildlife and other onshore activities and tours.
With A Classic Ride, the only Honda GoldWing sidecar tour in New Zealand, swimming with the world's smallest dolphin, nature cruises to see seals, penguins, dolphins, sailing, the award winning Barrys Bay Cheese, time can be well spent in and around the town. Other activities include trying our famous Akaroa Fish and Chips, beautiful walking tracks in and around the town and surrounding area, Okains Bay Museum, The Akaroa Museum and more.
And of course, guided and self guided historic tours of the French colonial village give an insight into the early French settlers and the history of the area. Akaroa welcomes visitors with open arms and we hope you will enjoy whatever you decide to do.
Some people loved Akaroa so much on their cruise visit they have already returned to stay. At Matua Gardens Retreat we have been lucky enough to host some of these people and give them so much more than a fleeting glimpse of the tranquility & peace of Akaroa.
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