Spend some time exploring fast-changing and funky Christchurch, expand your horizons with a side tour to Akaroa – a French settlement known for its interesting history, harbour trips and wonderful food.
Return to Christchurch for a night before you head for the mountain village of Arthur’s Pass. Walking tracks in this area will introduce you to New Zealand’s native tree species and a variety of birdlife. The journey back to Christchurch takes you through a series of friendly country towns, where it’s easy to find a good café.
To truly explore the wider Banka Peninsula area take the scenic route from Christchurch round to Akaroa. Depart Christchurch and drive through the tunnel to Lyttelton. The town was damaged from the seismic events of 2011 but it is still buzzing with quirky bars (Wunderbar is not to be missed) and community projects, like the public sauna in the centre of town and the not-to-be-missed Farmers Market on Saturdays.
Carry on the Governors Bay Road round to Akaroa; but be sure to stop at She Chocolat on the main road in Governors Bay. She Chocolat offers brunch, lunch and nibbles but make sure you try one of their legendary hot chocolates or sweet treats. The scenery also adds to the magic of this place. Continue around Banks Peninsula on Chateris Bay Road and take in the scenery of the stunning hidden bays.
On arrival in Akaroa you will notice this village has a certain French flair with street names, restaurants and colourful characters reflecting the early French settlement. Enjoy dinner at one of charming restaurants in the township. Little Bistro is a firm favourite for an intimate and delicious dinner.
Visit the Akaroa museum and beautifully restored historic cottages. Harbour cruises provide a chance to meet dolphins, penguins and fur seals. There are plenty of accommodation options in Akaroa but to truly appreciate the local’s spirit try one of the B&B’s.
Start in Christchurch
Christchurch city promises an eclectic mix of historic elegance and contemporary culture. As the gateway to the South Island, it's a must on any itinerary.
End in Akaroa
The most French town in New Zealand, Akaroa will have you entranced with its historic buildings, magnificent harbour and passion for fine food.
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