To get to Akaroa & Banks Peninsula you have to make a decision to go there. It’s the end of the road. It’s not on a main tourist route and not everyone will find it for that very reason.
If you are into best kept secrets this is the one for you.
It’s not one of those little gems you just happen to stumble across on your way to somewhere else. It’s off the beaten track yet only just over hour from CHC. “Another world” and “paradise” are words often applied by visitors. The mayor called it the "jewel in the crown of Canterbury".
SH75 the main Christchurch Akaroa Highway is the main route in although there are alternatives via Lyttleton Harbour & Port Levy. SH75 meanders around the base of the extinct peninsula volcanoes, past the vast & impressive Lake Ellesmere which is separated from the Pacific Ocean by Birdlings Flat & Kaitorete spit where the surf pounds & the sunsets are breathtaking; through Little River where the art gallery is a must see and so begins the seemingly long & winding road to the Hilltop where a choice of routes to Akaroa becomes available.
Take the left road via the summit to access the outer bays of Little Akaloa, Pigeon, Okains & Le Bons or head on down to the harbour via Barrys Bay (a stop at the cheese factory is always a good idea) and on around the harbour to Akaroa township where choices abound. The first major one is whether to relax or get active or both.
A web of walking tracks from the short & gentle to rugged day & multi day; sailing, surfing, rock climbing, cycling, kayaking and swimming with dolphins all cater to those who want to expend some energy.
For people who like to explore, Banks Peninsula has a multitude of adventures waiting to happen. From hands on action to soft option tours the ways of discovering the unique wildlife and diverse scenery are many and varied.
If it’s romantic relaxation that’s required there are plenty of opportunities for great food & wine experiences, massage and pampering, movies, galleries, shopping, or simply take a picnic & rest in the shade of one of the gorgeous native bush reserves.
From a base in or near Akaroa a smorgasbord of experiences awaits. Relax at the Matua Gardens Retreat described by guests checking out today as “enchanting”. With glorious sea and bush views, fabulous food & wine, pampering and privacy it’s up to you whether you get some exercise in the surrounding hills or take it easy on the deck overlooking the sea. Or for a bit of a thrill take a ride with A Classic Ride Honda Goldwing & sidecare tours or a Model A excursion.
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