A tiny coastal town with a volcano to cycle on and the world’s friendliest dolphins. What more could you ask from a hidden gem than this!

Less than 90 minutes’ drive from Christchurch, you’ll find Akaroa, a picturesque coastal town with a population under 1,000 people. Despite its small size, it really does have a lot to offer and many unique experiences for visitors to discover!

Things to do in Akaroa

The town has a fascinating history with strong Maori, British and French roots which can still be seen in the town today.

One of the most notable incidents in the history of Akaroa happened in 1830 when a British Captain helped a North Island Maori Chief capture the local Maori Chief which led to the fall of the local Maori settlement. The concern about this and other incidents of lawlessness led to the appointment of James Busby as British Resident which in turn led to the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.

French settlers then arrived in the 1840s believing the land had been purchased for them only to find the British had claimed it instead. They were nevertheless granted some land to settle. Akaroa was primarily used as a whaling port and for sheep and dairy farming.

Akaroa Events

As well as the number of great things to see and do in Akaroa, there are also a number of fantastic annual events that take place right throughout the year. If your travel dates happen to coincide with these, it’s a great opportunity to get involved in some community fun!

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