Premium Tours in Akaroa and the Banks Peninsula
With lush volcanic-formed hills, a charming small town with a French flair and surrounding vibrant turquoise waters, Akaroa is a place that deserves a luxurious touch when visiting. Whether you’re exploring Akaroa and the bays for a special occasion or simply prefer to travel in style, these are the luxury activities in Akaroa worth treating yourself to.
1. Take a Scenic Wildlife Cruise in the Akaroa Harbour
One of the highlights of Akaroa, no matter what you’re into, is cruising the Akaroa Harbour. Drift across the vividly blue waters of the crater of an ancient volcano while spotting Hector’s dolphins, little blue penguins and albatross. Cruises have you stopping by grand sea caves and seal colonies too. You have a considerable number of cruises to choose from in Akaroa, but you may find the luxurious option being the small-group tour of Southern Wanderer. In a six-person-maximum tour, you’ll feel like you’re on a private cruise even if you’re sharing with others or book one of their private charters to make that really the case! Alternatively, you might find the larger luxury catamarans of Black Cat Cruises (check them out of Viator and Tripadvisor) or Akaroa Dolphins (Viator and Tripadvisor) more suitable, especially if you are prone to seasickness. See more experiences like this in the 10 Things to Do in Akaroa with Kids.
Location: Tours depart from Akaroa’s Main Wharf, Akaroa town centre.
2. Ride the Quiet Roads of the Banks Peninsula on an E-bike Tour
Should you prefer to explore on land, then why not cycle the Banks Peninsula on an e-biking tour? Akaroa Guided Kayaks (see Viator and Tripadvisor for more info) offers guided and self-guided e-bike excursions with two loops available; either sticking to the coastal highlights or taking on the volcanic loop! With multiple pedal-assist functions, you’ll be able to tackle the hills of the Banks Peninsula with as much ease or difficulty as you like. What’s more, the tours can be combined with coastal kayaking through a marine reserve so you can experience the best of both worlds. Learn more about kayaking in Akaroa in the 10 Romantic Activities in Akaroa for Couples.
Location: 40 Rue Lavaud, Akaroa town centre.
3. Sample Regional Wines on a Boutique Winery-hopping Tour
In the true French spirit of Akaroa, the surrounding Banks Peninsula is home to several boutique wineries. Visit them independently (cellar doors are usually open in summer) or join The Bonjour Wine Tour to visit them without having to worry about choosing a designated driver. Visit Akaroa’s award-winning wineries to sip on a range of varietals in cosy cellar doors and courtyards with unbeatable views of the bays. In between, learn about the Maori and French history of the Banks Peninsula, as well as about its geological formation that contributes to the wines’ unique terroir from your knowledgeable guide.
Location: Wildside Booking Office, 2/8 Rue Balguerie, Akaroa town centre.
4. Tour Akaroa and the Banks Peninsula on a V8 Trike Tour
For adrenaline thrills, blast along the open road and see the sights of Akaroa and the Banks Peninsula on V8 trike tour. Join V8 Trikes for their short-and-hot “Awesome Akaroa” tour spending 20 minutes heading to a secret lookout, exploring the French town and letting loose on the open road. Alternatively, their “Akaroa Adventurer” tour is one hour, incorporating aspects from the formerly mentioned tour, as well as navigating the winding scenic roads of the Banks Peninsula. Note that these tours are only available in Akaroa on cruise ship days, which are listed on the New Zealand Cruise Association website.
Location: Taxi stand opposite the Main Wharf, Beach Road, Akaroa town centre.
5. Dig Deeper into the Past, Present and Future of Akaroa on a Guided Tour with The Seventh Generation
Don’t just see a place; experience a place. With that, The Seventh Generation tours will give you the most in-depth and educational experience possible on their culture and history tour of the Banks Peninsula. Join a seventh-generation direct descendent of one of the first French settlers of Akaroa as she helps you gain a deeper understanding of the Polynesian, French and British history of the area. Learn about the conservation efforts of the local farmers, all the while touring the peninsula and discovering its hidden gems. A variety of small-group and private tours are available.
Location: Pick-ups available from Akaroa accommodations.
6. Indulge at the Local Restaurants and Bistros
Experience the best element of the French culture available in Akaroa; the cuisine! The Little Bistro offers bistro-style cuisine with a focus on fresh organic produce in an intimate setting. Ma Maison is one of the worst-kept secrets in Akaroa, boasting cuisine reflective of the region and history with European and Polynesian staples with a contemporary twist. Finally, for a break from French cuisine, experience the Pacific Indian flavours of Mandala and its range of Asian fusion dishes, from curries to scallops to a menu from the wok, all beautifully presented. For more restaurant recommendations, see The Foodie Guide to Akaroa.
Location: The Little Bistro – 33 Rue Lavaud. Ma Maison – 2 Rue Jolie. Mandala – 40F Ruye Lavard.