All-weather and Indoor Activities in Akaroa
Akaroa might have a reasonably dry climate in comparison to elsewhere on the South Island of New Zealand, but it’s still in New Zealand… That means that rainy days come and go, so if you get caught in New Zealand “French town” on a rainy day, don’t let it put a stop to your holiday. Check out the all-weather and indoor activities in this list of things to do in Akaroa on a rainy day!
1. Check Out the Akaroa Museum
While it might seem like an unimaginative suggestion, going to the museum on a rainy day is actually an interesting thing to do in Akaroa. The Akaroa Museum is set across the historic Langlois-Eteveneaux cottage, Akaroa Court House and the Custom House, featuring well-presented exhibitions about the early Maori, the transformation of the natural environment made by pioneers and explains why the town is a “French” town. What’s more, the museum is free to visit. See more like this in the 10 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Akaroa.
Location: 71 Rue Lavaud, Akaroa town.
2. Visit the Okains Bay Museum
And if the Akaroa Museum wasn’t enough, there’s also another option in Okains Bay! You’ll find the Okains Bay Museum just a short and scenic drive from Akaroa. Check out historically significant Maori and early European artefacts. See waka (canoes) in the waka shed, meander from the blacksmiths to the gun room, and learn about the Banks Peninsula’s wildlife of the past and present. There’s a small admission fee for adults. Kids get in free! See more like this in the 10 Things to Do in Akaroa with Kids.
Location: 1146 Okains Bay Road, Okains Bay, approximately 20km (12 miles) from Akaroa town centre.
3. Discover All the Picturesque Churches
A rainy day in Akaroa is also a good opportunity for a road trip around the Banks Peninsula to see all its picturesque churches! Start with St Patrick’s Catholic Church set amongst the backdrop of bush-clad hills, then the historical St Peter’s Anglican Church is also worth a quick look – both of which are located in Akaroa town. Then hit the road to Little Akaloa to admire the Maori carvings imprinted into the stone walls of St Luke’s Anglican Church. Plus, don’t miss the wooden Maori carvings and the cutest church with a sea view at the Onuku Church.
Location: St Patrick’s Catholic Church – 29 Rue Lavaud. St Peter’s Anglican Church – 10 Rue Balguerie. St Luke’s Anglican Church – 8 Lukes Road, Little Akaloa, approximately 25km (16 miles) from Akaroa town centre. Onuku Church – Onuku Road, approximately 4km (2 miles) from Akaroa town centre.
4. Embark on a Wine Tour
In the true French spirit of Akaroa, the surrounding area is home to several boutique wineries, including Meniscus Wines, The Akaroa Winery at Takamatua Valley Organic Vineyards and French Peak Wines. Either visit the wineries independently (cellar doors typically open between Labour Day and April) or let someone else worry about being the designated driver on a guided wine tour with The Bonjour Wine Tour. See more experiences like this in the 6 Luxury Activities in Akaroa.
Location: Meniscus Wines – 43 Lighthouse Road. The Akaroa Winery – 59 Long Bay Road, approximately 4km (2 miles) from Akaroa town centre. French Peak Wines – 79 French Farm Valley Road, French Farm, approximately 16km (10 miles) from Akaroa town centre.
5. Swim with the World’s Smallest Dolphins
As long as the sea conditions aren’t too rough, which they tend not to be in the sheltered waters of the Akaroa Harbour, then there’s no reason not to enjoy a dolphin-swimming cruise in the rain. Swim with the world’s smallest species of dolphin, Hector’s dolphins, on one of the fantastic dolphin-swimming tours in Akaroa. You have several options to choose from, including Black Cat Cruises (check them out of Viator and Tripadvisor), EcoSEAker and Onuku Farm Hostel. All provide wetsuits and snorkel gear, as well as instruction on how to interact with the dolphins in a safe and ethical way.
Location: Black Cat Cruises – Departs from the Main Wharf, Beach Road. EcoSEAker – Departs from Daly’s Wharf, end of Rue Balguerie. Onuku Farm Hostel – 89 Hamiltons Road, Onuku, approximately 6km (4 miles) from Akaroa town centre.
6. Try Award-winning Cheese at Barrys Bay Cheese
If you’re a bit of a foodie, make sure you stop by Barrys Bay Cheese on the way to or from Akaroa. Sample handcrafted award-winning New Zealand cheeses, with some favourites being Havarti, Maasdam, Aged Gouda, Rinded Cheddar and Peninsula Blue. Watch the cheesemakers in action (on weekdays) through the viewing window of their factory shop, where you can also pick up local wines, craft beer, preserves and more. See more experiences like this in the 6 Things to Do in Akaroa for Foodies.
Location: 5807 Christchurch Akaroa Road, Duvauchelle, approximately 13km (8 miles) from Akaroa.
7. Get Inspired at the Akaroa Art Gallery
Although mainly open during the warmer months, the Akaroa Art Gallery is still a good go-to on those wetter summer days. Formerly the Orion Powerhouse Gallery, this art gallery has ever-changing exhibitions showcasing the works of artists of the Banks Peninsula and beyond. See artists’ impressions of Akaroa’s landscapes, wildlife and more. The gallery is typically open between October and May.
Location: 1 Rue Pompallier.
8. Dine on French Cuisine and Seafood at Akaroa’s Restaurants and Cafes
As French cuisine and seafood are highlights of this little town, a rainy day or evening could be the ideal time to sample the flavours for yourself. One of the French highlights includes The Little Bistro offering Akaroa’s closest thing to fine dining. You can also pick-up French treats or dine in at the Sweet As Bakery or French pate from La Boucherie & Deli. Grab some super fresh fish and chips from either Murphy’s On The Corner or Akaroa Fish and Chips and take it back to your accommodation. Breakfast, lunch or coffee meet-ups are best done at the cute Peninsula General Store set among a quirky grocery store, while end-of-the-day drinks are best enjoyed at the trendy HarBar Beachfront Cafe. See more recommendations and links to even more recommendations in The Foodie Guide to Akaroa.
Location: The Little Bistro – 33 Rue Lavaud. Sweet As Bakery – 63 Rue Lavaud. La Boucherie & Deli – 67 Rue Lavaud. Murphy’s On The Corner – 7 Church Street. Akaroa Fish and Chips – 59 Beach Road. Peninsula General Store – 40E Rue Lavaud. HarBar Beachfront Cafe – 83 Rue Jolie.
9. Watch New Zealand’s Biggest Gap Year
If all else fails, you can always get some inspiration for your next epic New Zealand activity by watching New Zealand’s Biggest Gap Year on YouTube. Watch as the team behind NZ Pocket Guide take on 365 Days: 365 Activities in New Zealand! Make sure to subscribe.