Plan a Luxury Trip to Akaroa and the Banks Peninsula
Over the hill from Christchurch is a whole new world; a refreshing landscape formed by volcanic activity surrounded by fluorescent waters unlike anywhere else in the South Island. With a bustling township with a rich French and Maori history, it’s a representation of what New Zealand could have been if the French got there first… The colonial history, however, is only a fraction of the highlights of Akaroa, as its local residents also consist of the world’s smallest species of dolphins and penguins, as well as the largest species of seabirds.
Akaroa is more than just the town, as the surrounding area known as the Banks Peninsula is a complex labyrinth of hills and hidden bays. Find out some of the most premium ways to discover them, as well as find listings for luxury stays, in this luxury travel guide to Akaroa.
Premium Tours and Experiences in Akaroa
- Take a scenic wildlife cruise of the Akaroa Harbour
- Ride the deserted roads of the Banks Peninsula on an e-bike tour
- Sample regional wines on a boutique winery-hopping tour
- Tour Akaroa and the Banks Peninsula on a V8 trike tour
- Dig deeper into the past, present and future of Akaroa on a guided tour with The Seventh Generation
- Indulge at the local restaurants and bistros.
For more details on each experience and their locations, see the 6 Luxury Activities in Akaroa.
Luxury Adventure Activities
What are the most premium options when it comes to outdoor adventures in Akaroa? We all find luxury in different aspects of travel, but one of the highlights, no matter what style of trip you’re looking for, is cruising the Akaroa Harbour.
Drift across the vibrant blue waters of what washes into a crater of an ancient volcano while spotting Hector’s dolphins, little blue penguins and albatross. You’ll stop by grand sea caves and seal colonies too. While you have a considerable number of cruises to choose from in Akaroa, one of your most luxurious options is that with Southern Wanderer. In a small-group six-person maximum tour, you’ll feel like you’re on a private tour even if you’re sharing with others. They also offer private charters. Alternatively, you might find the larger luxury catamarans of Black Cat Cruises (check them out on Viator and Tripadvisor) or Akaroa Dolphins (Viator and Tripadvisor) more suitable, especially if you are prone to seasickness.
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 tackle the hills of the Banks Peninsula with ease. Their tours can be combined with coastal kayaking through a marine reserve.
And for something a little unique, blast along the open road and see the sights on V8 trike tour. Join V8 Trikes for either their short-and-sweet “Awesome Akaroa” tour spending 20 minutes heading to a secret lookout, exploring the French town and letting loose on the open road, or their “Akaroa Adventurer” tour which is a one hour navigating the winding 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.
Want more premium tours? See the 6 Luxury Activities in Akaroa.
All-weather Luxury Activities
If the weather turns, it doesn’t have to put a damper on your luxury retreat. In fact, when it rains, the wineries pour! What’s more, they are made easy to experience with The Bonjour Wine Tour. Visit Akaroa’s award-winning boutique wineries in between learning about the area’s Maori and French history, as well as geological formation from your knowledgeable guide. Sip on a range of varietals in cosy cellar doors and courtyards with unbeatable views of the bays.
Whatever the weather is doing, your local guide from 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 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.
For more rainy day inspiration, see the 10 Things to Do in Akaroa on a Rainy Day.
Fine Dining in Akaroa
Experience the best aspect of France while visiting Akaroa, the cuisine, at Akaroa’s French-inspired eateries. One of the most elegant dining options is The Little Bistro (33 Rue Lavaud). Sample bistro-style cuisine with a focus on fresh organic produce in an intimate setting.
With bi-fold doors opening up to views of Daly’s Wharf and the Akaroa Harbour, Ma Maison (2 Rue Jolie) is an endearing restaurant and one of the worst-kept secrets in Akaroa. The cuisine is reflective of the region and history with European and Polynesian staples with a contemporary twist.
Finally, experience the Pacific Indian flavours of Mandala (40F Ruye Lavard), should you want to sample some alternative flavours. Enjoy a 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.