Akaroa, New Zealand
Only 75 kilometres from Christchurch on Banks peninsula, is the old historic town of Akaroa, New Zealand with its French and English history. Located in the centre of an extinct volcano, Akaroa Village has many historic buildings, arts and crafts shops, cafes and restaurants.
You could relax on the beach at French Bay, or take one of the cruises on Akaroa Harbour. See the playful Hector's dolphins, the world's rarest dolphin; as well as New Zealand Fur Seal, penguins and other birds.
As you drive to Akaroa from Christchurch, make sure you stop at the ‘Little River Gallery', where there are works from some fine emerging local New Zealand artists. A little further on you can see Barry's Bay Cheeses, which has been making cheeses since the 19th century. Here you can see cheese being made using the finest ingredients, and even taste some samples!
Though Akaroa is quite small, you will find plenty of interesting Arts and Crafts shops, where you can find some very interesting, and boutique artifacts. Look out for the Akaroa Blue Pearls, New Zealand paua shells, gemstones, glassware, jewellery and much more.
Akaroa and Banks Peninsula has many outdoor activities available including hiking, swimming, kayaking, fishing, horse trekking, 4WD nature tours and boating.
Not to be missed is a visit to Linton, otherwise known as ‘The Giants House'. This historic house has a beautiful garden of New Zealand national significance. Both the garden and house are full of surprises!