Welcome to Banks Peninsula, home of The Hector’s dolphins and eco-tourism pioneers Black Cat Cruises

Tag Archives: things to do in akaroa

Akaroa Valentine – The perfect Valentines Day date….

akaroa vineyard

Wondering what to do for Valentines day? With Valentines Day being this Thursday we got to thinking what could be a truly romantic date in Akaroa that was sure to impress….

Read on below and check out all of the links to some of Akaroa’s best spots!

PRESENTS

Firstly let’s talk presents! 🙂 Why not surprise your other half with a dolphin swim or cruise? A sure fire way to do something unique and rather special. Take in the sights of as you cruise along an extinct volcanic crater and get up close to one of the world’s most endangered and rarest dolphin, the Hector’s dolphin. After all it’s about making amazing memories right?

akaroa swimming with dolphins
Image from Black Cat Cruises

FOOD AND VIEWS

For lunch how about a picnic hike to a spot with views over the harbour?
Take a picnic basket packed with some lovely wine from the Takamatua Valley Vineyard and some lovely fresh Akaroa salmon from the butchers. Work up an appetite hiking up one of the many Banks Peninsula hills and then sit back and soak it all up as you feast on your delights!

akaroa romantic escape
Image courtesy of Christchurchnz.com

A TIPPLE

After lunch what about enjoying a wine tasting experience at Meniscus?
We can recommend heading up to Meniscus Wines to taste some of their beautiful local wines that they have in store for you. Offering Riesling, Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris vines including various vintages it’s the perfect place to share a bottle….again with some stunning views, just check out the pictures below!

akaroa vineyard and wine tasting
Photo credit meniscuswines.co.nz
akaroa vineyward and wine tasting

GOURMET EVENING

For dinner consider booking a table at the renowned and intimate Little Bistro – be warned that with limited seating bookings should be made in advance. It’s a very popular spot, and for a very good reason!

akaroa restaurant

Or….

Another wonderful restaurant to consider is the laid-back Rona’s. Since it’s opening just last year it’s been receiving rave reviews described as a real foodies paradise. Seasonal ingredients are locally sourced and dishes are paired with local wines.

akaroa restaurant

GET ACTIVE

If you’re still up for adventure before you both hit the hay a really cool experience now available in Akaroa is to night sup!

Yes paddle boarding on Akaroa Harbour at night….you can even share a board together.

Check out their website for more details.

akaroa paddle boarding

SLEEP

We have two accomodation suggestions, both a little quirky and different….

To end the day off, spend the night at Tree Crop Farm in one of their Lovers Retreats.

As self described on their website – which is worth checking out…”The Romantic Retreats at Tree Crop Farm in Akaroa on the Grehan Valley stream, have a 20 year reputation for their picturesque arcadian setting and the wood fires, candles, flowers, late sleep-ins, hot baths outside under the stars and the dawn chorus from who knows how many thousands of birds at day break ” It’s a shoe in for a romantic night away! Just check out the pics and we’re sure you’ll be hooked….

Akaroa accomdation at tree crop farm

Or….

One of the latest additions to the peninsula are the beautiful Te Wepu pods. Situated on the western side of Akaroa Harbour the extensive property affords panoramic views of Akaroa Harbour, Onawe Peninsula and French Farm Valley. Enjoy a hike on the farm of simply sit in the hot tub and relax with your loved one as the sun goes down. Sounds pretty perfect to us!

akaroa accomodation at te wepu

Banks Peninsula Beaches – Our pick of beautiful beaches in and around the Peninsula

With the weather hotting up for the next week ahead we thought we’d share with you our pick of beautiful Banks Peninsula beaches.

We think of Banks Peninsula as one of New Zealand’s natural treasures. With it’s abundance of bays and beaches we are spoilt for choice when it comes to finding a place to swim, relax and have some summer fun.

On the doorstep of Christchurch yet remote enough to feel you’re a million miles away here’s our pick of some the best Banks Peninsula beaches to visit this summer….

 

Taylors Mistake Beach

Taylors Mistake is one of the coolest little beaches in Christchurch that arguably sits at the start of the peninsula. The story is told that it is named after Captain Taylor who ran his boat and crew aground during the night when he its believed he was passing over the Sumner bar.  Others argue that he thought he had found Lyttelton harbour and was most surprised when the boat became beached. Bizarrely just six years later another Captain Taylor also ran aground in the same bay. Originally it was called Vincent Bay

The beach is very popular with surfers as it usually gets a more powerful waved than neighboring Sumner and so it’s great beach to come to for a swim, surf, body board or to simply catch up with friends and get a nice tan.

Taylors Mistake has a great set of volunteer lifeguards that patrol the beach in the summer months over the weekend.

The beach itself is cradled between the port hills so a beautiful setting for a day out

There are some fantastic mountain bike tracks in these hills and you may even spot para-gliders floating down from above.

You can also do a couple of fantastic coastal cliff walks either the Godley Head track on the right-hand side (as pictured)  and the Taylors Mistake Track on the left-hand side where you can walk back to Sumner. Just remember to take a bottle of water and slap some sunscreen on!

 

Photo credit – @wanderlist_diary

 

Sumner Beach

Sumner Beach is another lovely beach in Christchurch….bordering that of the peninsula and Taylors Mistake it’s definitely worth adding to the list! A top tip is to head out for sunrise or sunset, and watch from above Cave Rock! Amazing views, and you can skip the busy traffic on hot summer days.

It’s a lovely long open beach affording views of the Southern Alps and sometimes even the Kaikoura peaks hiding in the distance. As Sumner is a good sized open beach it’s great for a game of cricket or volleyball with friends or family.

There are some fab cafes and bars in Sumner which make it a great place to visit during the day or later on as the sun sets. It does get quite busy in the summer holidays when the suns out, but being only approximately 20 minutes from the city centre it’s an easy place to get to.

You can even take your dog to Sumner, however they are only allowed off the leash under effective control in a a certain area so please read the signs carefully.

Sumner is also being patrolled by volunteer lifeguards during the summer months over the weekend.

Photo credit – @wanderlist_diary

 

Tumbledown Bay

Tumbledown Bay is a small little bay, 1 hour and 15-minutes out from Christchurch via Little River. It’s a steep drive down to the bay on a dirt road so a four wheel drive is recommend. The views however on the drive over are spectacular, possibly some of the best when discovering the Banks Peninsula beaches.

Tumbledown Bay is generally a quiet bay so a nice spot to relaxing and enjoy the beautiful scenery, the beautiful ocean and the nice walks around the bay. If you are lucky you might see some Hector’s Dolphins swim by. Tumbledown Bay has small sets waves so it’s good if you want to learn to surf or just a nice swim.

Photo credit – @wanderlist_diary

 

Akaroa Beach

Akaroa Beach is a nice small tidal beach that is in the centre of the Akaroa township.

Akaroa is a just 90-minute scenic drive from Christchurch. With many things to do in Akaroa it’s nice to end the day with a nice swim and a jump of the pontoon. Bring a bucket and spade for the kids and simply take a good book and relax.

You might even be in luck and see some friendly little Hector’s Dolphins come say, “hello”.

Check out our recent blog about Ten Free Things To Do In Akaroa for some further inspiration.

Photo credit @wanderlist_diary

 

 

Hickory Bay

Hickory Bay is a fantastic place to go surfing. Being one of the larger Banks Peninsula beaches a 4WD is recommended for the drive down into the bay where you can park your car at the bottom and then take a foot track to the beach itself.

A nice wide beach with waves ranging between 1 – 12 metres in height, it is the perfect spot.

Or if you are feeling adventurous you can hike over to the bay from Akaroa and then hike back again.

Hickory bay is approximately 1 hour and 46-minute drive from Christchurch.

Photo credit @wanderlist_diary

 

Corsair Bay

Corsair Bay is a small little sandy / pebbly bay just passed Lyttelton.

With its close proximity to the city, in the summer the bay can often be packed with kids and adults alike.

The kids have got places to jump off from into the water, including the pontoon that sits in the middle of the bay or you can go for nice short walks around either side of the bay.

Pack a picnic, paddle board or grab some fish and chips from Lyttelton on the way and enjoy just one of the little gems the peninsula offers.

Photo credit @wanderlist_diary

 

 

Le Bons Bay

Le Bons Bay is a bay approximately 1 hour and 38-minutes’ drive from Christchurch.

It’s a truly lovely bay on Banks Peninsula with lots of other bays surrounding it so you could visit a few in a day whilst you drive along the scenic summit road.

Le Bons Bay is a bay where you can play in the river that is connected to it and where you can bring your swim stuff to and go for a nice cool swim.

 

Okains Bay

Okains Bay is probably best known by the locals as a great camping spot. It also has a wonderful safe beach ideal for all sorts of family activities.

It’s well known for the Okains Bay Maori and Colonial Museum which contains over 3,000 Maori items.

There is also a general store which dates back to 1873 and is still in operation today. Be sure to grab an ice-cream before you head to the beach!

It’s only approx a one and a quarter hours drive from Christchurch and 22km from Akaroa.

Check out the Okains Bay campsite website for more details https://okainsbaycamp.co.nz/

 

Cass Bay

Cass Bay is another little bay just around the corner from Lyttelton, so pretty easy to access from Christchurch.

Residents of Cass Bay have the spectacular views out over Lyttelton Harbour and towards Quail Island.

Cass bay is another lovely bay to visit in the summer with the kids or with your family or friends.

Bring the kids down to the water or the playground or take them for a nice walk around the bays.

Photo credit @wanderlist_diary

 

 

Magnet Bay

Last on our list of beautiful Banks Peninsula beaches is Magnet Bay. Another surfer’s paradise where you can catch some great waves. A boulder beach so be prepared….the scenery is worth the trip though

Just under an hour and a half’s drive from Christchurch it’s a great spot to check out.

A neighbour to Tumbledown Bay you will pass through Little River along the way.

Not recommended for complete beginner surfers as you have to walk out over the boulders to reach the water and the surf can get quite big.

Photo credit @wanderlist_diary

 

 

We hope we’ve inspired you to visit one of these beautiful Banks Peninsula beaches…share your snaps with us if you do by tagging @blackcatcruises We’d love to see your adventures in our local back yard!

Akaroa – 10 Free Things To Do!

akaroa beach

That’s right, a whole list of free awesome things to do in Akaroa!

akaroa waterfall
Newton’s waterfall in Akaroa
This summer there’s a whole heap of fun to be had on the peninsula. From family fun, scenic escapes or a road trip with your mates, Akaroa can cater to you all. Of course when you visit we recommend an Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise or a Swimming With Dolphins experience, but hey, Akaroa is full of fantastic gems and we want to share some of these with you.
So if you’re planning a trip to Akaroa soon and want some recommendations than read our pick of 10 free things to do in Akaroa while you’re there….

1. Newton’s Waterfall

Did you know that there is a waterfall in Akaroa? Enjoy walking, but short on time? Well this is the perfect de-tour for you. Try the Newton’s Waterfall walk, departing from Aylmer’s Valley Road. It’s a pretty easy 10-minute walk to the waterfall which flows all year round.
If you want to park the car near the waterfall what is at the end of Aylmers Valley Road, you have the option to (Please be aware that there is a limited of parking space).

akaroa lighthouse

2. The Akaroa Lighthouse

Did you know that the Lighthouse has been in Akaroa for over 40 years? It is now run by dedicated volunteers.  The best time to visit is on Sundays from 11am-2pm or on cruise ship days.
Have a look at this historic building, all it takes is a 10 – minute walk from Akaroa town along the water and through the beautiful nature. And make sure to take a picture in or around the lighthouse to remember the beautiful historic building.

3. The Ōnuku Marae. onuku marae

Picture perfect The Ōnuku Marae has been around for centuries and has been involved in some significant and historic events including the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. Want to see the real culture of New Zealand ? Then take a visit to the Ōnuku Marae.
The Ōnuku Marae is located 5.2km away from the township and is a 9-10-minute walk along the coast and through the trees.
 For more information visit www.onuku.nz

4. The Rhino Walk, Akaroa

Yes we have Rhino and more in Akaroa….well it is wildlife albeit metal. This relaxing walk from the township to Childrens Bay will treat you to some fantastic wildlife sculptures along the way. Set against the backdrop of Akaroa harbour it’s a great way to spend a couple of hours. With a very short walk you can walk from the Akaroa town to the grass hill.
Go and explore the beautiful sculptures made from recycled metal that have been turned into something magical!

5. Jump into Summer! 

Want to go and have some water fun with your friends on a nice warm day? Come down to the beach and spend an afternoon jumping from the pontoon. You might even play a game of who can stay on the longest, or who can make the biggest splash! Remember to be safe when in and around the water…and slip, slop, slap that suncreen on!

6. Akaroa Skate Park

Good on wheels? Then take so time for the kids and adults to let off some energy down on the skate ramp.
Whether it’s with your BMX, your scooter, or skate board come down and enjoy the fun all year round.
Located at the very beginning on the right just before you hit the shops.
For a list of Skate parks in the region visit the councils web page here www.ccc.govt.nz/rec-and-sport/activities/skateparks/

7. Akaroa Beach

akaroa beachAfter all that exploring how about some time to lie down and relax. Kick back, work on that tan and just chill in the shade.
Whatever you fancy, simply grab your beach gear and come down.
If you’re feeling active you could play some beach or water games, bring down your kayak or paddle board and go explore the scenery or pack a good book and simply lay still and soak up some summer.
Listed as one of the best beaches in and around Christchurch! christchurchnz.com

8. Akaroa Museum

An absolute Akaroa treasure. If you want to find out more about the fascinating historical French township of Akaroa and the history of Banks Peninsula. Its varied collections include archives, art, photography, costume and textiles, taonga, and technology.You can also learn about what buildings are heritage buildings, and they provide a research service.
With it being open from 10:30am – 4:00pm during the winter and 10:30am – 4:30pm in the summer months you can come and visit 363 days a year for free.
Visit their website akaroamuseum.org.nz

9. Akaroa Playground

Akaroa is a great place to visit with children and the playground is a great spot for them to have a good run around.
Situated just behind the war memorial with views over the water front it’s a beautiful spot to have some fun. We suggest grabbing yourself a coffee and the kids some ice creams from the Sweet As Bakery on your way! Yum!

10. Delicious Akaroa

Speaking of ice cream did you know there’s a couple of cool spots to try some complimentary food tastings.

Interested in a little free fudge tasting or a delicious piece of cheese?
Come down to Pot Pourri to try some cream and butter fudge. Pot Pourri is located just as you come into Akaroa on the right-hand side after the playing field. They hand make a variety of fresh delicious fudge daily and offer a complimentary tasting before you buy.
Check out their Facebook page here .facebook.com
Or if you are more interested in the cheesy side of things then you must stop off at the Barrys Bay cheese factory to try some traditional handcrafted cheese.
Local New Zealand cheese, made by local people…they’ve been handcrafting cheese’s for over 120 years.
 Find out more here /www.barrysbaycheese.co.nz
We hope we’ve tempted you for a visit! Here’s to a great Kiwi summer of fun!