Spend a day basking in the stunning natural surroundings of Akaroa Wharf. Take leisurely walks beside a glistening seafront and swim in the clean water. Sign up for boat tours around the Banks Peninsula and you might have the chance to swim with dolphins. Akaroa Wharf runs along the west coast of Akaroa and is short walk from the town’s other attractions.
The wharf’s paved and tree-lined esplanade is ideal for a gentle stroll. Sit on one of the benches, gaze over the bay and appreciate the uninterrupted views of rolling green hills. Rent a paddleboat or kayak and have some fun cruising on the calm water. At the northern end of the wharf is a sandy beach, where you might want to top up your tan or go for a refreshing dip on a warm and sunny day.
Lining the street across from the esplanade are a collection of cafés, fish and chips shops and restaurants. Many have outdoor seating areas and splendid views. Alternatively, bring your own food and enjoy a picnic at the waterfront tables.
Be sure to join one of the water-based excursions, which depart from the wharf’s piers and are operated by the town’s tour operators. Visit the dramatic cliffs, millennia-old volcanic formations and remarkable sea caves of the Banks Peninsula. See colonies of blue penguins and fur seals in their natural habitats. Spot sea birds such as albatross, gulls and oystercatchers.
Don’t miss the chance to swim with Hector’s dolphins. This is one of the world’s smallest and rarest dolphin species and large pods inhabit the waters of Banks Peninsula year-round.
Find other interesting attractions close to the wharf. Learn about the archaeology, ethnology and geology of the Banks Peninsula at the Akaroa Museum. Marvel at the colourful mosaics, sculptures and terraced gardens at The Giants House. Browse works by local artists at the Orion Powerhouse Gallery.
Akaroa Wharf is about a 90-minute drive from Christchurch and easy to reach via rented car. Free parking is available at the quayside. Shuttle buses travel frequently between Akaroa and Christchurch. As Akaroa is also a popular cruise ship stop, it’s recommended that you book tours in advance.