With so many amazing things to do in every corner of New Zealand and new experiences popping up all the time, it’s pretty hard to capture everything in one list!
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In a town bearing signposts such as 'Rue Jolie' and 'Rue Balguerie', visitors to Akaroa on the Banks Peninsula often feel slightly disoriented, for this picturesque seaside town boasts more than just a hint of French charm.
It was here, in 1838, that whaling ship captain Jean Francois Langlois purchased land and thus began a muddled attempt to start a colony in New Zealand.
Today, visitors flock here to soak up its European history and relax at seaside cafes watching fishing and pleasure boats dance at their moorings while sampling fresh catch of the day and local Akaroa wine. Others take nature cruises, swim with the rare Hector's dolphins, visit local artists in their home studios or stay overnight in a petite B&B.
Keen historians can discover the town's past at the Akaroa Museum, or follow the Akaroa Historic Area Walk through narrow winding streets past old colonial cottages and churches.
Akaroa is the starting (or ending) point of The Banks Peninsula Walking Track; a crowd-free hike through bush valleys, beech forest, open farmland and along the sandy beaches of the peninsula's dramatic volcanic coastline.
Colonial cottages, self-contained huts and farmhouses provide a place to rest, and wildlife provides company along the way. Keep an eye open for white-flippered penguins in Flea Bay, pods of Hector's Dolphin, and the colonies of New Zealand fur seal that can often be seen lazing upon the rocks.