Akaroa Harbour is still the primary destination for cruise ships visiting Canterbury during the 2013/14 season, due to earthquake damage in Lyttelton Harbour.
Sail with the dolphins in the crater of an extinct volcano and enjoy the wildlife of Akaroa Harbour up close. Relax and soak up the sun, sea and hills or take part as one of the crew. See Hectors dolphins, yellow-eyed and blue penguins, New Zealand fur seals, albatross and other sea birds. Be surrounded by giant volcanic sea cliffs, caves and rock formations along the journey. A guaranteed highlight of your trip that you will remember for the rest of your life.
Akaroa Harbour is part of Banks Peninsula in the Canterbury Region of New Zealand. It enters from the southern coast of the peninsula heading in a predominantly northerly direction. The name Akaroa is Kāi Tahu Māori for “Long Harbour”. Ōnawe Peninsula is at the head of the harbour, the former site of a Māori pā.
The towns or settlements of Akaroa, Duvauchelle, Barrys Bay, French Farm and Wainui lie on the shoreline of the harbour.Cruise ships occasionally enter the harbour with the passengers visiting Akaroa.
As of 2011 the seven sites that are sampled in the harbour six are graded as “good” and one as “fair” in terms of recreational use. Rainfall affects the grading.
The 475-hectare (1,170-acre) Akaroa Marine Reserve was given approval in 2013 after a 17 year campaign to get it established.