Akaroa is a tender port, so please do everything possible to secure seats on the earliest possible tender. This will require you to be pro-active – early breakfast, early in the tender line, early on shore. We will be in attendance on the wharf from 08:30 am, and your tour will commence @ 10:00 AM, however please report into us as soon as you arrive on shore. When you alight from your tender continue walking along the wharf until on your right you will see the i Site (Information site) cabin, and almost opposite this you will see our agents selling stand displaying a sign with your names. Look out for the men in white Panama hats & blue shirts – ask for Doug.
Depart the beautiful tranquil harbour of Akaroa to explore the historic French and British settlement village of the same name, with its colonial architecture, galleries, craft stores, and cafes, all nestled in the heart of an ancient volcano. As we ascent out of the township you will be afforded spectacular scenery, with the viewing of Takamatua Bay, Robinsons Bay, Duvauchelle Bay, and Barry’s Bay and several scheduled stops which offer some incredible panoramic views and photo opportunities.
After driving through the pleasant country town of Little River and passing Lakes Forsyth and Ellesmere– we climb again to where we have commanding views of Lyttelton Harbour and Township to our right, and the patchwork quilt appearance of the Canterbury Plains to our left as that vista opens up.
An easy five minute walk from the car park, takes us to the Sign of The Takahe lookout vantage point which provides a comprehensive view of Christchurch, the City centre – the devastation, the rebuild, and a panoramic view of the Canterbury Plains, the majestic Southern Alps, and the vast Pacific Ocean.
As we descend into the area of the Central Business District in the heart of Christchurch city, the evidence of the earthquakes are clearly notable. So too however are the signs of recovery as this once-beautiful city repairs and rebuilds. Fortunately a number of the cities Heritage buildings withstood the destruction that came with the earthquakes and remain as a reminder to our Colonial past. The city centre is now boasting a “Cardboard Cathedral” (a world first) and what we locals call a “Start- up Mall”. A shopping mall made from shipping containers painted brightly to add colour and spread a happiness back into what was once a thriving bustling city centre.
After lunch we introduce you to the iconic Christchurch Botanic Gardens. These gardens cover an area of 21 hectares, contained primarily within the circle of the gently flowing waters of the Avon River. Right in the heart of the city, you find a garden grown to feature one of the finest collections of exotic and native specimen plants in New Zealand. Spend 30 minutes strolling through the park at your leisure, relishing in the beauty and tranquillity that this special place provides.
As we journey back towards your ship, docked in Akaroa Harbour , we take the Tourist Drive along Summit Road. The views down into the East Coast Bays and into the Akaroa Harbour itself are stunning, and at every turn a new vista awaits and opens up before you, leaving you with wonderful memories and magnificent photos of a special and unique part of New Zealand.