Akaroa (Photo:Nonthachai Saksri/Shutterstock)
2018 Top-Rated Australia & New Zealand Destinations
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating

By Brian Crisp
Cruise Critic Contributor

Port of Akaroa

Sailing up the strait into the Port of Akaroa in New Zealand is a not-to-be-missed experience, with green towering hills topped with craggy rock from a long extinct volcano. It reminded us of a smaller version of the Norwegian Fjords -- simply stunning.

Akaroa is a Maori word that means 'long harbour'. The tiny town is a former French settlement that oozes Gallic charm, from its French street names to its pretty painted timber cottages that house an abundance of galleries, local crafts, coffee shops and restaurants.

Home to about 700 locals, Akaroa blossoms to a bustling 1,500 over the summer season -- and a cruise ship visit can double that.

There is something to suit all the family. Swimming with dolphins, sailing, fabulous nature walks, penguin encounters, motorbike tours and historical walks are just a few of the activities on offer.

If you are not one for tours just enjoy the quaint village, as you can happily explore Akaroa in an hour or so. Once that's done you are free to grab a coffee or glass of local wine, sit back and take in the picture-perfect vista of sparking harbour waters surrounded by green rolling hills.

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Where You're Docked

Akaroa is a tender port and it is a just a couple of minutes' walk to the town centre.

Good to Know

Akaroa's pesky seagulls can be a real pain if you are trying to enjoy your fish and chips on the waterfront. Expect to lose a few chips.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money

The currency is the New Zealand dollar. The Bank of New Zealand has an ATM at 73 Rue Lavaud, Akaroa.


You will find exquisite New Zealand blue pearl jewellery in the galleries in Akaroa. There is also a wonderful range of local artwork to be snapped up.

Akaroa Awards

Cruisers’ Choice Destination Awards

2018 Top-Rated Australia & New Zealand Destinations
2017 Top-Rated Australia & New Zealand Destinations
2016 Top-Rated Australia & New Zealand Destinations