Peninsula was formed following the violent eruptions of two volcanoes. A
crater nurses the picturesque harbour of Akaroa with many smaller bays indenting
the spectacular coastline. First sighted by Captain Cook in 1770, the Peninsula
was then inhabited by Maoris of the Ngai Tahu tribe.
In 1840, French settlers arrived at Akaroa, which had just been claimed
under the Treaty of Waitangi by the English. To this day, Akaroa remains
unique as the site of the only attempted settlement by the French in New
Zealand. Many streets have French names, and there are descendants of
the original French families still living in Akaroa.
The charm of this old French town, together with the incredible scenery
encountered on the way, have assured Akaroa's popularity as a unique tourist
Akaroa's French history and heritage is celebrated each year at the Akaroa
Frenchfest. Akaroa is also the finishing point for Le Race the annual bike
race from Christchurch to Akaroa.
There is broad range of accommodation
in Akaroa for all budgets. Akaroa is also an ideal destination
for a romantic weekend or short break away from Christchurch.