Access to some of the country’s most spectacular regions is one of the reasons Nick and I moved to Christchurch. With Banks Peninsula on our doorstep, the drive to Akaroa is a winding wonderland of sights. Stop at Hilltop Tavern for a coffee or quick bite before carrying on down the road.  The views are as breathtaking as they come!

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To describe the French and British settlement as quaint wouldn’t do it justice. The seaside village is known for its colonial charm and heritage buildings. Home to some of the region’s best restaurants (Little Bistro is absolutely worth a visit!), Akaroa is the perfect place for a weekend getaway.

For our girls weekend, we had plenty on the agenda. Upon arrival, we drove up to the harbour to begin our first adventure of the day: an excursion with Black Cat Cruises. The weather wasn’t on our side and those prone to seasickness (myself included) were advised to remain on land. After a few frightening experiences, I’ve developed a phobia of small boats on choppy waters. However, I was determined to swim with the majestic Hector dolphins. Endemic to New Zealand, the Hector bread is the smallest in the world and as severely endangered as the Bengal tiger. After several bouts of seasickness (I’ll spare you the details), I was relieved to see the wild dolphins jumping and diving right beside the boat. The skies even cleared as we safely made our way to shore. 

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After our dolphin excursion, we stopped for lunch at Sweet As on the main street. The french patisserie serves up everything from croque monsieurs to petit choux.

Next up, we headed out of town to French Farm for an alpaca farm tour. Home to alpacas of all sizes and colours, Shamarra Alpacas has panoramic views of the Akaroa Heads all the way to Barry’s Bar. The tour allowed us to get up close and personal with these cuddly creatures in their natural environment.

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We checked into the spacious Akaroa Waterfront Motel for the evening. Our room featured a large lounge, a kitchenette and three beds, ideal for the three of us. We settled in for some wine and cheese before heading out for the evening. With gorgeous views of the harbour, we couldn’t stop staring out the massive windows. The location is also super convenient, right in the heart of Akaroa.

The next morning, we wandered around the village before tucking into breakfast at The Brasserie. The expansive garden is marvellous on a sunny day and the coffee is AllPress.

Before heading back to the city, we had the pleasure of visit the magnificent Giant’s House. Reminiscent of Gaudí’s Park Güell in Barcelona, the historic house features original artworks, terraced gardens with sculptures and mosaics. Secluded and quiet, the house on the hill is full of surprises. We found ourselves losing track of time in the magical surrounds. Make time to see The Giant’s House on your next visit to Akaroa.

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Akaroa has its fair share of delicious cuisine and fine dining, but nothing compares to the delectable creations by Rachel of Sweet & Savage. Rachel started making fresh and downright delicious doughnuts after she and her family moved from the city to Akaroa. Operating out of a 1959 Airstream caravan during the summer months, Sweet & Savage visits music and food festivals throughout Canterbury.  I’m absolutely hooked on the rose, vanilla, pistachio and strawberry variety.  You can now find Sweet & Savage at all Christchurch’s best cafés, Uncommon, Park Ranger, Laneway Espresso and Lux Espresso on Fridays and Saturdays!

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