NZ's first French settlement
Akaroa, on Banks Peninsula was NZ’s first French settlement, with the first settlers turning up in 1840. Their descendants still live here in this little town (pop 650) that is proud of its French origins and has French street names and French restaurants.
Apart from the Frenchness, visitors turn up for kayaking with wildlife – Akaroa Adventure Centre – and the Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise – Black Cat Cruises – both of which can feature Hector’s dolphins, NZ fur seals and lots of seabirds.
Akaroa is 82km from Christchurch by car and well worth the effort.