While we were planning this year’s trip to New Zealand’s South Island, Matt asked if we had ever visited Akaroa. Based on his recommendation, an excellent one, we spent a couple of nights here. The town and harbor lie inside and ancient volcanic crater, one of several in the area. its rugged, twisting, rising and descending road challenges a driver. However, upon arriving at the town, one finds a tranquil, serene setting. However, it is less than a two hour drive from Christchurch, so the six hundred or so population is said to swell to twelve thousand on a busy summer weekend.
Fortunately, Meg and I enjoyed a quiet, unhurried time there. We swam with Hector’s dolphins, a rare species in New Zealand, but in substantial numbers around the harbor. We enjoyed one of our finest meals at a French restaurant, Ma Maison, sitting outdoors in the cool evening as sunset approached. Akaroa is part of the Banks Peninsula, an excellent three day walking tour where one stays at bed and breakfasts along the way.