A few months ago my little brother came to visit and we all spent a day in Akaroa, soaking up the sunshine, sitting in restaurants and walking around the french-themed township. I have always liked Akaroa, but only visited it a couple of times. Both days I have visited unfortunately have been overcast, but the day we spent there with my brother did warm up enough to sit in the afternoon sun with a glass of pinot gris.
Akaroa is one of the hidden gems of the Christchurch area. Spending some time in Akaroa is like stepping into a different culture in another time. A lot of the buildings have this old manor house feel with verandas that face the street and pathways that that are surrounded by untamed gardens, or gardens designed to captivate with their wild beauty. There are little streams that run through the town, and you can see the port hills rise above the town in the background.
The eateries are amazing. I am still not sure what the name of the cafe we went to when we first got to Akaroa but it was amazing. We got coffees and a cute french pastry that was filled with sultanas. I would really suggest stopping by for this small treat or to try some of their other pastries. As there is quite a strong french culture in the village (not enough to go around speaking french though) there a few places you can get pastries and danishes from.
We went to The Brasserie Kitchen and Bar for lunch which was amazing! Apparently this is a newer restaurant in Akaroa, but it was definitely one of my favourites. We walked the length of town before settling down at this restaurant and we chose it as we would be able to sit outside in the sun, and I really liked that the eating area was surrounded by many trees, bushes and flowers. I absolutely loved sitting in the sun having a few white wines surrounded by all the plants, the laid back feeling of a small river side town. From memory we all had seafood lunch dishes and they were all delicious. I ordered a classic fish and chips, and it was delicious. Nothing disappointed while we were there and it made for a really relaxing day. The food was relatively affordable but the winning quality of this restaurant was that you can pass so much time just sitting outside in the sun.
Akaroa is a harbourside town, and there are a lot of ferries that go from Akaroa to other little towns that dot the edges of inlet through the port hills. The town has a lot of quaint shops that sell a lot of eclectic and local goods, with one of my favourite stores being Hetties Rock & Crystal Shop. There is a promenade along the edge of the harbour with dedications to some of the battalions that fought under ANZAC in the world wars.
Akaroa is an absolutely great place to spend a weekend away or a long sunny afternoon. There is not a lot going on in the winter months, except for usual day to day business of the residents. The town really comes alive in Spring and Summer and really is a great spot to visit if you are visiting Canterbury, particularly the Christchurch area.