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1. Enter the Giant’s House
This stunning building got its name when a child looked up at it and declared it must belong to a giant as it was so big. Built in the 1800s, The Giant’s House is a traditional French style home, but made modern and fun with the modern art, sculptures and mosaics that grace the house and gardens. The large and elegant house looks like something out of a fairy tale and is filled with original artwork. Be sure to visit the charming garden café and enjoy a fresh lunch or a slice of cake.
2. Swim with wild Hector’s dolphins
The world’s smallest dolphin, Hector’s dolphin, can be found in Akaroa’s harbour. There are only about 50 of them still in the wild and as such are protected, but visitors can get up close with them by booking onto a swimming with dolphins experience. This not only allows people to meet the rare animals, but a portion of the money also goes towards the continued conservation of Hector’s dolphins.
3. Visit the Little Penguins
Akaroa is by no means short of wildlife, with seals, dolphins and whales to be found around the harbour. But one of the town’s favourite wild visitors are the Little Penguins. The Pohatu Penguin Habitat has the largest Little Penguin colony in New Zealand. A tour at Pohatu allows tourists to see penguins in their natural surroundings and also help preserve the birds and their habitat.
4. Enjoy a walk in the gardens
Akaroa is known for its lovely gardens and parks, which are scattered throughout the town. Exploring just one or a selection of these gardens makes for a relaxing day. Potter Croft Garden is only a ten-minute walk from the centre of town and has three acres of English style country garden. Alternatively, the Grade 1 listed country house Blythcliffe has extensive gardens, featuring a croquet lawn, heritage rose beds and a nature conservation area. There are also a number of parks to explore in Akaroa, including Jubilee Park and L’Aube Hill.
5. Shop the local arts and crafts
Walking around the town and discovering all the shops and art galleries it has to offer is one of the joys of visiting Akaroa. Though small, the town has several arts and crafts boutiques from which unique and handmade items can be bought. There are also several art galleries where the work of local artists is on display and available to buy.