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Akaroa - still worth a visit in Xmas...?

Sydney, Australia
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Akaroa - still worth a visit in Xmas...?

Hi all,

I've just started planning my 2.5 weeks NZ vacation during the upcoming holiday season! Akaroa looks like a real jam, but after reading the GR8 tips here, I understand it could be a problem during my visit given the masses coming in with their cruise ships… I’m a student travelling on my own, and I love nature and meeting new people, but always prefer secluded and quite places… What do you say?

If you vote yes, from the following, what do you recommend: (i) swim with the Hector dolphins, (ii) go to one of the cruises (i.e. Fox), or (iii) do the full package tour with Pohatu Penguin Habitat (inc. the sleep over & kayaking). Options 1+2 also include bike ride to nearby Maori village of Onuku.

Thanks in advance!!

Dunedin, New Zealand
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1. Re: Akaroa - still worth a visit in Xmas...?

Hi Shea. The link below is a direct link to an excel (.xls file) table of cruise ships visits to Akaroa over the 2012/2013 period. Hopefully it help you plan when you would like to visit.


Keep in mind that the cruise ship passengers return to their vessels overnight. Most of the ships only visit for the day. Many passengers will be on day tours out beyond Akaroa.

That said, it could get busy at times when multiple ships are in port. Not too sure what the Hectors are going to make of all the extra boat activity.

As far as we recall, Onuku is a Marae (Maori meeting/community hall) about 5kms from Akaroa. May have been a village there once but not now? There are a couple of local Akaroans who sometimes post here at TA. So they may be able to shed more light on Onuku.

Not sure how long you plan to stay in Akaroa or how you are travelling. But if you have the means, there is a very nice camping ground under the coastal pine trees of Okains Bay.

Busy in the summer school holidays but it is quite large so plenty of room for tents and vans. Lots of beaches, secluded bays and headlands to roam to from there. It is a good place for a base of operations without being too far from Akaroa. Hope this helps.

Edited: 30 September 2012, 18:47
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2. Re: Akaroa - still worth a visit in Xmas...?

Christmas and New Years has always been the busiest time in Akaroa, even before the cruise ships started visiting. That being said, I've always found that by 5pm it's back to its quaint little self. I can't imagine you'd be disappointed if you came.

A trip out on the harbour is really wonderful as are the walks that leave from town. The ride to Onuku is very scenic but Onuku itself just has the Marae and a beautiful small church to see. The ride is more for the views I imagine.

Pohatu is a great tour and the owners are really fascinating kiwis with a wealth of knowledge of the area and wildlife.

I wouldn't recommend Okains Bay campground mentioned in the previous post as its very crowded with party types during that particular time.

I hope you do decide to come as it really is a little gem.

Christchurch, New...
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for South Island
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3. Re: Akaroa - still worth a visit in Xmas...?

The view from the tiny Church at Onuku is quite stunning on a nice day. You also should respect the protocols before entering the Marae.

A walk through the Pakeha cemetry is interesting. It's Catholics/CofE/Decenters sections points to how sectarian these places were in the old days.

4. Re: Akaroa - still worth a visit in Xmas...?

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