Nestled on the upper east coast of New Zealand’s South Island is Akaroa, the oldest town on this island. It is charming, filled with sidewalk cafes, art galleries, souvenir shops, restaurants, and a million water tour opportunities. It is a historic British and French settlement in the heart of an ancient volcano. It was a little chilly today, around 60 degrees F, but nothing like yesterday’s biting wind and cold. The sun was in and out all day. Once again, as in many ports, the same cruise ship that was in Port Chalmers with us yesterday was in Akaroa today. And once again, about 3,500 people descended on a town with a population of 624 people….five times more visitors than residents! The Main Street along the bay was busy, bustling, and loud. But when we walked one block away from the main drag, there was a quiet calm. You would never know that all of that busyness was happening just down the next street.
The first photo is one of the cutest houses on the Rue Jolie, which was filled with many houses with English gardens. All of the rest were taken around the town, with retail and restaurants on one side, and French Bay on the other. Many dolphins are found in the bay, and several of the businesses we saw ran tours to swim with the dolphins. We found a lovely small stream running through town and, as the area gets a lot of rainfall, the hills and vegetation were exceptionally green.