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Visit the historic French-British settlement of Akaroa, 1.5 hours south of Christchurch, and explore the mountainous Banks Peninsula on which the town sits.

The Akaroa Marine Reserve, at the mouth of Akaroa Harbor (once an active volcano) was created in 2013, and many species of its fauna and flora are still undescribed. During an Akaroa cruise, enjoy a boat ride around this harbor, stopping to take in the natural beauty and snap picturesque photos.

This area is visited by Hector’s dolphins, endemic to New Zealand and the smallest species, just 4–5 feet long and 90–130 pounds in weight. Unlike the more common bottlenose dolphin, the Hector’s dolphin has a short beak, a rounded black dorsal fin, and elegant color variations from creamy white belly to dark gray extremities. Smaller species of whales also visit the reserve.

Fur seals and white-flippered penguins hang out along the rocky platforms edging the harbor, where albatrosses, petrels, and other seabirds visit. Do some excellent bird watching with your binoculars on a cliff-side stroll—but remember to watch your step.
Visit the historic French-British settlement of Akaroa, 1.5 hours south of Christchurch, and explore the mountainous Banks Peninsula on which the town sits.

The Akaroa Marine Reserve, at the mouth of Akaroa Harbor (once an active volcano) was created in 2013, and many species of its fauna and flora are still undescribed. During an Akaroa cruise, enjoy a boat ride around this harbor, stopping to take in the natural beauty and snap picturesque photos.

This area is visited by Hector’s dolphins, endemic to New Zealand and the smallest species, just 4–5 feet long and 90–130 pounds in weight. Unlike the more common bottlenose dolphin, the Hector’s dolphin has a short beak, a rounded black dorsal fin, and elegant color variations from creamy white belly to dark gray extremities. Smaller species of whales also visit the reserve.

Fur seals and white-flippered penguins hang out along the rocky platforms edging the harbor, where albatrosses, petrels, and other seabirds visit. Do some excellent bird watching with your binoculars on a cliff-side stroll—but remember to watch your step.

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