Have you ever stepped into a storybook town and never wanted to leave? That’s how I felt about Akaroa, New Zealand. Y’ALL! Akaroa is one of the most picturesque towns I’ve ever been to. Akaroa means “Long Harbour” and is a historic French & British settlement tucked between remnants of a volcano. You can see the French and British influence throughout the town, from names of streets, restaurants, and other landmarks to the beautiful architecture and gardens.
Although I’m a creature of comfort, I decided that driving myself around steep curvy mountains and glamping in a remote cabin about 2 miles from town without any electricity was the way to experience Akaroa.
First, I booked my rental car in Christchurch and made my way south to Akaroa. This was my first time to ever drive on the “other” side of the road. There were moments that were a little scary. My rear view mirror fell off about halfway through my drive, and I did get flipped off once or twice, but I didn’t kill anyone and I made it there safely myself, so I’d call that a win.
Once I arrived to my cabin, I was in awe. The views of the turquoise water were absolutely mesmerizing.
New Zealand is known for being home to the smallest and rarest marine dolphin in the world, the Hector’s dolphin, so of course that means I had to go out on the water in hopes of spotting one of these beauties. I headed out on the sailboat and didn’t have to wait long before spotting a dolphin. Over four hours, I probably saw anywhere between 50-100 dolphins in the harbor. Sometimes there would be up to ten following our boat at one time! I was able to capture some of it on video which you can check out HERE. Additionally, we were able to see a few little blue penguins, the smallest species of penguin, swimming around.
The cool evenings were a welcome reprieve from the sweltering sun, and even better because my cabin had a hot tub available to watch the beautiful pink and purple sunset over the water. After a perfect evening watching the sunset, it was time for another some shut eye. The cabin had glass ceilings so you could look up and see hundreds of stars twinkling in the night sky. It was absolutely breathtaking and the perfect way to drift off to sleep.
♥ You can rent cars one way for $1 in New Zealand through Avis and a few other car companies. You are basically moving the car for them so they don’t have to pay an employee, meaning you don’t have to pay for the fuel either.
♥ Driving on the “other” side of the road is a little bit scary. Watch some YouTube videos about New Zealand’s road rules before you go. I watched THIS ONE.
♥ If you want to go glamping in Akaroa, be sure to check out the Akaroa Stargazer HERE.
♥ New Zealand’s hot dogs are delicious, but not the same as an American hot dog. It is a sausage lightly breaded and battered on a stick, like our corn dogs, except the outside is a bit more crumbly.
♥ I’ve been told that a law is about to be passed that will give women 6 MONTHS of paid maternity leave! Whaaaaat!? And the men get paternity leave. I again started googling “how to move to New Zealand”…..
♥ Akaroa is tiny and beautiful and it’s actually pretty affordable to live there.
♥ New Zealanders sometimes say “nawww” instead of “awww” (as in something is really cute)……this was a bit confusing at first, because I thought they were telling me “no”.
♥ There is a teacher shortage in New Zealand, so apparently I can maybe actually move there.