Canterbury Trails - Kaikoura

Explore > New Zealand > Kaikoura > Canterbury Trails - Kaikoura

Akaroa & Banks Peninsula

Photo #1 of 5

Banks Peninsula was formed following the violent eruptions of two volcanoes. A crater nurses the picturesque harbour of Akaroa with many smaller bays indenting the coastline. Sighted by Captain Cook in 1770, the Peninsula was then inhabited by Maori. In 1840 French settlers arrived at Akaroa, which had just been claimed under the Treaty of Waitangi by the English. To this day Akaroa remains unique the site of the only attempted settlement by the French in New Zealand. Many streets have French names and there are descendants of the original French families still living in Akaroa. The charm of this old French town with the incredible scenery encountered on the way have assured Akaroa's popularity as a unique destination.

Travel to Akaroa over the beautiful Banks Peninsula, formed following violent eruptions of two ancient volcanoes. The high summit route gives glorious views of Akaroa Harbour, the Canterbury Plains and the distant Southern Alps and the remote bays and farmlands. The Akaroa crater nurses the picturesque harbour and Akaroa village, the only French settlement established in New Zealand.

Visit the Barry's Bay Cheese Factory for a cheese tasting of locally made cheeses, the only remaining cheese factory on the peninsula from a bygone era.

Enjoy the quaint colonial style architecture and wander around the charming 150 year old French harbourside village of Akaroa with it's museum of settlers' history, art and craft shops and studios, cafes and wine bars.


Canterbury Trails commenced operation in 1994 and produces personal, small group and exclusive private tours to show guests the wonders of the South Island and New Zealand.

Catering for those who prefer smaller, more intimate group tours, or who do not wish to be totally on their own, we offer first-class service and the comfort that should be expected.

We pride ourselves on our attention to detail, the personal touches and aim to give our guests a truly memorable experience of their visit to New Zealand - a visit which will be both unique and relaxed.

"Arrive as guests, leave as friends"

Taking you "Off the Beaten Track", we offer a range of day tours from Christchurch, extended overland tours and exclusive tailor-made tours. These tours are for those who wish to experience the pristine beauty of New Zealand whilst receiving first class service and attention.

Our tours are designed to encompass those things which make New Zealand truly unique - the ecology and natural history, the Maori mythology and history, the European history and of course, New Zealand's incredible scenery.

The tours are created and marketed by John Holton, owner and operator of Canterbury Trails, and this hands on approach with the owner / guide creating the itineraries results in tours which allow for the best use of time, terrain, activities, variable seasons and accommodation. Being small group tours, there is far more flexibility with the time and activities to allow for each individual's desires.

Great care is taken to choose top quality lodges and luxury small hotels that are as interesting and unusual as the sights we see and are more than just places to stay.