|Hilltop lookout - Akaroa is on the left|
In the summer I believe it would be a lovely place to visit, a little sea-side retreat. The area is known for its white flippered penguins (a.k.a. blue penguins - the smallest in the world) and occasionally the yellow-eyed penguins, plus Akaroa Harbour is the only place in the word that you can swim with Hector's dolphins (the world's smallest and rarest oceanic dolphins). Many of the operators were closed as it's off season, and many of the attractions in town had limited hours as well.
Not to be deterred by the off-season Oksu and I made good use of our time to wander around town. We started with the Akaroa Museum for a quick look around. A glimpse into the history and people of the area, as well as a look inside the authentic interiors of the court house and customs house which date back to the 1840's. We then headed in the direction of the Orion Powerhouse Gallery, only to find it closed. Nearby, the map told us, was the Old French Cemetery. Expecting something like what I'd seen in Paris we hiked up the hill (despite Oksu finding it odd that people would consider graves a tourist attraction). Another bust! There were no graves at all, just a fence with a large monument listing names of those passed away. We took a different trail back down the hill and ended up near St. Patrick's Anglican Church; built in 1864 it was in wonderful condition (it appears to still be in use today) and was very picturesque.
Another site to see is the town's lighthouse so we walked along the waterfront to the other side of town to get a look. Oh the expectations! The lighthouse was very tiny, and once again, you could not go up in it as it's off-season. Despite the let-down we were able to get some lovely photos of the town from the lighthouse vantage point, so all was not lost.
We were a bit hungry by now and despite this being a "French" town, when I mentioned some of the restaurants listed in the tour book Oksu, bless her heart, wanted to eat Fish 'n Chips. I was thinking maybe I would attempt to find a nice croissant or baguette sandwich, but I was not about to pass up the opportunity for Fish 'n Chips so we headed to Murphy's on the Corner. The portions are huge so it was nice to be able to split it with someone. We wandered through some of the shops and browsed the souvenirs, none of which were purchased, but they have some adorable little trinkets. We ended at the War Memorial and since we had some time to kill before the shuttle picked us up again we decided to sit down by Dalys Warf and enjoy the view.