Banks Peninsula

1717Akaroa Harbour cruise
“Nature on the rebound” at Hinewai Reserve (trekking and bird watching).Formed by two giant volcanic eruptions, Banks Peninsula is a mass of bush-covered hills, high cliffs, and small bays that stands in stark contrast to the flat area surrounding nearby Christchurch. The best way to explore the soul of the peninsula is on New Zealand’s first private walking track, which begins and ends in the historic seaside village of Akaroa. The walk covers private farmland (quite rare in New Zealand), the Hinewai Reserve, and spectacular coastline. What makes the trail truly original? Quirky accommodations and the neighbors. Cozy huts with hot outdoor baths, open fireplaces, farm-fresh food, and creek-cooled beer line a trail where appearances by yellow-eyed penguins, fur seals, and the rare Hectors dolphin are not uncommon.

The track is easily walked in four days, which allows plenty of time for relaxing in huts and on beaches. Strong walkers could do it in two.

Trip Facts

Difficulty rating: Easy to moderate
When to go: October to April