A little touch of France spotted in New Zealand


French Farm Winery
Giants House
Artisan Garden

Rue Lavaud is the main road that cuts through Akaroa, a small French bastion on the Banks Peninsula of the South Island of New Zealand, with rolling hills and a harbor view, the natives are uniquely Kiwi.

A local weekend getaway for those working in Christchurch and the occasional cruise day-tripper, the town still maintains its small-town je ne sais quoi.  With a population of 4,000 it’s certainly not where you go to hit the town.

Like the French who landed upon its shores and decided to call it home, as least for a little while, the township can lay claim to being home of the hector Dolphin, not only the smallest Dolphin in the world, but also one of the rarest.

Black Cat Tours offers a very unique tourism product which sees it take swimming with the dolphins to a new level with their brand new “dry-suit” which like their cousin the wetsuit are worn in the water.  The difference is dry suits are worn on top of clothing and keeps the swimmer dry in the water while adding additional buoyancy.

Black Cat Tours offers its dry suit product from May to September, as well as the first and last sailing in summer seasons.  Slipping out of the dry suit and returning to land, travellers can carry on straight to their next land option.

Which in summer may very well be a lunch at the French Farm Winery, where despite its European name serves a very New Zealand wine made from its local grapes.

A small boutique winery which produces chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, pinot gris and a light pinot noir, guests can take a taste test of the produce or enjoy it alongside lunch either indoors or in the courtyard in summer.

For those who fall in love with the French Chateau and its rolling greens, special function spaces or wedding events can also be organized.  Picnic arrangements will be a new offering come summer 2009/2010.

Giant’s House at Linton is run by Josie Martin and features not only themed boutique accommodation which is as fun and quirky as the French music that greets travellers, but also a “national garden of significance”.

Josie’s mosaic artworks are intermingled with a garden of root vegetables, citrus trees and roses, built into the hillside and up a steep driveway, its unassuming facade leads to a boisterous and sometimes fanatical medley of music artwork and distinctly French madness.

Akaroa, while largely dependent on local weekenders has recently become more popular with overseas travellers, helped along by ever-growing cruise industry in nearby Lyttelton.

Akaroa Harbour home
of the Hector Dolphin
Rue Lavaud the main street in Akaroa


Source = e-Travel Blackboard: W.X
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