Banks Peninsula Track
History of the French colonies
The Giant’s House

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On holiday with New Zealanders

The small coastal town of Akaroa ("Long Bay Harbour"), at the eastern end of Akaroa Harbour, is 85 km from Christchurch and is known as the French colony of New Zealand.

Very little remains of the history linked to the early settlers that arrived here in 1838 – a few buildings and, in particular, the names of the streets – but Akaroa, as you will discover during your MSC World Cruise, is a charming coastal town that you can easily visit on foot. 
A favourite holidays destination for New Zealanders, it is a good starting point for visiting the surrounding area, either with a walk along the Banks Peninsula Track or on a boat trip around the Bay to see dolphins. 
If you prefer to stay in town, Akaroa has a wide variety of shops and restaurants. The Akaroa Museum is opposite the Visitor Centre, where you can enjoy exhibitions dedicated to Maori craftsmanship, a twenty-minute film on the history of the settlement, photographs of the early settlers and objects associated with the whaling industry. The building that houses the Museum is also interesting because you can see the former Court House, a small Custom House and a residential building dating back to the 1840s. 
There is also a small French cemetery north of the town, which can be reached by a path leading off Rue Pompallier. 
You can independently visit The Giant's House, home of sculptor Josie Martin, which from the moment you enter the garden is an explosion of colours between sculptures, mosaics and paintings. 
Another interesting place is the former hydroelectric Powerhouse, built in 1911, which once provided electricity to the town. The building still contains its original machinery, although it is now dedicated to concerts and local art exhibitions. 
Other MSC day trips include a ride on the Tranzalpine Train to the Arthur Pass or a visit to a local farm

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    New Zealand

    Kiwi spotting in a land of pioneers and adventurers
    Kiwi spotting in a land of pioneers and adventurers

    New Zealand lies in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, in Oceania.

    It is made up of two main islands: North Island and South Island, as well as numerous smaller islands such as the Chatham Islands. It is a sparsely populated country, full of surprises, rich in natural beauty and vast landscapes. 
    A visit to the capital Wellington is a must; a lively and fun city with street musicians and colourful markets. However, New Zealand’s largest city is actually Auckland. Known as the “City of Sails” because of its strong links with the sea and all the activities connected to it, the city enjoys a privileged location between the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea. 
    A visit to the Sky Tower is a must: from a height of 328 metres you can enjoy a wonderful view that extends for 80 kilometres. Half an hour from the city there are the forests of the Waitakere Ranges, where you can see thousand year old Kauri trees which have trunks with a diameter of several meters, and Piha, which will enchant you with its black volcanic sand beach, a popular destination for surfers from all over the world.