Once upon a time, about 20,000,000 years ago at the South Western end of the Pacific Ocean there was a very active volcano. It erupted time after time and with each eruption it deposited more rock and lava on to its rim. The rim grew ever higher layer by layer and the crater ever deeper until about 12,000,000 years ago it gradually became extinct. Vegetation began to grow in the crater, birds arrived from over the sea and began to evolve in order to thrive in this new environement.
About 6,000,000 years ago, the Southern side of the crater began to crumble as the powerful winds and waves from the Antarctic eroded it and gradually the Pacific waters filled up the crater and formed the sheltered harbour we now know as Akaroa.
The first mammals to arrive were dolphins, they also must have evolved because the dolphins found in these waters are unique to the area. Known as Hector’s Dolphins, they are smaller than Florida dolphins, silver skinned with a black rounded dorsal fin. They seemed to be very playful, we went or boat trip in the harbour and they put on a show for us.
A community of French settlers arrived in the harbour at about the same time that Britain was beginning to settle other parts of South Island. There is still a strong French flavour to the village, many of the streets are labelled as Rues and there are many French names on the shops.
On the way to Akaroa we passed the strangest B&B ever!