Akaroa’s main swimming beach on Banks Peninsula is 90 minutes from Christchurch. However, the Ministry for the Environment’s 2012 report showed that the beach, popular among tens of thousands international tourists, has a “poor” water quality. Despite this, the sandy beach is still fine for building sand castles and taking time to relax in Summer. Within 30 minutes, you can find pristine bays suitable for swimming and surfing, such as Okains, Hickory, Goughs, Le Bons and Little Akaloa Bays.
Le Bons Bay was named one of Christchurch’s Top Beaches by Top 10 Holiday Parks. The sandy beach 11km north-east of Akaroa was first claimed by the French, with the name Le Bon coming from the first sailor who landed on the beach after Captain Le Bas of a French vessel mistook the bay was Akaroa Harbour.
25 minutes drive away from Akaroa, Okains Bay is excellent for swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding and fishing with a lagoon and a shaded sandy beach. A beachside camping ground is on offer to accommodate a weekend stay and a nearby store and museum give you plenty to do.