Giant's House: Just a short stroll from the centre of Akaroa you will find The Giant's House, a wonderful place to spend a leisurely hour exploring the historical house and pretty terraced gardens dotted with stunning mosaics and sculptures. The house itself is jaw-dropping gorgeous, resembling a bigger-than-life doll's house filled to the brim with original artworks. You can enjoy lunch or just a coffee and cake at the garden cafe as you soak up artistic feast surrounding you. (11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; 68 Rue Balguerie; 03 304 7501)

Hector's Dolphin: Akaroa harbour is home to the world's smallest and rarest dolphin in the world -- the Hector's Dolphin. There are only about 50 of these cute little creatures left in the world, so don't miss the chance to swim in the wild with them. The three-hour Swim with the Dolphins Cruise includes wetsuit, refreshments, mask and snorkel. This is a popular activity so make sure you book ahead. Black Cat Cruises (main wharf, Akaroa; www.blackcat.co.nz ; 03 304 7641)

Christchurch: The city of Christchurch is about a 75-kilometre drive away and worth a trip. Between 2010 and 2011, two earthquakes devastated the town, and you can still view the restoration work that is bringing the city back to its former glory. There is a shuttle bus that leaves from Akaroa at 9:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. The bus trip takes about an hour and a half and costs about NZD$45 (AU$40) for a return trip for an adult (children NZD$30, AU$27). The shuttle leaves Christchurch at 3 p.m. sharp. The Akaroa French Connection Shuttle leaves from the main wharf. (Tickets can be purchased at the main wharf or via www.akaroa.com.)

Pohatu Penguin Habitat: Kids will love a 4WD tour to the Pohatu Penguin Habitat where they can get up close and personal with the largest Little Penguin colony in New Zealand. The best time to view these cute critters is from late August to the end of January. (Pre-book this tour via your cruise ship or online at www.phohatu.co.nz; 021 246 9556; pickup is from main wharf.)

Vintage Car Tours: Akaroa and the Banks Peninsula have some of the most spectacular scenery in the world, and there is no better way to see it than in style in a spectacular vintage car. Imagine yourself touring around stunning bays stopping for photo opportunities with your friends in an open-top Ford Tourer. Vintage car tours start at around NZD$70 (AU$64.16) for 30 minutes for two people. Tours can be extended and the car can take up to four passengers. (Pickup is at the taxi stand opposite main wharf; 027 4322041; www.akaroa.com/tours/vintage-car-tours.)

The Akaroa Cooking School: Cook up a storm at The Akaroa Cooking School and hone your culinary skills with expert advice from their chefs. Cooking classes are intimate in size to ensure that everyone gets some hands-on tutoring from the chef. Best of all is the fact you get to eat what you cook and the best local wines accompany the courses. (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; 81 Beach Rd.; 021 166 3737; check availability of classes on www.akaroacooking.co.nz)