"Pigeon Bay - the peninsula's largest Bay" Top 5 Page for this destination Akaroa Off The Beaten Path Tip by Kakapo2

Akaroa Off The Beaten Path: 36 reviews and 87 photos

  Pigeon Point is the western head of Pigeon Bay.
by Kakapo2
  • Pigeon Point is the western head of Pigeon Bay. - Akaroa
      Pigeon Point is the western head of Pigeon Bay.
    by Kakapo2
  • Picnic spot above Pigeon Bay and the beach. - Akaroa
      Picnic spot above Pigeon Bay and the beach.
    by Kakapo2

The largest bay of Banks Peninsula, located between Port Levy and Little Akaloa in the north of the peninsula, got its name from the lots of pigeons which swarmed in the narrow wooded valley at its head. Early whalers and settlers hunted them for food, as had done the Maori before them. Obviously this has driven the pigeons to other shores. The only birds I have noticed there are seagulls.

Historically this bay also has some significance. When the battered Comte de Paris anchored at Pigeon Bay on their way from France two children who had died at sea were buried on the beach. Captain Langlois here paid the Maori the second instalment for the purchase of Banks Peninsula. In 1843 Captain Francis Sinclair and the Hay family settled here to begin farming. To get cattle to Pigeon Bay a rugged Maori path was widened to two metres, so the animals could be transported the 24 kilometres from Akaroa. Those farms supplied Akaroa with dairy products. The descendants of the Hay family are still farming in the area today.

We sometimes stop at Pigeon Bay for a picnic or a sunbath. However, if you compare it to Okains or Le Bons Bay, it pales. Pigeon Bay does not have those white sandy beaches. But you can roll out your blanket in the grass and have a nice time, watching the blue water, the smooth waves, seagulls, and inhale the silence.

However, you can make a nice walk along the eastern side of the bay to the head of the harbour, named Wakaroa Point.


From Christchurch on SH 75. Turn left at the Hilltop onto the Scenic Drive, then first sealed road left. There are signs, you cannot miss it.

From Akaroa: After some kilometres on SH 75 towards Christchurch turn right onto the Scenic Drive (Summit Road). Turn right down the hill some few kilometres after the Little Akaloa turnoff.

The road from Pigeon Bay to Port Levy is only suitable for 4 WD vehicles.

Photo 2 is a view to the beach of Pigeon Bay. The road that meanders up the hill behind the beach is unsealed, named Little Pigeon Bay Road. It leads to a tiny bay named Little Pigeon Bay and Pigeon Point, the western head of Pigeon Bay.

Review Helpfulness: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written May 29, 2008
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