Akaroa Harbor Sail and Wildlife Cruise
Sail on a beautiful, hand-built classic ocean sailing yacht on this tour around Akaroa's harbor, nestled in the crater of an extinct volcano. Designed in 1946 to win the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, she's very stable, strong and built of Kauri -- New Zealand's premier boat building timber.
Departing from Akaroa's main wharf, the crew will soon raise the main sail, switch the engine off and get the adventure started. You'll love the 360 degree cruise around Akaroa Harbor as you sail around Green Point and view the Britomart Monument, dedicated to the arrival of the first settlers in 1840. You'll be sure to enjoy cruising using the power of the wind to drive the boat. With no motor running, there's no engine noise or diesel exhaust smell or pollution to harm the unique and endangered wildlife.
You will hear about Akaroa's historic secrets and legends from an experienced local Kiwi crew, from the first British and French and German settlers, and as far back to the early Maori times. You will be invited to take a turn steering the yacht yourself, tacking or gybing, or you can simply relax in the "Royal Seats" and watch the action happening in front of you.
During the cruise you'll learn all about the wildlife that lives in Akaroa Harbor, from the seriously endangered Hector's Dolphins, to the penguins, cormorants and shags. Often you'll hear the Hector's Dolphins before you see them, the penguins calling to each other, or see and hear the sea-bird life.
Passing the genuine Maori Marae at Onuku, you'll shudder at the stories of cannibalism and tribal warfare from early times. You will then visit the Shag Colony, cross the harbor and see the Salmon Farm in action, and visit the Mussel Farm and the Penguin Cave. The farming industry around Akaroa will be discussed, as well as the inventiveness of local tree farming. From there you will sail on to Wainui beach, and then view the relics of WW2 in TiKao Bay.
The excursion will come to an end as you return to the township of Akaroa, while learning about local tourism, real estate, employment and local government.
We booked this on a whim since Christchurch is really quite far away from the Akoroa port of call. We didn't want to spend three hours roundtrip just to get to and from Akoroa to see another city. So we elected to do something completely different and go sailing on the Akoroa Bay! This was amazing. Our captain, and the owner of his sailboat, which is also his home, Captain Ray was tremendous! He was informative, safe, fun and encouraging. We all became skippers for the day and not one person was left out. He promised we'd see dolphins and penguins and he delivered on that promise. The weather cooperated beautifully as it was warm and windy so we were actually sailing and not under power of the engine instead. If you are up for a wonderful, relaxing adventure, I highly recommend the Harbor Sail with Captain Ray. Akoroa is a lovely French town and he is full of history about the area, as well.
Reviewer: Jill and Brian Manton
A wonderful experience. Weather wasn't brilliant but that's sailing! Very good value. Saw fur seals, Hector dolphins, salmon and mussel farms. Lovely yacht with an interesting history.
Reviewer: Mrs Pauline Bokay
I would thoroughly recommend this Harbor Sail and Wildlife Cruise. The Captain was knowledgeable about the town, history and wildlife. We enjoyed his commentary and saw Hector Dolphins, Fairy Penguins, Fur Seals and various birdlife at close range. Although we only had sail for a short time, the cruise was very enjoyable and a memorable part of our visit to New Zealand.
Reviewer: Marilynn Ypma
Our group of 5 ladies took this sail tour on Jan. 29 and loved every minute of it. The captain was very professional along with a sense of humor. We had a great afternoon and would highly recommend this tour.
Reviewer: Ian Waters
Just brilliant. A fantastic experience. Our captain certainly knew his stuff. All helped by good weather & great company.