Akaroa Harbor & Wildlife Cruise
This award winning cruise has been voted by local New Zealanders as the best wildlife spotting activity in New Zealand. You will cruise around an extinct volcanic crater and experience majestic scenery and stunning wildlife. Traveling onboard a modern catamaran, this vessel is perfect for viewing the natural wonders of Akaroa Harbor, offering lots of room on the two decks for unimpeded viewing and plenty of covered seating for shade and shelter. The cruise is fully narrated by your skipper who has extensive knowledge of the nature, wildlife, and history of the harbor.
This excursion strives to show you wildlife as well as many sea caves and volcanic cliffs. Millions of years ago Akaroa Harbor was a live volcano, and there are many spectacular ancient lava flows to be seen. One cliff has a sheer 500 foot face and a fascinating history, while Nikau Palm Gully is the southernmost limit for these tropical palm trees. There is also the incredible Scenery Nook, an amazing pink, purple, and red volcanic amphitheater that is sure to take your breath away.
The highlight of this trip is undoubtedly the sighting of one of the world's smallest and rarest dolphins, the Hector's or New Zealand Dolphin. These friendly and inquisitive mammals meet the boat most days throughout the year and their calves can be seen between October and March.
Also on the trip you will catch glimpses of fur seals, and the White Flippered Blue Penguin --the smallest penguin in the world. There are many different bird species in the harbor, including five different cormorant (shag) species, albatross, and the endangered yellow-eyed penguin.
There will also be a stop at Lucas Bay to look at a salmon farm where thousands of salmon from fingerlings to adult fish are farmed.
Reviewer: Larry King
The cruise in Akaroa was great, the beauty of the cliffs caves and rocks combined with the sighting of the seals Dolphins and penguins were perfect for numerous photo Opportunities.
Reviewer: Bill Handworth
Pleasant cruise within the crater narrated by the captain. The boat was large with inside and outside seating. We saw many Hector’s dolphins which were swimming all around and under us! Also saw several seals and other wildlife. Beautiful scenery too! Our ship was tendered right to the dock where we boarded for this cruise so couldn’t have been more convenient! We did not, however, go anywhere near the fish farm which was mentioned in the tour description. Other than than that the cruise was very enjoyable. Be prepared for some choppy water when out by the outer rim where most of the dolphins were....worth it to see them though!!!
It was cold and windy out on the open water, but I really enjoyed seeing Elephant Rock and the cave. Got great photos with a Sailboat in view. We were fortunate to see a Commercial Fisherman at work. This was a playground for 10-20 dolphins and 30-40 birds - including Albatross. It was a great experience.
Reviewer: Paulette Schoenberger
This excursion was very good
Reviewer: Donna Koek
We loved this Harbour Nature Cruise. We saw the dolphins (including a baby one!), a few penguins and the seals. The boat was comfortable and well equipped with drinks, food etc and very friendly staff. We had missed our morning booking due to lengthy delays getting off our ship and the staff at Black Cat Cruises were very helpful and swapped us to the afternoon tour instead with no problems at all. We spent the morning browsing around the lovely shops in the harbour town and then did our Harbour Cruise in the afternoon. The cruise is a wonderful way to see more of the beautiful harbour and the wildlife. Highly recommend this tour!