Akaroa Harbor & Wildlife Cruise

Akaroa Harbor and Wildlife Tour (Nikau Palm Gully , Scenery Nook)
Excursion Highlights:
  • Experience the best wildlife-spotting activity in New Zealand, as voted by locals, aboard the Akaroa Harbor & Wildlife Cruise
  • Cruise on a modern catamaran around an extinct volcanic crater, witnessing majestic scenery, sea caves, and stunning volcanic cliffs
  • Enjoy unimpeded views from two spacious decks, with the guidance of a knowledgeable skipper narrating the rich history and wildlife of the harbor
  • Marvel at the world's smallest and rarest dolphins, the Hector's or New Zealand Dolphin, and spot various bird species, penguins, and fur seals
  • Visit Lucas Bay to observe a live salmon farm and witness the incredible Scenery Nook, a breathtaking volcanic amphitheater
Price: $89.00
Choose Options My Cruise Itinerary
Shore Excursion Size ? Standard
Shore Excursion Type Scenic, Water/Beach
Shore Excursion Duration 2 Hours
Activity Level ? Moderate
Shore Excursion Leaves From ? The Tender Pier Area.
Food/Beverage Provided Tea and coffee is included.
Recommended Dress We recommend wearing comfortable clothing, a waterproof jacket, and layered clothing that may be removed. Guests should bring a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen.
Restrictions Fold up wheelchairs can be stored with advance notice at the time of booking. Guests must be able to to step on and off the boat and access the ramp leading to the pier. Children ages 4 and younger may attend the tour free of charge with advanced notice at the time of booking.

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 much 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 cormorants (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.

See our FAQ for more information

4.5 Stars4.6 / 5  |  9 ReviewsReview This Tour
March 13, 2019
To see penguins, dolphins, seals etc in their natural habits was amazing! Also the scenery was out of this world.
Reviewer: Gwendola Thomas
5 Stars
Akaroa Harbour Cruise
February 05, 2019
we enjoyed our Harbor and wildlife cruise, the weather was reasonable but did get a bit choppy for some youngsters who weren't happy. It is not guaranteed to see any dolphins or penguins but I did see one Hector's Dolphin and a penguin plus other sea birds. We enjoyed our cruise and Shore Excursions are the best prices.
Reviewer: Dianne Short
4 Stars
Great sights
February 19, 2018
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: Larry King
5 Stars
Pleasant harbor cruise
January 08, 2018
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!!!
Reviewer: Bill Handworth
4 Stars
Great Experience
December 18, 2017
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: Greg
5 Stars
Akaroa Harbor & Wildlife Cruise
May 01, 2017
This excursion was very good
Reviewer: Paulette Schoenberger
4 Stars