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.
My favorite spot in New Zealand. Postcard views everywhere. The Harbor Sail and Wildlife cruise was wonderful. 20 max passengers on a 1945 wooden sailing schooner with a knowledgeable, entertaining, and experienced captain at the helm. Saw Hector's dolphins, blue penguins, and a variety of shore birds.
Reviewer: Rene Schafer
A beautiful day in the Harbor - our boat was lovely and the weather was fine. I bit windy, but...we saw dolphins and penguins...
This was an amazing experience. Step off the ship and onto the sailboat. Our Skipper/Owner was excellent, and the boat is lovely. Wear warm clothing, as it can de a little cool on the water.
Reviewer: Ron P.
Captain Ray provides a wonderful tour including plenty of good humor and valuable information about the wildlife we encountered. He met us on the pier as our tender arrived from the ship and made us feel very welcome on his boat which is also his home! This is a very good choice when looking for a tour in Akaroa. Captain Ray even lets you steer the boat under his watchful eye!
Reviewer: Henry Werch
As our host, guide, and sailing crew was just one person, his skills in all these areas needed to be superb for the cruise to be successful. They were - even in choppy seas.