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.
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.
Reviewer: Jerome Zink
Sailing in Akoroa Harbour was literally a little bit of heaven. The boat's captain was very informative, telling us about the area. We were surrounded by adorable Hector's dolphins, as well as penguins. Too cute! And the captain allowed some of us to take the helm of the boat. As sailors, we loved this. We highly recommend this shore excursion.
Reviewer: Joe Mayfield
Any time we get to sail is wonderful but this was even more so with seeing the Hectors Dolphins and Crested Penguins. Absolutely wonderful and the town was so friendly and clean. This tour is the absolute best.
Reviewer: Gail McKibben
Captain Ray was very entertaining unfortunately it was a cold rainy day which took away from the trip but we had a great time in spite of the weather and would highly recommend it
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.