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Akaroa Shore Excursion: Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise

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    What to Expect
    After your cruise ship docks the Akaroa terminal, catch the tender to the main wharf, making sure to arrive a minimum of 30 minutes before your 2-hour nature cruise departs for Akaroa Harbour.

    Find yourself a perfect spot on the 60-foot (18-meter) luxury catamaran, which offers a choice of two observation decks that provide plenty of unobstructed views of Akaroa’s wildlife. Sip complimentary coffee and tea while the skipper shares information about the harbor’s natural history and geographical features — such as Cathedral Cave and the volcanic amphitheater of Scenery Nook — and brings your attention to any marine life.

    Motor past Akaroa Lighthouse and keep an eye out for petite Hector’s dolphins, whose calves often swim alongside the boat between October and March. You may also encounter white-flippered penguins — the world’s smallest penguin — or the endangered yellow-eyed penguin.

    Snap photos of New Zealand fur seals basking on the rocks at Seal Bay, and make a stop at a salmon farm in Lucas Bay to learn how Akaroa salmon are raised, before your boat returns to the dock.

    This excursion is located within a 5-minute walk to the cruise port, so you determine the time you return to your ship in Akaroa. Please allow yourself ample time to enjoy the excursion and ensure your timely return to the port. This excursion is not covered by our worry-free policy.
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    Important Information
    Departure Point
    Akaroa's main wharf
    Return Details
    Returns to original departure point
    • Full on-board commentary
    • Tea and coffee
    • Pickup and drop-off from designated meeting points
    • Gratuities
    • Food and drinks, unless specified
    • Worry-free Shore Excursion Guarantee
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    Additional Info
    • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
    • Please bring light jacket, sun protection and camera
    • This experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund
    Cancellation Policy
    For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.
    Traveller rating
    • 33
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    • 1
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    • English
    Popular mentions
    They said we would see dolphins and that we did, hundreds of them, they were so beautiful and a privilege to see them in the wild. The scenery was beautiful too and our captain was very informative, he didn’t go on he talked just the right amount allowing us to enjoy the
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    The whole family really enjoyed the cruise, the crew were excellent, and got to see plenty of dolphins and seals and Albatros
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    The captain of the catamaran did a great job finding and pointing out the wildlife which included Hector Dolphins (smallest and rarest dolphin in the world), White Flippered Blue Penguin (smallest penguin in the world), and seals. It is best to wear layered clothes and come
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    Response from BlackCat_NZ, Manager at Akaroa Shore Excursion: Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise
    Responded 25 May 2019
    Hi gregjmh, thanks so much for your feedback and review on TripAdvisor. It sounds like you saw an abundance of wildlife out there! Yes, it's always good to bring a few extra layers with you and the wind can get a little chilly out on the water - even in Summer! We hope you enjoyed the rest of your cruise ship journey around NZ and we hope you can come and visit us in Akaroa again soon.
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    Really good trip .... saw everything I hoped to .... the only reason it’s not 5 stars is because the boat was very crowded so couldn’t always see well ... the captain tried hard to let all see but just too may people.
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    Response from BlackCat_NZ, Manager at Akaroa Shore Excursion: Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise
    Responded 25 May 2019
    Hi Moosenewfie, thank very much for your feedback on TripAdvisor. Sounds like a fabulous trip and glad you saw what you had hoped to. I'm very sorry you were unable to see some of the wildlife due to there being quite a few people of board. We recommend moving around the boat depending on what is happening at the time, and the sea conditions. The boat has viewing areas in the bow, top deck, walk around decks and there is a large area at the stern and also a big main cabin. The bow is normally the best place to see dolphins but they can be viewed from everywhere on board as they tend to swim all around the boat. For the seal viewing it will depend on which direction the skipper approaches from, and that may depend on the wind but the port or left hand side is normally best. We hope you can join us on another tour one day soon.
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    The crew was great and the captain was outstanding. I would do this trip again and again. On our trip we were so lucky to see penguins swimming in the water all day during this journey. The Hector dolphins were constantly swimming and jumping. The water was crystal clear so
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    Response from BlackCat_NZ, Manager at Akaroa Shore Excursion: Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise
    Responded 25 May 2019
    Hi Kathy D, thank you very much for taking the time to write us such a wonderful review on TripAdvisor. It sounds like you had a magical day out on Akaroa Harbour! I'll certainly pass your feedback on to the crew - they will be thrilled! We hope you enjoyed the rest of your journey around NZ and hope you can visit us again soon :-)
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    About the operator
    By: Black Cat Cruises
    1,453 reviews
    Certificate of Excellence
    Good experience ind the Akaroa bay
    We saw dolphins, seals, penguin and other birds. The captain explained very nicely during the whole cruise.
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    Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
    This is a must do adventure when visiting Akaroa. Emmy & Chris took us out and were both fabulous. We quickly
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    Calum M
    Amazing experience swimming with wild Hector's Dolphins with great guides!
    From the outset it is made clear that the staff at Black Cat really care for the dolphins and their future. No
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    Newport, United Kingdom
    Wish we had more time to do it again.
    It was our first day in NZ and we already managed to see few pods of Hector dolphins and NZ fur seals. Swim itself
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    Excellent way to experience the harbor with a knowledgeable guide
    The cruise was the highlight of our holiday in Akaroa. Kate's knowledge and witty commentary added to the
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    Not what is advertised
    We unfortunately did not get to swim with any dolphins, which is not the fault of the company, as the dolphins are
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    Dunedin, New Zealand
    Well worth it!
    Good value for money, great staff - knowledgeable and super friendly. Clean, tidy modern boat, well presented and
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    Wanaka, New Zealand
    Good but didn’t swim with dolphins
    Good experience, staff were lovely & very accommodating... unfortunately didn’t really go swimming with the
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    Sarah W
    Los Alamos, New Mexico
    Easy Way to See Akaroa’s Marine Treasures
    Black Cat was a great way to experience the marine life and coastal beauty around Akaroa. We had two kids with us
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    Fantastic experience
    It was a quite outstanding experience to be in the water with the wild dolphines playing around us. Supporting and
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    Grumpy G
    Great trip
    We booked this independently as it was something we really wanted to do and we had a great time. There is no
    Read more
    Imogen W
    Wellington, New Zealand
    Amazing views and wonderful guide
    We had a fantastic cruise. Julian was knowledgeable, funny and warm. His commentary was spot on. The animals we
    Read more
    Canvey Island, United Kingdom
    Awesome afternoon
    Didn’t expect much ! But it was awesome we saw lots and lots of dolphins, penguins and seals ! We could not have
    Read more
    Adelaide, Australia
    Relaxing cruise
    They said we would see dolphins and that we did, hundreds of them, they were so beautiful and a privilege to see
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    Royal Tunbridge Wells, United Kingdom
    Fantastic experience
    We booked the swim with dolphins tour and from the moment we arrived we were greeted with a warm welcome from the
    Read more
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