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Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise - 2 Hours

Cruise around an extinct volcanic crater, experience majestic scenery and meet the Akaroa dolphins!

Akaroa, New Zealand
DurationDuration2 hours
Start & End TimeStart & End TimeStart 10.45am & 1.30pm and 3.45pm mid-Dec-Feb
Pick-Up & Drop-OffPick-Up & Drop-OffNot included
Minimum AgeMinimum AgeAll ages
Best SellerBest Seller

What's Included

  • Full commentary from the skipper and nature guide
  • Full bar facilities on board
  • Free postcard, tea, and coffee
  • Information sheets available in German, Japanese, Chinese, Spanish, French and Korean



  • Akaroa Harbour
  • White-Flippered Blue Penguin
  • Hector’s Dolphin
  • New Zealand Fur Seals
  • Nikau Palm Gully
  • Scenery Nook

What to Expect

Are you ready for an adventure? Voted the number 1 wildlife activity in New Zealand, this award-winning cruise is packed with highlights. You'll see all sorts of incredible marine animals, like the rare Hector’s Dolphin, as well as penguins and sea birds. As you travel around Akaroa Harbour, you’ll also see giant volcanic sea cliffs and learn all about Akaroa’s fascinating past. Cruises depart every day, weather permitting, so start your trip today!

Cruises depart at 10.45am and 1.30pm yearly, and at 3.45pm from mid-December to February. Check in at Main Wharf, Akaroa 30 minutes prior to departure. 

Just a 90-minute drive from Christchurch, the historic French village of Akaroa is just waiting to be explored. An epic cruise experience awaits you! Jump aboard and explore an extinct volcanic crater, soak up majestic scenery and spot some unique wildlife.

Travel in style on a modern catamaran, the 60 foot /20 metre Black Cat. It's the perfect viewing point from which to observe the natural wonders of Akaroa Harbour. With two decks for unimpeded viewing and plenty of covered seating - shade and shelter - you'll be comfortable in any weather. Inside there’s a bar and toilets. Each cruise is fully narrated by your skipper,  who has extensive knowledge of the nature, wildlife and history of the harbour.

As you travel, you'll see tons of incredible wildlife, like the rare, native dolphin - the Hector's Dolphin. There's also the chance to spot the world's smallest penguin, the White-Flippered Little Blue Penguin and other sea birds. Five different cormorant (shag) species and the endangered yellow-eyed penguin call the harbour home! You’ll also be able to see New Zealand Fur Seals sunning themselves on the rocks near Seal Bay. Wow!
As well as seeing these animals in their natural habitat, you'll have the chance to learn more about them, as each cruise is fully narrated by your skipper. With extensive knowledge of the nature, wildlife, and history of the harbor, they'll be able to tell you all about everything you see.

Besides the fascinating wildlife, there's also tons of epic landscapes, sea caves and volcanic cliffs to take in as you cruise. Akaroa Harbour was a live volcano millions of years ago, and there are many spectacular ancient lava flows that can be seen today. One cliff has a sheer 500-foot face, and another, Nikau Palm Gully, is the southernmost limit for these tropical palm trees. Oh, and don't forget to watch out for the impressive Cathedral Cave! There's also Scenery Nook, an amazing pink, purple and red volcanic amphitheatre that will take your breath away.

After cruising for 2 hours, it's time to return back to the harbour. 

Frequently Asked Questions

We suggest you wear warm clothing. Even on warm days, there may be a cool sea breeze blowing. Sun screen and a hat is a must even if it’s cloudy. Bring your camera – there are incredible views.


Our catamarans are suitable for families and for young children. The vessels have high rails, however we suggest that children are supervised at all times both for their own safety and for the enjoyment of the other people on board.

We also suggest warm clothes, a hat and sunscreen lotion.

Under 5’s travel for free. 


We welcome customers in wheelchairs, with able body companions. We’ve invested in proper ramps to enable customers to get on and off the Black Cat with ease.
Once on the Black Cat you will have access to a wide area of the bottom deck at the stern (rear) of the boat. The top deck is only accessible via a relatively steep set of steps.
The bow area is not accessible because its quite a narrow walk up each side (too narrow for a wheelchair).
You also have access to the main cabin of the vessel though this means you have to get over a 30cm lip from the back deck. In the back of the boat you will be able to see the harbour and the dolphins provided they circle the boat, which they normally do. It is however not the quietest part of the boat when she is travelling at speed because the engines are in the back.

Sorry, the toilets on board Black Cat are not wheelchair friendly.



Terms & Conditions:
  • If you don’t get to see dolphins (average 3% of cruises) we give you a voucher to cruise again with us for free (There is no monetary refund, the voucher must be used by yourself, and is not transferable to other persons).
  • To ensure maximum safety and enjoyment of the tour by yourself and other passengers you must follow all reasonable instructions given by our staff before, during and after the tour and you agree that you will ensure that any children in your care do the same. You are responsible for the safety and protection of your own personal possessions at all times.
Cancellation Policy:
  • If a passenger wishes to change or cancel their tour they must give Black Cat Cruises a minimum of 24 hours notice. Anytime later than this will incur a cancellation fee.
  • We reserve the right to cancel or change a tour or to replace any vessels at any time. Weather and sea conditions can change quickly and this may alter the status of your tour at any time. In the event that your tour is cancelled due to adverse sea or weather conditions, you are entitled to a full refund, or we will transfer your booking to an alternative date if one is available and suitable.


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