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Akaroa
Nature & adventure

Nature & adventure

Our most recommended Akaroa Nature & adventure

Akaroa: Dolphin Nature Cruise

1. Akaroa: Dolphin Nature Cruise

Embark on a journey of discovery with the knowledgable crew and expert dolphin-spotting dogs, as they unveil the breathtaking highlights, enchanting magic, and captivating wonder that Akaroa Harbour has to offer. This company holds a Department of Conservation Marine Mammal Viewing Permit, meaning legally they are able to take guests to view dolphins & seals. Only two permitted companies operate all year round. For conservation reasons, they do not swim with the dolphins. Their luxurious low-lying catamaran provides a closer encounter with the rare Hector's dolphins. Along the way, you will also learn about the incredible history & see NZ fur seals, penguins, seabirds, sea caves & spectacular volcanic formations. Enjoy a complimentary drink of local NZ wine, beer, or juice, as well as delicious home baking. A 100% locally owned & operated family business, going back 7 generations to the area, who are committed to raising awareness with a portion of your fare going towards conservation efforts protecting the precious wildlife & marine environment. Please note, they have a high success rate with dolphin sightings all year round, as we are in a hotspot for the Hector's dolphins. However, as the dolphins are wild they can never guarantee to see them. If your tour does not see a dolphin, you will be offered another trip free of charge. No refunds will be given in the event of not seeing dolphins. To learn more please visit their website.

Akaroa: Swimming with Wild Dolphins 3-Hour Experience

2. Akaroa: Swimming with Wild Dolphins 3-Hour Experience

Swim with the endangered Hector’s Dolphin, the world’s rarest and smallest oceanic dolphin. On New Zealand’s ultimate dolphin experience, you’ll have the chance to see and swim with Hector's dolphins close up, in the wild.  Check-in at Akaroa’s main wharf and meet the friendly crew who will provide you with a warm wetsuit, mask, snorkel, booties, gloves, and a hood if necessary. Climb aboard the jet-powered catamaran and cruise out into the sheltered harbor. The highly trained crew will give you a safety briefing and explain how to interact responsibly with the dolphins.  With only 12 swimmers permitted per vessel, you’ll have a greater chance of seeing the dolphins up close. Gear up and slip into the tranquil harbor waters to join the dolphins their natural habitat. The covered vessel has no propellers, making it safer for you and the dolphins. Warm up in the heated cabin or take a hot shower afterwards. Hector's dolphins are protected in Akaroa Harbor by a marine mammal sanctuary. The tour operator was the first cruise boat company in the world to gain the coveted Green Globe 21, an international program to ensure best environmental practices. A portion of every ticket sale goes towards the research and conservation of Hector's dolphins.

Akaroa Harbour 2-Hour Nature Cruise

3. Akaroa Harbour 2-Hour Nature Cruise

Experience an award-winning nature cruise of Akaroa Habor. Discover wildlife like dolphins, seals, penguins, and other seabirds. Gaze upon giant volcanic sea cliffs and hear about Akaroa's fascinating past.  Travel on a modern catamaran, which is perfect for viewing the natural wonders of Akaroa Harbour. There's lots of room on the two decks for unimpeded viewing and plenty of covered seating for shade and shelter. Inside, for your convenience you'll find a bar and washrooms. Each cruise is fully narrated by your skipper who has extensive knowledge of the nature, wildlife and the history of the harbour. As Akaroa Harbour was a live volcano millions of years ago, there are many 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 will take your breath away.

Akaroa: 4WD Safari and Guided Sea-Kayaking Experience

4. Akaroa: 4WD Safari and Guided Sea-Kayaking Experience

Enjoy a memorable sea-kayaking experience from Akaroa with two departure options. No experience is necessary because the trips are run in settled safe conditions by an experienced and knowledgeable guide.  Depart from Akaroa for a scenic drive in a 4WD minivan over the crater rim of the Akaroa volcano to Pohatu Flea Bay. Learn about the region from your local guide and, during the afternoon trip, stop for photo opportunities along the way. Then, it is time to gear up and climb into the double kayaks. Your safety is the top priority and the experience can be mind-blowing with the right sea conditions. Explore the outer coast of Pohatu Marine Reserve and marvel at its spectacular towering cliffs, rock stacks, reefs, and deep sea caves. Flea Bay Island and the impressive island arch can be reached in settled sea conditions. Marvel at the diverse wildlife and marine species such as penguins, seals, various seabirds, and possibly the world’s smallest dolphin.

Akaroa: Pohatu Little Penguins 3-Hour Evening Experience

5. Akaroa: Pohatu Little Penguins 3-Hour Evening Experience

Join the tour from Akaroa for a scenic drive by a 4WD minivan over the crater rim of the Akaroa volcano to Pohatu/Flea Bay. Listen as your guide shares with you the history and unique wildlife of Akara. Stop for photo opportunities where you can gaze across Akaroa harbor and enjoy stunning views of the endless Pacific Ocean. On arrival, walk around the colony to monitor nesting sites, collect data, and make sure that the birds are doing well. Spot the penguins undisturbed, socializing on the water, and with darkness falling, a very high likelihood of some returning to shore. Binoculars and camouflage gear are provided to maximize viewing abilities. Darkness will signal the end of the activity, as artificial lighting disturbs the birds so is not used. At certain times of the year, you may even see some of the rehabilitation efforts, such as supplemental feeding.

Akaroa: Pohatu Penguins Scenic Nature 2-Hour or 4-Hour Tour

6. Akaroa: Pohatu Penguins Scenic Nature 2-Hour or 4-Hour Tour

Join a 4WD eco-tourism safari to the spectacular award-winning Wild Side Conservation area. Depart Akaroa for a scenic drive in a 4WD minivan over the crater rim of the Akaroa volcano to Pohatu Flea Bay. Along the way, learn the region's history from your local guide. Stop for photo opportunities with views of Akaroa harbor and the Pacific Ocean. Arrive at a local family's farm where you can meet friendly pet sheep and hand-feed them for a real kiwi experience. In season, monitor nesting sites with your guide and learn about the conservation work done for the largest colony of little penguins on mainland New Zealand. At certain times of the year, you may even see some of the rehabilitation efforts such as supplemental feeding. The extended 4-hour tour includes visits to the spectacular cliff-tops of Akaroa Heads Lighthouse Reserve. You will have more time to enjoy the area with homemade muffins and cakes, and more time to see the native wildlife and to explore Flea Bay. This activity directly funds the conservation work that takes place at Pohatu Bay to protect the penguins.

Akaroa Harbour 2-2.5 -Hour Eco Tour by Sea Kayak

7. Akaroa Harbour 2-2.5 -Hour Eco Tour by Sea Kayak

Experience the natural wonders of Akaroa Harbour harbour and marine reserve by sea kayak on a 2.5 hour sustainable tour. Paddle in one of New Zealand's most scenic and ecologically diverse natural environments. Akaroa is one of the best places to sea kayak in NZ! A local kayak/nature guide leads each small group to ensure a personal, informative, and safe experience. We are the most sustainable tour in Akaroa and leave minimum impact on the fragile marine reserve which is our backyard. Paddle and explore serene inlets and bays as you glide through the turquoise waters of the extinct, sea-flooded volcanic crater. Your nature guide will guide you through the marine reserve and share information about some of the rarest marine mammals in the world including white flippered penguins and hector dolphins which are native to NZ, fur seals, a large array of birdlife and many other sea creatures! Chance sightings are very frequent during the sea kayak season! The views are stunning, there are lots of caves and features to paddle through, the guides are informative, friendly and the best in the business and our tours are suitable for all abilities.

Akaroa: Guided Sea Kayaking Safari at Sunrise

8. Akaroa: Guided Sea Kayaking Safari at Sunrise

Experience Akaroa's premium guided sea kayak tour through the tranquil marine reserve on a 3-hour guided tour. Enjoy taking part in the most sustainable tour in Akaroa. Travel in small intimate group with your own local nature guide to avoid any disturbance to the conservation areas. Venture into an eco-paradise and have the chance for endangered wildlife encounters along the way. We are located in the heart of Akaroa and offer the most water time possible during the kayak tour as we do not have to travel to launch. The early morning trip can make for spectacular conditions and encounters. We are always the first operators on the water and usually have the whole harbour to ourselves with other tour boats only starting as we are finishing our tour. Your tour also includes a comprehensive safety briefing, your guide will then lead you through the turquoise waters and provide brief stops on the water to share information about areas of interest, and facts about the wildlife, flora and fauna. For alot of paddlers this is the highlight of their NZ holiday. Highlights include witnessing cormorants diving, NZ fur seals swimming and sunbathing on the rocks, White flippered penguins preening as well as regular magical encounters with the protected and endangered Hector Dolphins which can only be found in NZ.

Akaroa: Wildlife Sailing Cruise with Dolphins and Penguins

9. Akaroa: Wildlife Sailing Cruise with Dolphins and Penguins

Sail with dolphins in the harbor as well as the Pacific Ocean. Visit caves, cliffs and waterfalls along the journey. See penguins, seals, and albatrosses as well as a myriad of other seabirds. Learn about the French, Maori, and English local history along the way. Experience the age of sail aboard a traditional sailboat, The Fox II. The Fox II is a wooden (kauri) gaff-rigged ketch that was hand built in 1922 in Auckland. We are proudly Kiwi and privately owned and have been operating in Akaroa Harbour for over 30 years. The Fox II has received the Qualmark Gold Accreditation, recognizing it as one of the most high-quality, safe, and sustainable experiences in New Zealand.

Akaroa: Scenic Coastline Wildlife Cruise

10. Akaroa: Scenic Coastline Wildlife Cruise

Join us for a wildlife tour that explores the spectacular volcanic coastline and abundant wildlife of Banks Peninsula and Akaroa. Our tour numbers are kept limited, offering you a small and intimate tour that will take you where others can’t. Some of the wildlife you’ll get to see include little blue penguins and an array of seabirds. Our friendly and knowledgeable crew love meeting and talking with our guests and Scruffy, our friendly boat dog, joins us on afternoon trips! Tony, a real Kiwi, has been exploring the waters around the Peninsula since the 1960s. He’ll entertain you with his the stories of his adventures and share his enthusiasm for this wonderful environment and stunning wildlife. Our characterful and comfortable boat - Wairiri, is a 41-foot Kauri Launch built in 1964. Our tours specialise in small groups and enough space to move around the boat for the best wildlife viewing and photo opportunities! Tony often still has a lobster pot out and we pull it up on some of our trips. We never know what we find in it: Lobster, octopus, conger eel, starfish and sand sharks are just a few of the creatures we might have caught.

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What people are saying about Akaroa

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 57 reviews

It was amazing! The guides and skippers were all great fun. Lots of joking around. Great vibe. And we saw many dolphins and the swimming was absolutely unreal. Magical to be so close to these beautiful creatures. There is a guide with you in the water so you’ll feel completely safe at all times. Definitely recommend if you get the chance!

This was a great excursion. On a sailboat. We had about 15 people plus 3 crew members on board. The tour narration was interesting. We wondered if a 3 hr cruise would feel too long. I think it was just right. We were able to see a lot of dolphins as they swam around our boat and then raced along when we were moving faster.

The whole package was brilliant; a bit different and varied. From beautiful scenery, a fabulous walk, fun accommodation (we stayed in the tree house -take a torch, meeting the penguins and kayaking. The only improvement I would suggest is more information about where to go and when during the 24 hours

Awesome we got to see everything we got told about and staff were great thank you and will recommend anybody to do it beautiful place as well

Went with wife and adult son (not an option below)