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Akaroa Safaris & wildlife activities

Our most recommended Akaroa Safaris & wildlife activities

Akaroa Harbour 2-Hour Nature Cruise

1. 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

2. 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

3. 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

4. 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: 3-Hour Guided Sunrise Sea Kayaking Safari

5. Akaroa: 3-Hour Guided Sunrise Sea Kayaking Safari

Experience the best of Akaroa's marine reserve on a 3-hour guided kayak safari in a small intimate group with your own local nature guide. Venture into an eco-paradise and have the chance for endangered wildlife encounters along the way. Stop at a remote beach for refreshments, a swim, or just to explore. No experience is necessary for this adventure. It’s easy and fun and suitable for anyone 12 years of age and older! 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. What you’ll actually see on the safari depends on a number of factors, but often guests report seeing cormorants diving, gannets feeding, and NZ fur seals and White flippered penguins playing. We get regular encounters with the protected and endangered Hector Dolphins which can only be found in NZ. Your tour will begin with 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 interesting events, and facts about the wildlife, flora and fauna.

Christchurch: Akaroa & Banks Peninsula Wild Penguin Eco-Tour

6. Christchurch: Akaroa & Banks Peninsula Wild Penguin Eco-Tour

Enjoy a full day adventure taking in the breath-taking scenery of the rugged Banks Peninsula coastline and farmlands. Stopover at scenic lookouts and visit quaint Little River Gallery as well as the award-winning Barrys Bay Cheese factory at Duvauchelles.  The highlight of the day is encountering wild Penguins at Flea Bay, Akaroa on the Banks Peninsula. Discover the penguin colony in their natural habitat at remote Pohatu (the largest Australasian Little Penguin colony on mainland New Zealand). Your tour includes a catered lunch, refreshments, and expert guided tour of the penguin colony by a local family of conservationists. Learn about the area’s rich history, native flora and fauna, and Pohatu’s unique penguin conservation program. Be greeted by the farm's friendly pet sheep and see White-Flippered penguins as the people of Pohatu monitor nesting sites.  If visiting between mid-November and mid-February, you may even be lucky enough to see rehabilitation efforts such as supplemental feedings and swim therapy. Pohatu have been conserving the Little Penguins for over 30 years and have 4 conservation awards for their efforts in penguin conservation, protection, and monitoring. Spending time with Pohatu even helps the preservation of these beautiful birds for future generations. 

Akaroa Harbour 2.5 -Hour Eco Tour by Sea Kayak

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

Experience the natural wonders of Akaroa Harbour by sea kayak on a 3-hour eco-friendly tour. You’ll take in one of New Zealand's most scenic and ecologically diverse natural environments. A highly experienced kayak guide leads each small group (maximum of 8 persons) to ensure a personal, informative, and safe experience. You’ll paddle to stunning remote beaches, where time stands still, and explore inlets and bays and the extinct, sea-flooded volcanic crater that protects the harbor from the open Pacific Ocean. Discover the stunning beauty of Akaroa with your local nature guide who will guide you through the marine reserve and share information about some of the rarest marine mammals in the world, that live right here in our beautiful blue backyard including white flippered penguins and hector dolphins which are native to NZ, fur seals, a large array of birdlife and many other sea creatures! The views are stunning, the guides are informative and friendly and our tours are suitable for all abilities and ages. These highly rated tours sell out quickly as we only travel in small groups to keep our impact as low as possible on the marine reserve and conservation areas we visit.

Akaroa: Scenic Coastline Wildlife Cruise

8. 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.

Other Sightseeing Options in Akaroa

Want to discover all there is to do in Akaroa? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Akaroa

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 20 reviews

We had to skip the kayaking and take the scenic penguin tour due to wind conditions. However this was communicated well in advance and the balance was refunded. Kevin was an excellent guide. We heard a lot of interesting facts about the region and highly enjoyed the scenery and the penguin experience.

It was an amazing tour! I’m so glad we got this 2 hours tour, my mom even she didn’t understand English (I was translating) she fully enjoyed it and was amazed by the conservation. Thank you a lot for everything you do, I will recommend this tour to all my friends❤️

Ended up going on the 4WD and going to the penguin colony. So interesting and educational yet fun.

Great short trip so you can do other things if you want. Weather was fantastic so views amazing

Friendly and informative crew - saw lots of beautiful scenery and wildlife.