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Akaroa Swim with Dolphins Tour from Christchurch

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2 travellers
    What to Expect
    This day trip includes the chance to swim with Hector’s dolphins — one of the world’s smallest dolphin species — in Akaroa Harbour, a waterway teeming with marine life.

    After a morning pickup from your Christchurch hotel, enjoy a comfortable coach drive to the coastal town of Akaroa, passing breathtaking natural landmarks such as Governor’s Bay, Gebbies Pass, Lake Ellesmere, Lake Forsyth and Little River.

    On arrival, embark on a dolphin cruise over Akaroa Harbour. Keep an eye out for penguins and seals, and search the waters for curious and playful Hector’s dolphins — commonly sighted among the waves. 

    When your captain has located a pod, don your wetsuit, mask, snorkel and flippers then slip into the water. Since these endangered marine mammals are completely wild in their natural habitat, touching them is not permitted, but simply ducking down beneath the waves to marvel at the magnificent dolphins makes for an unforgettable experience. 

    After the return journey to Akaroa, enjoy free time for lunch (own expense), and explore the craft shops and French colonial buildings in this charming corner of the South Island. Your guide then accompanies you to a Barry's Bay cheese factory for a tasting session of fine New Zealand cheeses.

    Your full-day tour concludes with the return drive to Christchurch, with drop-off at your hotel.
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    Important Information
    Departure Point
    Traveler pickup is offered
    Departure Time
    8:45 AM
    Return Details
    Returns to original departure point at 5:45pm
    • Cheese tasting at Barry's Bay
    • Live commentary on board
    • Air-conditioned vehicle
    • Hotel pickup and drop-off
    • Wet suit hire
    • Use of Snorkelling equipment
    • Food and drinks, unless specified
    • Gratuities
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    Additional Info
    • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
    • Children must be 8 years and over to swim with the Dolphins
    • Customers must declare any pre-existing medical conditions. A basic level of fitness is required. Customers will be floating in the water and will be required to swim to and from the boat - distances up to 50 meters (150 feet) at a time.
    • Minimum 4 adults required before tour can operate
    • This experience requires a minimum number of travelers. If it’s canceled because the minimum isn’t met, you’ll be offered a different date/experience or a full refund
    Cancellation Policy
    If you cancel at least 7 days in advance of the scheduled departure, there is no cancellation fee. If you cancel between 3 and 6 day(s) in advance of the scheduled departure, there is a 50 percent cancellation fee. If you cancel within 2 days of the scheduled departure, there is a 100 percent cancellation fee.
    Traveller rating
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    Popular mentions
    Our driver was friendly and told us a lot about New Zealand and its animals and nature. Due to the fact that there was a cruise ship arriving in akaroa that day our tour-itinerary was turned around and we started with the cheese factory (which is really just a tiny little shop)
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    Response from Canterburyleisure, Manager at Akaroa Swim with Dolphins Tour from Christchurch
    Responded 3 weeks ago
    Caroline I am sorry that you were disappointed that due to the weather you were unable to swim with the dolphins on the day of travel. The tour was not switched around 12.00 pm and 1.00 pm are our swim times in Akaroa and the actual time of the swim on any given day depends on availability on the boats. This was very unfortunate and completely due to a change in the weather on the day of travel. Should you have the opportunity to visit Christchurch again, as explained on the day we would be happy to take you to Akaroa again without charge.
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    I left my wallet on the tour bus (100% my fault) and I was carrying a lot of cash so I was pretty worried when I lost it, but they found it and made sure to meet up with me before I flew out. Beyond the great service the price is unbeatable and our driver was so nice, and we had
    Read more
    Response from Canterburyleisure, Digital Marketing Manager at Akaroa Swim with Dolphins Tour from Christchurch
    Responded 20 Oct 2019
    Thank you Abigail for the great review and for recognition of our service! I know how stressful it can be to lose a wallet or a phone, so I'm really glad we were able to return that to you before your flight out of Christchurch. It's also great to hear that you had a nice time in Akaroa too. Akaroa is a beautiful town so we try give people as much time there to explore on their own as possible. As for your swim with dolphins tour, that's awesome to hear you got to see so many. This month there have been more and more sightings of large groups of Hector's Dolphins in the harbour so it means that our customers have had the privilege of swimming with large pods of dolphins at the same time! Thanks again for the awesome review and recommendation. We hope you get to visit NZ again soon!
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    A group of 8 of us came as we were independently traveling as we are studying abroad! We booked the dolphin swim from Christchurch and the ride over was absolutely amazing. The bus driver was very kind and gave a lot of great information! It ended up being that our group was the
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    Response from Canterburyleisure, Digital Marketing Manager at Akaroa Swim with Dolphins Tour from Christchurch
    Responded 19 Oct 2019
    Thanks for the great review! I am really pleased you had a nice time on your Swim with Dolphins tour in Akaroa. It is a great drive from Christchurch to Akaroa, and I'm pleased that our driver made it all the more special. I'll be sure to pass on your kind words. It's also great to hear that it was just your group on the boat too, and that you got to see 25-30 dolphins. Seeing so many dolphins in the harbour is fairly uncommon, but such sightings is something that does become more frequent in the Spring and Summer months. Either way, you're quite lucky to see so many of these rare dolphins! Thanks again for the positive review. All the best with your studies!
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    Awesome tour! I was the only one who booked this transfer so I got to talk to the driver and learn even more about the area than usual. Cheese factory stop on the way was neat and we got to taste 4 cheeses. We got to akaroa early so I got extra time in the town to walk to the
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    Response from Canterburyleisure, Digital Marketing Manager at Akaroa Swim with Dolphins Tour from Christchurch
    Responded 1 Jan 2019
    Thanks for such a positive review Amy. I'm really pleased you enjoyed the beautiful harbour of Akaroa. And it's always great to hear that you had a nice time with both your driver/guide and booked activities. The Hectors Dolphin's are usually quite comfortable around people and its not uncommon for them to get very close to the swimmers. And as they are some of the world's rarest dolphins, it's a real thrill to see them! Thanks again for the positive review and I hope you have the opportunity to visit New Zealand again at some point in the future.
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    We had a good day trip from Christchurch to Akaroa. But we didn't go and see the cheese factory. Our guide was a lovely guy but for some reason he picked us up from Akaroa too late.
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    Response from Canterburyleisure, Manager at Akaroa Swim with Dolphins Tour from Christchurch
    Responded 22 Mar 2018
    Thank you for taking the time to submit your review. The Akaroa Doplhin Swimming Day Tour from Christchurch does not normally include a visit to the Cheese Factory, that visit is part of our Akoaroa Day Tour with Lunch and Harbour Cruise. Following the Dolphin Swim we normally allow our customers time to look around the village of Akaroa and get a late lunch prior to returning to Christchurch. I am sorry if you thought the departure time from Akaora was too late. It has been our expereince over the years that our customers enjoy a lesiurely lunch and look around the village and appreciate not being rushed.
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    About the operator
    By: Leisure Tours
    319 reviews
    Moscow, Russia
    A quick tour of the Waipara Valley wineries
    It was a quick and fun tour on the 4 wineries in the Waipara valley. The guide was fun and knowledgeable. Got to
    Read more
    Peter M
    The history and the scenic surrounds
    The amazing history of how the town came to be and the geological formations created by volcanic actions.
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    Aiken, South Carolina
    Don't Take This Tour if You're Taller that 5'5"
    The tour bus seated sixteen people. The seats were narrow with virtually no leg room. My husband I and were so
    Read more
    Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
    Visit to Akaroa and Christ Church
    Tour guide was extremely knowledgeable about both Akaroa and Chrsit Church. Christ Church is quite a distance from
    Read more
    Hoi An, Vietnam
    Lovely day out
    Loved the tour. Guide Dennis was amazing and told us so much about nz. Very interesting to see how Christchurch
    Read more
    Not enough time
    Transfer from the ship was dealyed, so we arrived at 1032 at the meeting point, our bus had already left and we
    Read more
    London, United Kingdom
    Waipara Wine Trail
    Lovely locations and wines. We were impressed by the history of the vineyards and the fact that they were family
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    beautiful afternoon
    Good wine, great lunch. Everyone was friendly. Enjoyed touring with a couple from Australia. The region is mostly
    Read more
    Maťa K
    Wonderful day off!
    Thank you very much for this great experience! Everything was excellent, our guide picked us up at our
    Read more
    Great way to spend an afternoon
    Excellent commentary on the way out before a tasty lunch. And which winery had the best wine? Go along and decide
    Read more
    Houston, Texas
    Everything you needed to know about Christchurch.
    This was a great tour, made even more special because of the commentary and knowledge of our guide/driver, Scotty.
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    Yogesh B
    Melbourne, Australia
    Very Pleased to say it was well worth the trip and good value for money!!!!!
    We landed on shore in Akaroa from the ship by tender. We pre-booked this tour and glad we did as we have great
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    Exceptional Customer Service
    We were a group of 6 senior adults who engaged Leisure Tours for this tour. The tour itself was as advertised.
    Read more
    Larnach and Speights
    This is an excellent tour--our driver (Russell I think) was an excellent guide who knew the town super well, and
    Read more
    Brilliant volunteers on this scenic tour
    Due to miscommunication from Princess Cruises and the Dunedin Railways, cousins who were to join us on this tour,
    Read more
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