Tours and Tickets
Swimming with Wild Dolphins in Akaroa
4.5

Swimming with Wild Dolphins in Akaroa

By Black Cat Cruises
About
Swim in the vicinity of wild dolphins on this Akaroa Harbour cruise, limited to 12 passengers. You’ll chance upon Hector’s dolphins, the world’s smallest and rarest dolphins, in their natural habitat. A wetsuit and mask are provided for your experience in the water, followed by a hot beverage and shower.
from
$219.00
per adult
Lowest price guaranteeReserve now & pay laterFree cancellation

Ages 16-99, max of 12 per group
Duration: 3h
Start time: Check availability
Mobile ticket
Features animals
Live guide: English
More

Highlights
  • Akaroa Harbour dolphin cruise
  • Swim in the natural habitat of wild dolphins
  • Covered vessel with heated cabin and hot drinks
  • Limit of 12 passengers permitted per departure

  • 3-hours Including suiting up/showers (2 hrs out on the water)
  • Wetsuit and mask (for those swimming)
  • Hot Chocolate & biscuit
  • Includes a full, live commentary from skipper
  • Hot Shower Facilities
  • Final Check in is 15 minutes prior to Tour Time
What's not included
  • Hotel pickup and drop-off


Departure details
  • Akaroa, Main Wharf, Akaroa, Christchurch 7520, New Zealand Departure Point: Akaroa's main wharf Dates: 1st October through to 30th April Return point: Cruise returns to original point of departure
  • Akaroa, Main Wharf, Akaroa, Christchurch 7520, New Zealand
Return details
  • Returns to original departure point

  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Near public transportation
If you have questions about accessibility, we’d be happy to help. Just call the number below and reference the product code: 3661SWDS_SWDW

  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Travellers should have a moderate physical fitness level
  • Children Swimmers between 8yrs and 12yrs must be accompanied by an adult swimmer.
  • Children between 13yrs and 17yrs must be accompanied by an adult spectator.
  • Akaroa is ideally situated, only a 110 minute drive from Christchurch International Airport. You can either drive yourself or catch one of the shuttles, which operate daily between Christchurch city center and Akaroa.
  • Life Jackets are not provided or permitted and if one is required this product is not suitable, please join our Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise.
  • In the event that you do not have a successful swim a 30% refund will be processed.
  • Minimum age for a child to Swim with Dolphins is 8yrs and to join as a spectator 4yrs
  • Final Check in time is 15 minutes prior to Tour Time
  • If you have Asthma/Allergies please know you are required to have your inhaler/EpiPen with you
  • Please reconfirm your reservation the day prior so weather updates can be given.
  • All medical conditions need to be declared as this product may not be suitable due to injuries or recent surgeries.
  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s cancelled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 12 travellers

  • For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.

How much is Swimming with Wild Dolphins in Akaroa?
Swimming with Wild Dolphins in Akaroa price starts from $224.61. Discover and book Swimming with Wild Dolphins in Akaroa on Tripadvisor
What is the Swimming with Wild Dolphins in Akaroa cancellation policy?
Swimming with Wild Dolphins in Akaroa cancellation policy: For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience. Discover and book Swimming with Wild Dolphins in Akaroa on Tripadvisor
Which company provides Swimming with Wild Dolphins in Akaroa?
Swimming with Wild Dolphins in Akaroa is hosted by Black Cat Cruises. Read reviews, discover additonal experiences or contact Black Cat Cruises on Tripadvisor. Discover and book Swimming with Wild Dolphins in Akaroa on Tripadvisor
How much time do I need for Swimming with Wild Dolphins in Akaroa?
On average, this experience will take approximately 3h. Discover and book Swimming with Wild Dolphins in Akaroa on Tripadvisor

If you have questions about this tour or need help making your booking, we’d be happy to help. Just call the number below and reference the product code: 3661SWDS_SWDW

Reserve your spot

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About the operator
Black Cat Cruises
1,516
Akaroa, New Zealand
Joined in October 2008

#7 of 17 Boat Tours & Water Sports in Akaroa
  • travlndo
    travlndo
    0
    0
    Daz the Dolphin Whisperer
    A very succussful cruise. We found pods of a few Hector dolphins close to the headlands to the Pacific Ocean. They circled, chased, and ducked under our boat in numbers from 2-4. My wife observed a trio of dolphins breach as if performing a synchronization routine, an image of a lifetime. I was able to catch (barely) photos of them cavorting but neither saw nor had the opportunity to capture this wild, spontaneous action. I did get a number of good images of the other sea life and of the headlands landscapes which were partially trapped in sea fog banks. Thanks to the advice of the reservations desk, we avoided a mob scene of school children on the similar morning cruise. We fit in well with our co-cruisers who were practically all adults. After Seasickness issues on a whale seeking cruise, I began taking seasickness pills 2 hours before departure, kept taking per instructions, and avoided wearing to much clothing to avoid overheating. Also, this cruise was in better protected waters with much smaller swells.
  • Guide51878594173
    Guide51878594173
    0
    0
    Fantastic seeing dolphins
    Fantastic trip, scenery was wonderful and was great to see the dolphins! Would definitely recommend!
  • foxiemoxie
    foxiemoxie
    0
    0
    Best two hours spent!
    Fabulous cruise with a superb crew and commentary. Loved finding out about the history of the area. The cruise time of two hours was perfect for our young family.
  • Stay48615238968
    Stay48615238968
    0
    0
    A great cruise.
    A wonderful cruise even on a rainy, cold day. Beautiful scenery, lovely crew. Lots of dolphins. Highly recommended.
  • marksO3007JZ
    marksO3007JZ
    0
    0
    Do this in any weather!
    The views of the harbour from the boat were amazing! The weather was overcast and windy on the day we went out but this experience can be enjoyed in any weather...and what put a smile on everyone's face were the lots of Hectors dolphins waving to us from the boat when we got to the heads. Staff were friendly and well informed, the boat comfortable and really fit-for-purpose. I don't think babies should be dragged along by their parents to do anything like this; they of course can't understand what's going on and react accordingly which means the parents have to look after it...and nobody likes a screaming kid.
  • Sherpa60082944670
    Sherpa60082944670
    0
    0
    Three out of three!!
    Great experience seeing the animals in their natural environment. Crew were friendly and informative.
  • rebeccawX584GL
    rebeccawX584GL
    0
    0
    Nature at its best.
    We had a wonderful time! The staff were helpful and friendly. The weather was perfection and the views incredible. Loved seeing the cute little dolphins!
  • DayTrip50083770706
    DayTrip50083770706
    0
    0
    Loved it
    I loved it all. Amazing views. Staff is great! From the bookings to the crew. We enjoyed the whole experience! We’ve done this in summer and winter. Both seasons are espectacular.
  • Lexa_Dixon
    Lexa_Dixon
    0
    0
    A Magical Journey in Akaroa
    Had a fantastic day. Very informative and a magical journey. My special needs kids had a real blast. Thank you! I must say, my kids are still talking about their dolphin sightings lol
  • WendyWalker1302
    WendyWalker1302
    0
    0
    Absolutely stunning!
    Really great harbour cruise. The scenery is absolutely stunning. The crew were friendly and knowledgeable. We got to see some dolphins which was amazing. Overall a very good experience and definitely worth doing.
  • nzflossy
    nzflossy
    0
    0
    Fantastic
    Sadly due to the weather we were unable to go on our cruise. However, the reason for posting this review is because of the amazing service and communication from Thomas. Thomas, thank you. I am sure, had we gone on our cruise, the 5 star rating would remain.
  • Ling15
    Ling15
    0
    0
    Awesome trip
    Great experience. Spent 2 hours cruising around the bay. Seen dolphins and seals. Highly recommended
  • toomanysecretpasswo
    toomanysecretpasswo
    0
    0
    Hectors Dolphins on Akaroa Harbour cruise
    Really enjoyed the harbour cruise. We saw lots of Hectors dolphins very close to the boat. We also saw cute little seals and lots of seabirds. Staff were friendly and helpful. It was great to be able to walk around the boat or sit inside if you wanted to. There was a full commentary but it was hard to understand it outside the cabin, tho they turned the volume up. All good tho. I would recommend this trip
  • Kyle T
    Kyle T
    0
    0
    Amazing
    The best boat cruise/ activity I have been on in NZ. Staff were very accommodating, the boat is very well set out. The weather wasn’t the best and the Black Cat handled it so well keep us warm and dry. Lots of Dolphins and great scenery! Highly recommend
  • HCEPCDC
    HCEPCDC
    0
    0
    Fantastic boat trip
    A wonderful trip with beautiful scenery and fantastic wildlife including seals and dolphins. The staff on the boat and booking desk provided excellent customer service and great commentary on the boat trip. Would highly recommend.
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4.5
132 reviews
Excellent
108
Very good
8
Average
5
Poor
7
Terrible
4

Lindsey H
2 contributions
Jan 2020
My husband and I chose to swim with the Hector dolphins with Black Cat Cruises while on our honeymoon to NZ. We were very impressed with all staff members we encountered and the overall organization of the facility/operation. Our swim met all our expectations as we understand the animals seen are truly wild animals and therefore unpredictable. We encountered several small pods of dolphins which were interested in the boat, swam near the boat for a while, interacted with us for a few minutes, then swam off. Our guides were excellent at finding nearby pods when the current pod lost interest in us humans. Due to the "lack" of interest the dolphins had, our guide ensured all passengers received a 25% refund as promised when dolphins are a little less participatory than usual. The accountability and honesty Black Cat Cruises upheld was impressive and validated our choice of a reputable company to book our tour with. Additionally, our guides were very knowledgeable about the wildlife in the area and demonstrated true concern for the overall well-being of the exquisite ecosystem Akaroa has to offer.

When we completed our swim, the waters were very cold and as an individual with a circulation condition, I would highly recommend the staff offer gloves to passengers in the future if at all possible. (Although I was a competitive swimmer my entire life and am used to differing water temperatures, my fingers turned entirely white and numb from the tips to the second knuckle after a short time in the water).
Written 28 January 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Hi W2865KGlindseym, thanks so much for taking the time to review us on TripAdvisor. We really appreciate your feedback regarding gloves and will pass this on to our operations team at our next monthly meeting! Despite the dolphins being a little shy, it sounds like you still had a brilliant time out on the water! We hope you can come out with us again soon.
Written 9 March 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Calum M
52 contributions
Dec 2019
From the outset it is made clear that the staff at Black Cat really care for the dolphins and their future. No promises are made that you will see anything and the importance of not touching them is enforced due to the dolphin's sensitive skin that can be torn with even a sharp nail.

The boat ride through and out of the bay was great fun in itself, I highly recommend standing out on the bow to enjoy the waves and views!

It was great fun helping our guides Kate and Harry to spot the dorsal fins of the dolphins popping up to get an idea where they were.

We managed to get a great swim with around 14 of them at one point, also managing to see an albatross, fur seal and a penguin!

Kate and Harry were very informative and were just as excited as us to see the Dolphins even though they get to do it every day which made the experience that much better.

Couldn't recommend this tour enough, brilliant day out!
Written 16 January 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Hi Calum M, wow thank you so much for your amazing review of your tour - Swimming with Dolphins! I'll certainly pass your lovely feedback on to Harry and Kate, they will be thrilled! Sounds like you had a brilliant day out, 14 Hector's dolphins would have been just magic! I hope you can come out on another tour with us again soon.
Written 7 March 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Georgia F
5 contributions
Jan 2020 • Couples
We had an unbelievable trip with black cat cruises to see the hector dolphin, Harry and Hannah were especially brilliant they had top knowledge and were super friendly. We saw a mother and baby dolphin followed by swimming with 12 dolphins, truly amazing both on and off the boat. Would recommend the 6.30am trip, it’s painfully early but well worth it.
Written 21 January 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Hi georgiafrost4, thanks for reviewing us on TripAdvisor - we appreciate it so much! Sounds like you had magic day out on the water with Harry and Hannah - I'll make sure to pass on your feedback to them. Awww amazing you got to see a mother and baby, that's so cool and such a treat! We hope you can come out with us again soon!
Written 7 March 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Beccah E.
5 contributions
Jan 2020 • Couples
We unfortunately did not get to swim with any dolphins, which is not the fault of the company, as the dolphins are wild and unpredictable. But the low rating comes from the lack of adequate advertising. IF the dolphins chose to come near you, you aren’t really swimming with them. You wade water and cross your fingers that they come near you. Don’t expect to see them underwater, it’s only what you can see above water. Also, the description says it’s a 3 hour tour and you’ll be in the water for 2...that actually means one hour of instructions and getting ready, 2 hours on the boat, and about 15 minutes in the water. Also, the nice, warm showers is a communal room of shower heads. Hope you enjoy stripping down in front of strangers! Not worth the money for a small chance to be in the water at the same time dolphins are nearby. Look for something else.
Written 11 January 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Hi TNtoNZ, thanks for taking the time to review us on TripAdvisor. We are sorry that the tour did not meet your expectation and will certainly take your feedback on board. One of things we pride our tours on, is that the experience is completely in the wild and on the terms of the dolphin, hence we cannot guarantee that the dolphins will come up to you. We hope you can come out with us again soon.
Written 7 March 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

goodwinfamily111
Cardiff, UK7 contributions
Well organised trip around spectacular Akaroa harbour with amazing views of enchanting Hectors dolphins from on board followed by two lengthy swims with them. Unique and very special experience.
The wet suits provided were 5mm neoprene and allowed us to keep comfortable for the full time in the water. Also very buoyant so we didn’t get tired while in the water. The crew were really sensible and skipper Chris only allowed us in the water once he was happy the dolphins were confident with our presence- we passed by many small pods that came and went before we got in the water.
The whole experience was magical and we left feeling the animals had come to inspect us on their terms, not been coerced in any way.
Strongly recommend you support this venture which puts a proper value on responsible tourism in a very special marine reserve.
Written 19 January 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

healthcarestartup
Auckland, New Zealand6 contributions
Jan 2021
Really magical morning on the water, with our crew a lovely combination of high professionalism and practical kiwi character. We bought the swim with dolphins as a Christmas treat for our kids. What we got was an atmospheric trip out of the harbour and along the coast in a gentle rolling swell spotting dolphins and their calves, seals, and albatross. Twin hull boat was very stable and uses jets instead of props to protect the dolphins. We were at last approached by 2 groups of dolphins as we were heading back and our skipper Chris and crew Lily ran over schedule in order to get us 2 swims with every passenger getting a close fly by from the curious Hectors. A couple (Hectors not humans) even showed off with a bit of aerial gymnastics. Back to base across a glassy clear harbour in full sun. The whole experience left us all with a huge buzz and wanting more.
Written 20 January 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Hi healthcarestartup, We really appreciate your wonderful review of our Swimming with Dolphins excursion. It is always so wonderful to hear about our customer's experiences and understand what it is that they appreciate the most about the trip. Thanks for taking the time! Come back and see us again soon!
Written 12 April 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Dstuijvenberg
Nijmegen, The Netherlands9 contributions
Loved the experience to swim with the dolphins. We were very lucky to encounter a small group of dolphins that played in front of the group and kept swimming around us.
Still, these are wild animals and you have to be lucky. The crew also gave a lot of information.
Written 21 January 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Hi dstuijvenberg, thanks very much for reviewing us on TripAdvisor. Amazing you got to spend some time with a group of Hector's dolphins - they are so special aren't they!? I'm glad our crew were able to give you lots of background info on them and you enjoyed the tour. Hope to see you out with us again soon!
Written 7 March 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

sofiel379
28 contributions
Feb 2020 • Solo
I really loved this tour. The experience to get close to dolphins is so unique, especially Hector dolphins which you can't really see anywhere else. I love how the team conduct the tours in a very eco friendly approach and on terms of dolphins and not humans. what was really impressive was how friendly and considerate everyone on the team was, always there and ready to listen and help. A great representation of NZ hospitality!
Written 19 February 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Hi sofiel379 We appreciate you taking the time to leave your thoughts and experiences here and we are so happy that you enjoyed your time with us. We hope you took away some incredible memories and we hope that you will be able to visit us again in the future!
Written 7 April 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Vicki D
9 contributions
Mar 2023 • Couples
We were told that there had been plentiful sightings of dolphins on the morning boat though they hadn’t been able to swim with them and we were offered chance to cancel. We chose to go just in case, so we donned kit and set off. We did spit a few dolphins but not enough to swim with.

We were refunded 50% on our return but the boat trip was still worthwhile and we did get to see a few Hectors dolphins (plus some other wildlife - seals and albatrosses). Shame not to swim but great experience from start to finish.
Written 8 March 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

T_Cross2013
Memphis, TN16 contributions
Mar 2023
We had an amazing time during our dolphin excursion! Sonya at the desk and Thomas our guide on the boat went above and beyond to make the trip unforgettable. We were told going out that the Hectors Dolphins don't usually jump, but saw a pair of them doing leaps in the water. While floating a couple came to check out Jane and circled her once or twice.

Highly recommend this for everyone!
Written 23 March 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Swimming with Wild Dolphins in Akaroa provided by Black Cat Cruises