Tours and Tickets

Swimming with Wild Dolphins in Akaroa provided by Black Cat Cruises

Swimming with Wild Dolphins in Akaroa

Swimming with Wild Dolphins in Akaroa
4.5
This product is unavailable to book via Tripadvisor. Contact the supplier for availability.
Tour snapshot
Akaroa Harbour dolphin cruise
Duration:
3h
Group size:
12
Near public transportation
Ticket type:
Mobile
Free cancellation
  • Duration:
    3h
  • Group size:
    12
  • Near public transportation
  • Ticket type:
    Mobile
  • Free cancellation
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.
Know before you go
  • Duration: 3h
  • Mobile tickets accepted
  • Instant confirmation
Cancellation policy
  • For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.
Available languages
English
Highlights
  • Swim in the natural habitat of wild dolphins
  • Covered vessel with heated cabin and hot drinks
  • Limit of 12 passengers permitted per departure
What to expect
Know before you go
  • Duration: 3h
  • Mobile tickets accepted
  • Instant confirmation
Available languages
English
Cancellation policy
  • For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.
Highlights
  • Swim in the natural habitat of wild dolphins
  • Covered vessel with heated cabin and hot drinks
  • Limit of 12 passengers permitted per departure
What to expect
Need help booking?
Call the number below and use the product code: 3661SWDS_SWDW
Important information
Inclusions
  • 3-hour dolphin swim (2-hours in water)
  • Wetsuit and mask (for those swimming)
  • Hot Beverage
  • Includes a full, live commentary from skipper
  • Hot Shower Facilities
Exclusions
  • Hotel pickup and drop-off
Duration
3h
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
Additional information
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Not suitable for infants or children under 8
  • Children between 8yrs and 12yrs must be accompanied by an adult swimmer.
  • Children between 13yrs and 16yrs must be accompanied by an adult watcher.
  • Please note to join this activity you need to be able to swim a minimum of 50 meters unaided and be confident in open sea conditions.
  • Akaroa is ideally situated, only a 90 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.
  • Dolphin Sightseeing Guarantee - In the event of “partial swim” (dolphins are viewed from the boat but swimmers do not get into the water; or swimmers do not get full interaction while in the water as determined by Black Cat skipper & crew) Black Cat will refund 25% of fare. If no dolphins are seen, Black Cat will refund 50% of fare.
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Near public transportation
  • Life jackets are not provided or used, if one is required this product is not suitable, please join our Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise.
  • You can only book to watch a swim when travelling with a swimmer
  • Travellers should have a moderate physical fitness level
  • 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
Inclusions
  • 3-hour dolphin swim (2-hours in water)
  • Wetsuit and mask (for those swimming)
  • Hot Beverage
  • Includes a full, live commentary from skipper
  • Hot Shower Facilities
Exclusions
  • 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
Duration
3h
Return details
  • Returns to original departure point
Additional information
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Not suitable for infants or children under 8
  • Children between 8yrs and 12yrs must be accompanied by an adult swimmer.
  • Children between 13yrs and 16yrs must be accompanied by an adult watcher.
  • Please note to join this activity you need to be able to swim a minimum of 50 meters unaided and be confident in open sea conditions.
  • Akaroa is ideally situated, only a 90 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.
  • Dolphin Sightseeing Guarantee - In the event of “partial swim” (dolphins are viewed from the boat but swimmers do not get into the water; or swimmers do not get full interaction while in the water as determined by Black Cat skipper & crew) Black Cat will refund 25% of fare. If no dolphins are seen, Black Cat will refund 50% of fare.
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Near public transportation
  • Life jackets are not provided or used, if one is required this product is not suitable, please join our Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise.
  • You can only book to watch a swim when travelling with a swimmer
  • Travellers should have a moderate physical fitness level
  • 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
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

4.5
110 reviews
Excellent
88
Very good
8
Average
4
Poor
7
Terrible
3

Carrie
Herne Bay, UK5 contributions
What an amazing day from start to finish. The staff were amazing, from the ladies behind the counter to the guys on the boat with us. The knowledge and love these guys have for the Héctor dolphins was outstanding! The day was just so special from start to finish! We saw lots of dolphins in the waters swimming and playing around which was beautiful to see. Unfortunately we only got in the water once and the dolphins weren't very interested in staying around us for very long but it was still amazing to have a wild dolphin swim past you!!
It was a really lovely gesture to serve hot chocolate on the way back to warm everyone up a little and eventhough I personally had a once in a lifetime experience the tour guides felt we did not get the best experience and decided a partial refund was necessary. Black cat cruises were amazing and I'd definitely recommend this cruise.
Thank you so much!!
Written 28 January 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hi cazr85, thank you so much for your wonderful review on TripAdvisor. Sounds like you had an amazing day out in the water despite the dolphins not wanting to play too much! Thanks for the lovely feedback on our staff, I'll be sure to pass this on to the team - they'll be wrapt! We hope you can join us again soon.
Written 9 March 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Voyager560420
11 contributions
Mar 2020
We drove here to Akaroa from Christchurch, which in itself was a really nice trip with stunning views. On arrival we were sent of to get fitted into out wet suites and then out onto the boat. At all times all the staff were very helpful and nice. We left the Quay and headed out to look for the Dolphins. Over the hour to two hours we were out there the skipper took the boat to varying places and once when we had found the Dolphins we stopped. There was quite a swell that day and though we saw lots of Dolphins, we were not always allowed into the water as they had small babies with them )I was very impressed with this attitude by the crew). We did get in a couple of times, but didn't get a decent swim with them, so they gave us some money back. We still really enjoyed our trip and it was great seeing these small Dolphins in the wild. Would highly recommend this trip.
Written 3 April 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hi Voyager560420, Thank you for choosing Black Cat Cruises to introduce you to Akaroa Harbour and the wonderful Hectors Dolphins. We are very pleased to hear that you had an enjoyable experience. It is very important to us that all of our trips are fun, safe and sensitive to the nature that surrounds us. We appreciate you taking the time to share your experience and we hope to see you again soon! All the best
Written 6 April 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Tony P
Springfield, Missouri19 contributions
Feb 2020
We had a very informed and professional setting up and ride to the dolphins along with sightings and a few dolphins came alongside. The only reason I did not give 5 stars was because of the passengers that spoil't it (the made noise in the water on 2 locations and the Hectors disappeared. They gave us a refund, but damage done. The little we saw was exciting.
Written 26 February 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hi Tonyp4357, thanks very much for your review. We apologise that your trip didn't quite meet your expectation but sounds like you still had a great time out there! We hope you are able to come and join on another tour in the future.
Written 21 March 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

dleighb
Texas74 contributions
Dec 2019
We had a wonderful time with Black Cat Cruises even though we were not lucky enough to swim with the dolphins. That is the risk when you choose trying to interact with wild animals, and it is exceptional that Black Cat Cruises has a refund policy in place in instances when nature chooses not to cooperate as was the case with us. Everyone we worked with there was very nice and accommodating. They do give you a snorkel and mask, but we did not feel like we really needed them as we spent much of our time floating on the water. Maybe if the dolphins had come to play with us, we might have wanted a mask to try and see them underwater. Even though we didn’t get to swim with the dolphins, we still got a nice harbor cruise and were able to see dolphins and some fur seals. We were worried about the swimming without a life vest requirement, but we didn’t have any problems and found that with the wet suit we and salinity of the water, we were relatively buoyant, so the swimming wasn’t as difficult as it might be in fresh water or an area with strong tides.
Written 11 February 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hi dleighb, thanks very much for taking the time to write us a review on TripAdvisor - we really appreciate it! I'm so glad you had a great time out on the water with our crew. Yes as you mentioned, it is a wild swimming experience and we leave it up to the dolphins entirely if they are keen to interact or not - thank you for your understanding :-) Sounds like you still had a wonderful day viewing all the dolphins around you and we hope to see you out with us for another try soon!
Written 9 March 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Kicki
2 contributions
Jan 2020 • Family
It was a quite outstanding experience to be in the water with the wild dolphines playing around us. Supporting and informative crew.
If you're not staying in Akaroa book the transfer from Christchurch as you book the dolphine tickets as it seemed to be the best option.
Written 7 January 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hi 342annchristinel, thank you so much for reviewing us on TripAdvisor. Sounds like you had an awesome day out and thanks for recommending the transfer over from Christchurch! We hope to see you in Akaroa again soon.
Written 7 March 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Thomas W
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand2 contributions
Jan 2020 • Family
This is a must do adventure when visiting Akaroa. Emmy & Chris took us out and were both fabulous. We quickly found some Hector dolphins and had the most amazing time swimming with them. We were in the water with them for 40 minutes. It was worth every penny and we’ll definitely do it again when next there. Thank you so much for the most memorable day of our holiday.
Written 18 January 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hi 528ThomasW, thank you very much for taking the time to review us on TripAdvisor. So glad you had such a brilliant time out with Emmy and Chris and had a really successful swim with the Hector's dolphins! We hope you can join us over in Akaroa again soon.
Written 7 March 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

dlynne7
London, UK180 contributions
Feb 2020
Friendly from the start, helping us to find the correct wet suits and storing our possessions. We were briefed about what to expect and it wasn’t long before we were on the boat seeking dolphins. The staff were very competent and determined to find dolphins for us. We had three or four opportunities to swim in areas where dolphins had been spotted and although the dolphins chose not to get too close to us it was an exhilarating experience amongst dramatic scenery. We were given a partial refund as there weren’t as many dolphins as had been expected, but we would have been happy even without this. We followed it with one of the best fish and chip lunches ever at Murphy on the Corner. Highly recommended.
Written 10 April 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
It's wonderful to hear that you had such a great experience with us here in stunning Akaroa! A special thank you for your kind words about our friendly and knowledgeable team. We hope to see you again in the future!
Written 11 April 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

bev185
Toronto, Canada20 contributions
Mar 2020
We had a great time with Black Cat. We weren’t able to swim with the dolphins but saw them close up and had fun trying. We received a partial refund because we didn’t swim with the dolphins which was unexpected. Had a great time and would definitely recommend this excursion.
Written 18 March 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hi Bev185, thanks very much for reviewing us on TripAdvisor. Sounds like you had a great time despite not being able to get in the water with the dolphins. I hope you can join us again in Akaroa soon.
Written 20 March 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Gretchen D
Bangkok, Thailand8 contributions
Dec 2017 • Family
I rarely write a review and really debated but since our experience was so vastly different, I felt it's important people are aware there may be some inconsistencies with the service. First of all, I'd like to say that if money is no object, then go ahead and risk doing the swim option. But as it was something we saved for and booked months in advance, in hindsight I feel it may have been better to do one of the cruises. That way you will at least learn something about the harbour and the area.

Certainly this company is doing a great job by donating to help the Hector dolphins, which is incredible. Despite this, my family did not have quite the experience that we anticipated and there was a great deal of things that it seems normally happen, but did not happen for our group.

Specifically, it states that you are on the water for two hours and we went onto the water late so we all thought we'd make it up on the back end of the trip but this didn't happen. Our Skipper stated we must be back by 4pm for people to make the trip on the bus back to Christchurch but no one our boat was on the bus. Unfortunately, the afternoon we went out there was a great deal of swell and the skipper handled it quite well and most of of us thought that perhaps that was why there were no successful swims with the dolphin. But after all of the swimmers on board were desperately seeking any sightings of dolphin (as the dolphin expert on board, whom I forgotten his name was not very active or engaging with anyone except the skipper) the skipper stated that perhaps it was because there was an Orca sighting earlier that day so perhaps it frightened the dolphins away. Immediately, I was surprised by this as a customer I do feel that this is critical information to share. Not only to know but also to decide if there were additional risks to consider since we were with children. In fact, when this comment was mentioned to the manager when discussing our disappointment of an unsuccessful swim, she said they didn't know it was an Orca, they only saw a fin which could also mean other things like a shark. This remark was even more shocking that it was never disclosed before the end of our trip.

Certainly, as the company advertises these are all wild animals so there are no guarantees so as we headed back we were all told about the 25% refund at the dock. I wasn't too upset at that point as I had read from previous reviews that you sometimes can try to reschedule since we would be in Akaroa for several days. I did become much more upset when I was told by the manager that we could rebook and pay the entire booking fee again for the swim. Obviously this was not an option, as so much money had been spent, we could not risk it again.

Of course we are very grateful for the experience in a beautiful harbour but unfortunately it was not due to the personal touch of this trip. In fact, I wonder if they anticipated we would not see much because a photographer usually goes to capture the experience for the swimmers to buy, we had no photographer on board. Even the skipper ran off to check when no photographer boarded the boat and one never came. Additionally, another touch overlooked that they stated they'd provide is towels for the swimmers and the water was cold! In fact, they told us to leave our small fast dry towels behind in the lockers because they provide them on board, but it never happened...

Again, it was beautiful but for the amount of money we paid for this trip, an unsuccessful swim was only one part of our let down, we expected much better service overall.
Written 4 January 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hi Gretchen D, It definitely seems that on this occasion our communication has let us down. There are a number of things mentioned which confirm that we got some things right on the day and a few things that have lead to you walking away dissatisfied with your experience. We will take your comments back to the team and hoe to learn from them. Just to clarify for other potential passengers so that they do not also get the wrong information: - Towels are available for hire if you do not bring your own. We do not provide towels on the boats. - Our guides on the swim boats are our photographers. We do not send additional photographers out on the swim trips. - We offer a tiered refund policy on our Swim Trips based on the interaction of the dolphins. In this case, the customer received a 50% refund. - if you have an unsuccessful swim, we can endeavour to re-book you. However, due to demand and pre-bookings for this product, this may not be possible for a few days.
Written 7 February 2018
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

GlobeTrotting764593
1 contribution
As stated swimming with dolphins is a bucket list top must do for a lot of people, myself included. I excitedly booked my ticket, got sent to the waiting room, had the safety debrief and finally it was time! Let me state first I had forgot my togs from the ship. We got our wetsuits, which are tight, but hey its what they are desgned for! So I didnt mind. We got sent to the COMMUNAL changing room so if youre self conscious like me, you wont like it. I got changed in the loo. We then got sent for wetsuit booties. At this point I notice people with wet bags and masks which I wasnt told about, so of I went to get myself some. On the boat was another safety message. Out in the harbour we did find dolphins and even baby dolphins but sadly and to my disappointmet none of the dolphins swam with us. We spent more time sight seeing than anything. Honestly if I had wanted to sight see i would have booked an appropriate tour. I feel cheated. Two hours just isnt enough, I felt as though it was a rush to usher through the next poor suckers. I appreciate animals are animals so why not just two or one trip out so folks are more like to succed or maybe things need a review to help not scare, harass the dolphins? I dont know. We were told about out 25% refund which was $40 from $160. Again I felt cheated. Why not 50% I understand they need to make $ and these are wild animals so why not meet in the middle for a no dolphin swim? More sight seeing and hot chocolate and a promise of a hot shower after our swim had me disappointed again. The showers are COMMUNAL. I never got to have a shower nor use the $5 towl I hired lol I cherry I hope you arent to disappointed while collecting my refund had me ruffled and upset. While the people were lovely, I enjoyed the boat ride and scenery and saw dolphin and seal it wasnt what I paid for. I felt the communal facility wasnt for me either. It ruined what shouldve been a once in a lifetime experience and has put me of activities like this.
Written 4 April 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Showing results 11-20 of 98
About the operator

Don’t take it from us – here’s what people have to say about this operator.

By: Black Cat Cruises
zemmanuel
zemmanuel
00
best harbor cruise experience
Excellent cruise, such a thrill. We are so thankful to the captain and the hostess; she was so kind and helpful. It
Donna E
Donna E
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Perfect , well planned and great staff
This trip was amazing , perfect calm day, with the brightest most beautiful colour water in the world, we saw a pod
61raewynh
61raewynh
00
Loving the experience - a must do
This was fantastic - great commentary and perfect weather. Saw a Hectors Dolphin almost immediately - stunning to
Jess W
Jess W
00
Amazing Cruise 🛳
Amazing trip from start to finish. Office staff were so welcoming and polite, Lovely commentary from the skipper Da
psycoMuriel
psycoMuriel
00
Dolphins dolphins!
If you have teenagers this is the trip for you. We were pleasantly surprised with the amount of dolphins that we sa
Curious25081405386
Curious25081405386
00
Very rude staffs to my 3.5 years old son!
Very rude staffs. My 3.5 years old boy and I went to enquiry about the cruise timetable. My son saw a Kia soft toy
tonybonne
tonybonne
00
Outstanding Nature Trip
We weren’t sure what to expect, however, we were very pleasantly surprised. The commentary was informative, very in
Lara_Harrison21
Lara_Harrison21
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Magic tour
Amazing tour! Must do trip when you are in Akaroa. The scenery is stunning and we've got so lucky to see a lot of
67asherr
67asherr
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Quail Island Adventure
Quail Island Adventure! We were looked after by super friendly staff when checking in, once all was sorted there we
WiskyKing
WiskyKing
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Not great customer service
Purchased some vouchers via TreatMe for a trip to Quail Island with BlackCat. However, after my 2nd Covid jab was n
Nigel2312
Nigel2312
00
An experience not to be missed
I definitely recommend doing this excursion. The staff were very accommodating when we asked to move the date due t
terrydeb22
terrydeb22
00
A great experience out on the Akaroa harbour.
We had a perfect morning on the harbour. The crew was friendly and the commentary informative without being too int
R5054OWjoyh
R5054OWjoyh
00
Dolphins and Penguins up close
It was a cloudy grey day but there were so many little Hector dolphins all around us for much of the trip, we didn'
Ed R
Ed R
00
Awesome experience
Awesome experience and great company. We saw Hector Dolphins, fur seals and white penguins on our trip. The skipp
kiwichic13
kiwichic13
00
Loved it - get on board
We loved every minute of the Nature Cruise. We were lucky enough to see loads and loads of dolphins, a few penguins