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.
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
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
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
What to expect
Start your swim-with-dolphins tour in New Zealand’s South Island by climbing aboard a jet-powered catamaran at Akaroa Harbour—the flooded crater of an extinct volcano surrounded by awe-inspiring volcanic cliffs. During a briefing and instruction on how to interact responsibly with Hector’s dolphins, learn what to expect prior to your water adventure. Then don your provided wetsuit and mask and slip into the tranquil harbor to observe these magnificent marine mammals up close. Your knowledgeable crew ensures your safety on a memorable dolphin swim during this excursion, popular due to the limited number of passengers permitted per departure (limited to 12). The covered vessel has no propellers, making it safer for you and the dolphins. After your dolphin swim, you can warm up quickly in the heated cabin or take a hot shower, available onboard, and enjoy a warm beverage. This tour operator was the first cruise boat company in the world to get the coveted Green Globe 21, an international program to ensure best environmental practices.
Need help booking?
Call the number below and use the product code: 3661SWDS_SWDW
Call +1 855 275 5071
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
The Wharf - Akaroa, 75 Beach Road, Akaroa 7520, New Zealand Departure Point: Akaroa's main wharf Dates: Daily Return point: Cruise returns to original point of departure
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
The Wharf - Akaroa, 75 Beach Road, Akaroa 7520, New Zealand Departure Point: Akaroa's main wharf Dates: Daily 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.
Travellers should have a moderate physical fitness level
You can only book to watch a swim when travelling with a swimmer
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
Popular mentions

4.5
108 reviews
Excellent
86
Very good
8
Average
4
Poor
7
Terrible
3

GKimb
Saint John, Canada220 contributions
Great experience!
Mar 2020
We had a great time on our trip to swim with the dolphins even though we didn’t get the full experience and had some of our money refunded! The folks at Black Cat are great and make the experience a lot of fun. We were thrilled just to be able to float off the coast in New Zealand! Would highly recommend this tour!
Written 16 March 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
Hi GKimb, thanks so much for taking the time to review us on TripAdvisor. Sounds like you had a fab time out in the water, we really hope you can join us again soon!
Written 20 March 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Dilip D
12 contributions
Swimming with Dolphins
Excellent!!! Black cat cruise Swimming with Dolphins is an vary enjoyable experience worth the effort to get here. The road to get here is (Akaroa) is around the hills is a very winding.
Written 28 February 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
H 967dilipd, thanks very much for taking the time to review us on TripAdvisor! We hope you can join us on another tour soon.
Written 20 March 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Johnny
Seattle, WA4 contributions
Unforgettable experience!
Swimming with Dolphins is something wanted to do for years and Black Cat cruises did not disappoint! We had three opportunities to jump in the water and swim with dozens of Hector dolphins. Many of them came within feet beside or underneath me! Both our guide and captain were very knowledgeable and great at pointing out where they are. The ride itself is beautiful and we got hot chocolate and cookies on our ride back. Highly recommend!
Written 27 February 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
Hi Jltboy11, thank you very much for your review on TripAdvisor. So amazing you got to fulfil your dream - and so glad you chose us to do it with!! Such a magical experience. We hope you can join us in Akaroa again soon.
Written 20 March 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Tony P
Springfield, Missouri21 contributions
Fantastic & professional
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 20 March 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

sofiel379
28 contributions
Wow Great Experience and Service
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.
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.

dleighb
Texas75 contributions
Good time even when the dolphins don't want to play
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 8 March 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Lindsey H
2 contributions
Great experience in Akaroa, NZ
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.
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 8 March 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Carrie
Herne Bay, UK3 contributions
Swimming with dolphins: Black Cat Cruises
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 8 March 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Explore170850
1 contribution
Swimming with dolphins
Jan 2020 • Family
Amazing experience, our family throyghly loved it 😎 Great team on land and on boat. Highly recommended for families.
Written 26 January 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
Hi Explore170850, thanks very much for your review on TripAdvisor. We are thrilled you and your family had such a great time out with our crew! We hope to see you all again soon.
Written 8 March 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

MegieD
Sydney, Australia38 contributions
Highlight of our NZ trip
Jan 2020
What an absolute privilege to be able to spend time around these wonderful little dolphins. As they are wild you can’t guarantee any contact, but the time they stayed to play near us was magical. Smallest dolphins in the world only found here in Akaroa. Black Cat Cruises were great. Even had a size 20 wetsuit for me! Small groups of max 12 we had a few that just came as watchers, no pressure to get in the water or stay in if you wanted to get out. Felt very safe at all times. A must if in the area.
Written 22 January 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
Hi MegieD, wow sounds like you had an amazing day out - thanks so much for taking the time to review us on TripAdvisor. The Hector's dolphin is simply a magical creature and we are thrilled you got to swim with them in the wild! 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.

Showing results 6-15 of 96
About the operator

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

By: Black Cat Cruises
janellefletcher
janellefletcher
00
Sur la mer - On the Ocean
Currently living on a gorgeous lake, I was also looking forward to getting out on the sea in Akaroa. From Sonja's w
Stirg
Stirg
00
Black Cat Harbour and Wildlife Cruise
This 2 hour cruise is informative about the wildlife, birdlife and geological features of the Akaroa Harbour. For
nzski2014
nzski2014
00
Awesome
Did the Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise this morning with Black Cat Cruises. Saw two Hectors Dolphins at the front of
Mandymc900
Mandymc900
00
great trip
thank you so much guys, what a wonderful trip. we so enjoyed the morning cruise, visiting bays and watching seals a
triciad108
triciad108
00
Great adventure
Great cruise! Excellent skipper and narrator during the cruise. Saw a penguin, hector dolphins, birds nesting, seal
pretcnz
pretcnz
00
Sea. Scenery. Seals. Dolphins. Delivered.
Awesome morning on the water, which delivered all that was promised - including a dolphin pod with calves. Awesome!
ValentynaVelidchenko
ValentynaVelidchenko
00
Magic boat trip ! Must do in Akaroa
Huge thanks to Black Cat Cruises team for this magic day in the ocean 🌊 🚢 We’ve got so lucky to see many dolphins
BonnieBorowczyk
BonnieBorowczyk
00
Money well spent
We got a cheap deal on bookme, it was definitely worth it! The crew (Hamish & Helen) were great, friendly and full
Terry L
Terry L
00
Spiffing
A great couple of hours of entertainment and relaxation with a bit of education thrown in as well. Dolphins, seals
caughleyp
caughleyp
00
Exceeded our expectations
A great day out - with a friendly and welcoming crew. The guide kept us entertained the whole trip with historical
TheBismarck
TheBismarck
00
Excellent experience
Outstanding tour which was both comfortable and enjoyable. There was excellent commentary and knowledgeable staff.
wellingt0nkirby
wellingt0nkirby
00
Exactly what was promised
Last did this trip more than a decade ago. Booked for Fathers Day gift and redeemed today. Yesterday we were rung
Kylie B
Kylie B
00
A Family Must Do!!!
Highlight of our family holiday to Canterbury 👍 Beautiful day and we saw alot of dolphins. Bith kids aged 13 and 6
alexiat198
alexiat198
00
Loved it!
Awesome trip, knowledgeable and cheeky driver. Beautiful nature and animals. Would do it again if I lived a tad clo
Pauline Y
Pauline Y
00
only way to see the dolphins
We booked through bookme.com and got a slighter cheaper deal but we noticed they did have specials at the desk!! C