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
Book in advance
from
$95.00
per adult
Free Cancellation up to 24 hours in advance
Reserve now & pay later: Save your spot free of charge with flexible booking.
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

alexQ6251YL
Bath, UK15 contributions
My daughter's dreams came true
Dec 2017 • Family
We booked this activity months before we arrived in NZ as it was our daughter's No.1 thing she wanted to do - we weren't disappointed. We had a beautiful sunny day but with quite a swell, despite this Katie and Kate gave us a brilliant trip out and we saw 2 baby dolphins with their mums (though we didn't swim with these) and we got 2 swims out with the dolphins. It's a truly magical experience and we would highly recommend it.
Written 3 January 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
AMAZING! We are glad that we were able to deliver the experience you were after. While we can't take credit for the baby dolphins - it was fantastic that you were able to see some of the next generation of this endangered species.
Written 7 February 2018
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Gavin H
Rustington, UK2 contributions
Great Trip
My wife and children (14yo and 11yo) went on the swimming with dolphins experience on 23 Dec. The guides were great, the experience was amazing and just overall a fantastic experience. We saw about 9 dolphins so were very lucky as the groups before us only saw 2-3.
Just for anyone who is worried the wetsuits keep you buoyant do you don’t really need to tread water. We were in the water for 30 to 40 minutes and weren’t tired at all.
Well organised and efficient as well.
Written 23 December 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
Thank you for acknowledging how well organised and efficient your Swimming With Dolphins trip was. The staff work super hard to relieved a consistent bucket list experience all year round! :) Best wishes and safe travels... From all of us at Black Cat Cruises, Akaroa x
Written 7 January 2018
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Sara W
New York City, NY65 contributions
What a privilege to swim with so many hector dolphins!
Dec 2017 • Couples
We headed out earlier today to swim with the hector dolphins and we felt so fortunate to swim with them and be so close to them in their natural habitat. Hector dolphins are the world's rarest and smallest dolphins with only around 7,000 left of them and to be able to swim with them is quiet an experience! They were quiet friendly and came very close to most of us and did many somersaults all around us. We swam with them for a good amount of time and even got to see a really small one which I imagine is a calf. On the way back we saw them again chasing the boat. It was quiet an experience and would highly recommend this! PS if you are doing this activity and looking for another experience in the area I would highly suggest Silverstream Alpaca Farmstay it is quiet another experience and is only 1 hour 45 minutes from there. We are staying there now and it is my best stay in all of New Zealand. Anyway...back to the dolphins- come out and swim with them!!!
Written 5 December 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
Wonderful wildlife review. Fab to hear you've taken the knowledge away about the rare and endangered Hector's dolphins. It's truly a pleasure to be able to share sustainable experiences with them every day. Best wishes and safe travels... From all of us at Black Cat Cruises, Akaroa x
Written 7 January 2018
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

fabien b
24 contributions
Amazing experience
Waouh fantastic. Heaps of dolphins. Hector's dolphins are tiny and so cute. You're in the water and suddenly you got 3 dolphins popping up 2 metres away. And again and again. Stayed for about 40 minutes in the water and it was truly one of the best experience I've ever had with animals. Would highly recommend. Should bear in mind nonetheless that if you're after swimming with a dolphin like in a movie you'd better skip this and get to a zoo because these are wild animals.
Written 1 December 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
Fab review thank you - it sums up why we have been voted the number 1 bucket list experience in all of New Zealand :) Best wishes and safe travels... From all of us at Black Cat Cruises, Akaroa x
Written 7 January 2018
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Joe T
St. Albans, UK17 contributions
Fantastic
Nov 2017 • Couples
I was a bit apprehensive about doing this as, although they I am a reasonable swimmer, I am uncomfortable out of my depth in water. However, I need not have worried. The experience was amazing. The wet suits provided are both buoyant and warm. The experience of being in the water as graceful and beautiful dolphins swim past you is amazing. The whole trip was very well organised. Highly recommended!
Written 29 November 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
Fantastic and good on you for having this experience with us. We have to ensure that all swimmers can swim but appreciate that open ocean is quite different to being in a pool so well done! Best wishes and safe travels... From all of us at Black Cat Cruises, Akaroa x
Written 7 January 2018
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Mrdavid65
Christchurch, New Zealand19 contributions
Disappointed
Nov 2017 • Solo
We did see quite a few dolphins from the boat however none appeared to want to interact with us. We were told to enter the water on a couple of occasions even though the dolphins didn't show any signs of wanting to interact and they disapeared completely whilst we were in the water. I do understand that dolphins are wild animals and may well not feel like entertaining us. However even though all the swimmers received a 25% refund as we had had a "partial swim" I would much rather have had the option of being rebooked in. If as the company says only 17% of trips result in no interaction then surely they could afford to do that, unless as I suspect they are more interested in our bucks then with our experience.
Written 26 November 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
Hi there, Many thanks for your review and we do completely empathise with the disappointment that can happen when working with the endangered dolphins in the wild. As an eco-tourism operator we do not track, nor feed or upset their natural behavior in order to produce a human encounter. We record all of our swims, with data going back many years, hence we can confidently say we see them on 97% of all trips and have full fantastic swims 87% of the time. We will always offer the opportunity to re-book when we know we have availability, however as we only take 12 swimmers out per boat I do hope you can appreciate that during the summer months in particular the opportunity to re-book very rarely happens. This is why we have a two tier refund policy, the only swim operator in New Zealand to have something like this and whilst we understand how much our guests want to have the full swim experience we do our best to provide a sustainable operation for all. Regardless of refunds we still donate the same portion of every ticket sale to the research and education of Hector's dolphins and we are the only cruise operator in the whole of Canterbury to be graded Gold by NZ's official auditor Qualmark for our practice both on and off the water. We do hope you take some great memories away from Akaroa and having seen one the worlds most endangered marine mammals in it's natural habitat...safe travels to you.
Written 18 December 2017
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Showing results 91-96 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
LeanneCassieB
LeanneCassieB
00
Great day out with the kids
What an amazing family day excursion. The kids and adults loved all the knowledgeable information from our captain
dramaqueen42
dramaqueen42
00
Enjoyed every minute
Two hours on a comfortable boat with excellent commentary and friendly helpful staff. We saw Hector dolphins, littl
chocaholic5
chocaholic5
00
Fantastic Akaroa activity or day trip from Chrustchurch
Great excursion! Just 2 hour drive each way from Christchurch so can be a great day trip if not staying in Akaroa.
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