Akaroa Shore Excursion: Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise

From USD 59.03
Per Person
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Tour Information

Tour Details


After your cruise ship docks in Akaroa, take a nature cruise across the harbor to spot dolphins and admire New Zealands stunning scenery. Look out for New Zealands friendly Hectors dolphins, the worlds rarest and smallest dolphins, and bring your camera along on your shore excursion to photograph soaring volcanic cliffs, secluded sea caves and tropical palm trees.


  • Instant Confirmation
  • Choice of morning or afternoon departure
  • Enjoy a day away from the hustle and bustle of the city
  • Popular choice with kids
  • Fully narrated tour

Know More about this tour

Catch the tender to the main wharf when your cruise ship docks in Akaroa, making sure to arrive at least 30 minutes before your nature cruise departs.

Relax on your two-hour cruise across Akaroa Harbour and listen to the commentary about the harbors geography, wildlife and history provided by your knowledgeable skipper.

Your luxurious cruise boat has two decks, providing shade, shelter and plenty of observation areas for uninterrupted wildlife and scenery viewing.

As you cruise past volcanic cliffs and sea caves, keep a lookout for the worlds smallest, rarest and friendliest dolphins, the New Zealand Hectors dolphin. These friendly and inquisitive mammals meet the boat most days throughout the year and their calves can be seen between October and March.

You might also see the worlds smallest penguin, the white-flippered blue penguin, or the endangered yellow-eyed penguin.

See New Zealand fur seals sunbathing on the rocks at Seal Bay, and make a stop at Lucas Bay to see a salmon farm in operation. Hear how fingerlings to adult salmon are raised in cages here, the source of New Zealands world-famous Akaroa salmon.

Your cruise also takes you past the sublime beauty of Scenery Nook, an amazing pink, purple and red volcanic amphitheater that will take your breath away.

Your cruise ends with return to the Akaroa cruise dock.

This excursion is located within a 5-minute walk to the cruise port, so you determine the time you return to your ship in Akaroa. Please allow yourself ample time to enjoy the excursion and ensure your timely return to the port. This excursion is not covered by our worry-free policy.

Inclusions for Akaroa Shore Excursion: Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise

  • Full on-board commentary
  • Tea and coffee
  • Pickup and drop-off from designated meeting points

Exclusions for Akaroa Shore Excursion: Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise

  • Gratuities (optional)
  • Food and drinks, unless specified
  • Worry-free Shore Excursion Guarantee


On your cruise you will discover the highlights of the Harbour including:

1. Akaroa The French colonized this area after the English declared sovereignty over New Zealand in 1840. Today you can see the French influence everywhere, for example street names like Rue Jolie, which means 'Happy Street'. Nowadays fishing, farming and tourism are the mainstays of the township.

2. Onuku Marae This is the location of the historical Maori village in which one of the oldest churches in New Zealand is located. In 1840 the chief Tekau signed the Treaty of Waitangi here. It is still used today for many gatherings.

3. Cathedral Cave Known to the Maori as Te Anau O Kokiro, the cave was named after the Chief Kokiro. This is an example of how the rough sea has created a volcanic cave over thousands of years, and clearly shows the layers of different volcanic eruptions. Numerous shags nest here on the cliffs.

4. Palm Gully This is the southernmost point at which New Zealand's only native palm tree grows.

5. Te Ruahine This is the northernmost point of the harbor. Translated from the Maori language this means 'old lady'.

6. The Lighthouse For the last 150 years a lighthouse has been located at this point. The original historic Lighthouse is now located inside the Harbour, near the wharf and is only lit for special occasions and holidays.

7. TimuTimu This is the southern most point of the Harbour, translated from the Maori language this means, 'Cut off short'.

8. Salmon Farm Young salmon are being farmed in Lucas Bay and sold to the national and international market.

9. Paua (Abalone) Farm Caskets filled with paua or abalone is fixed to floaters. This shell is being used for jewelry as well as for farming pearls. The flesh of the paua/abalone is recognized world wide as a delicacy.

10. Wainui A small holiday village.

11. Dolphins The Hector's or New Zealand dolphin is a native species and is one of the smallest dolphins in the world. Most are found in the South Island around Banks Peninsula. One of the rarest dolphins, its population is currently between 3,000 and 4,000. This is fewer than any other marine dolphin, and marks the species as endangered.

12. Little Blue Penguins This penguin is the smallest in the world and is now on the endangered species list. The penguins are distinguished by a white leading edge on their flippers and are only 30cm high. Ecologists are trying to establish a colony at Boulder Bay.

13. Spotted Shags Colony of Spotted Shags. The white rock is 'guana' or bird droppings, which show how old this colony is. Both the male and female birds change to a brilliant green around the neck and face during their mating season.

14. Seabirds The following seabirds can be seen in and around the Harbour: 5 different types of cormorant, black-backed seagulls, red and black-beaked seagulls, white-necked swallows, Canadian geese, paradise ducks, mollymauks, white-fronted terns and occasionally gannets, petrels and albatross.

Additional Info

Confirmation will be received at time of booking

Please bring light jacket, sun protection and camera

Cancellation Policy
  • If you cancel within 3 calendar days (72 hours) of the scheduled departure time, the cancellation charge will be 100% of the undiscounted tour price.
  • If you cancel between 4 to 7 Calendar days before scheduled tour departure,the cancellation charge will be 50% of the undiscounted tour price.
  • If you cancel at least 8 calendar days in advance of the scheduled departure time, there is no cancellation fee. You will receive Full Refund for the paid amount.
  • Please note that in case of No show, the cancellation charge will be 100% of the listed tour fare.
  • Please note tours booked using discount coupon codes will be non refundable.

Write A Review

See All 39 Traveler reviews

  • We had a great time. We were lucky enough to see penguins, baby seals, dolphins and albatross. Went out to see sea caves and had good commentary. Got the passengers involved by helping with any sightings.

  • Having read previous reviews there is not much more I can say in a positive way. Akaroa is a very beautiful place and we thoroughly enjoyed the experience. We saw most of the wildlife.

  • The cruise was amazing - thank you! Heaps of dolphins, entertaining commentary and great staff.

  • great excursion and saw plenty of dolphin and the baby seal colony. Lovely boat to travel on with a good crew

  • I have never seen so many Dolphins they were everywhere. I highly recommend this tour.

  • Exceeded my high expectations. Two hour cruise, nicely narrated, and quite thrilling from the bow with excellent photo ops, successfully found a large number of local dolphin, plus seals and albatross. An unexpected pleasure was the geology lesson as we pulled in close to immense, colorful walls, and learned about the area's volcanic origin. I arrived by cruise ship through these same harbor waters, but you can't appreciate it unless you see things up close from a smaller vessel, with a wonderfully friendly, skilled crew.

  • Saw lots of Hectors Dolphins, up really close, could hear them breathing and calling to each other.
    The only way to get closer would have been actually in the water with the swimmers .
    Lovely time out on the water. Would have loved to see more wildlife but that's how it goes.

  • Very enjoyable tour! Captain Julian and crew were informative and attentive. Sights were fantastic! Highly recommend this tour. It's worth the drive and the time to reach Akaroa.

  • We were on the afternoon cruise, the wind was quite blustery so the water was choppy, but that didn't spoil the experience one bit. The cruise took us around the harbour, where we saw the wonderful caves and rock formations on the cliffs. As we moved towards the harbour entrance, we began to see more and more wildlife- besides shags and other sea birds, Andrew, the commentator, pointed out lots of fur seals on the rocks, and we pulled into get a closer look. In the harbour mouth a pod of Hectors dolphins put on a show for us, topped off by a single white flippered penguin which floated serenely by. The crew were almost as excited as the passengers. Highly recommended- a great short excursion.

  • Great trip. Had a chance to see a bunch of different wildlife on the trip. Make sure to take a coat if you want to sit outside on the boat as it was cool.

  • See All 39 Reviews

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