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Swimming with Wild Dolphins in Akaroa

Swimming with Wild Dolphins in Akaroa

star-4.5144 Reviews
|
Akaroa, New Zealand
icon3 hours  (Approx.)
Mobile ticket
iconOffered in: English
Good for avoiding crowds
icon3 hours  (Approx.)
Mobile ticket
iconOffered in: English
Good for avoiding crowds

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icon3 hours  (Approx.)
Mobile ticket
iconOffered in: English
Good for avoiding crowds

Overview

Swim with dolphins at Akaroa Harbour, where Hector’s dolphins—found only in New Zealand—visit the waters of the Banks Peninsula. Cruising the sheltered harbor by jet-powered catamaran so you can swim up close, learn from the highly trained crew how to interact safely with the world’s smallest and rarest dolphins. Just 12 swimmers are permitted per vessel, ensuring an intimate experience in a small group. Wetsuits and masks are provided, along with a hot shower and drink on board.
  • Swim with the rare and beautiful wild Hector's dolphins in a protected harbor
  • Enjoy a cruise by a heated jet powered catamaran
  • Receive a briefing on how to interact with the dolphins before swimming with these marine mammals
  • Includes wetsuit, mask, hot shower, and hot beverage
  • Small and intimate experience, only 12 swimmers permitted per vessel
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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
Hotel pickup and drop-off

Departure Point

75 Beach Road, Akaroa 7520, New Zealand

Departure Point: Akaroa's main wharf Dates: Daily Return point: Cruise returns to original point of departure

Return Details

Returns to original departure point
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.
Itinerary
Stop At:  
Akaroa Harbour
Akaroa Harbour is a sheltered harbour, a flooded crater of an extinct volcano surrounded by awe-inspiring volcanic cliffs. With a group limit of 12 people per vessel, the Akaroa swimming with dolphins tour means it will be an even more intimate experience. The 3-hour dolphin tour is very popular due to the limited number of passengers permitted per departure. Book now to avoid disappointment. You will be guaranteed a safe and memorable dolphin swim. Dolphin Sightseeing Guarantee - If you see dolphins but for some reason do not get to swim with them, then receive a part refund. 50% refund if no dolphins are found and a 25% refund if dolphins found but you are unable to swim with them. In the last 12 months we saw dolphins on 98% of our cruises and had successful swims on 81%. • All crew are highly trained. This means that you'll get a great briefing on how to interact with the dolphins and what to expect prior to your journey. They'll also give you safety instructions to allow you to enjoy your experience. If you are new to snorkeling and use of a wetsuit your crew will be on hand to help you out. • All equipment is provided including wetsuit, masks and snorkel. You only have to bring a swimsuit and a towel. With hot showers available. • The vessel is a heated, covered, jet powered catamaran. It's safer for you and the dolphins because there are no propellers. It's also heated so after your swim you can warm up quickly in the cabin.
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
Akaroa
The historic French Village of Akaroa and its spectacular harbour is just a 90 minutes drive from Christchurch.
Admission Ticket Free
  • 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.
  • Travelers should have a moderate physical fitness level
  • You can only book to watch a swim when travelling with a swimmer
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 12 travelers
  • OPERATED BY Black Cat Cruises
You can cancel up to 24 hours in advance of the experience for a full refund.
  • For a full refund, you must cancel at least 24 hours before the experience’s start time.
  • If you cancel less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time, the amount you paid will not be refunded.
  • Any changes made less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time will not be accepted.
  • Cut-off times are based on the experience’s local time.
  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund.

Learn more about cancellations.


Traveler Photos

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Traveler Tips


  • "Be prepared that you will likely be in the marine park area where the sea can be choppy rather than in calm, clear waters as in the picture." See review

Reviews

4.5
star-4.5
144 Reviews

Reviews by Viator travelers

Showing 1-10 of 144 reviews
star-5
The best ever!!!
heidisaxarra
, Jan 2020
Amazing experience and knowledgeable and professional friendly staff. Saw and swam with dolphins and also saw penguins and seals❤️❤️❤️❤️
1 traveler found this review helpful
star-4
An awesome experience I will never forget
Ann D
, Jan 2020
At first we thought we could not get in the sea with the dolphins because of the rough sea, but than we could and it was an extraordinary experience... Eventhough the dolphins didn't come so close... The guides were nice and helpful and gave us much tips how to attract them. It was amazing.
star-4
exciting to see them up so close
Christine_C
, Jan 2020
the opportunity to see the dolphins up close is wonderful. The sea was very rough the day we did the trip & we were right out at the centre of the mouth of the bay when they put us into the water. Trying to work out how to float in the bulky wetsuit in very choppy, dark water proved to be too much for me & I wound up climbing back onboard and watching from the boat. Be prepared that you will likely be in the marine park area where the sea can be choppy rather than in calm, clear waters as in the picture. It was a great experience & I recommend to definitely do it, but unless you are very confident in open-ocean waters, consider just paying to watch from the boat.
star-5
Great experience!
Robert_B
, Dec 2019
The crew was phenomenal and we saw a ton of dolphins. Would highly recommend. We were on the larger of the 2 boats in size which definitely made it more enjoyable because we could stand outside.
star-5
Swim with Dolphins
larsj250
, Jan 2019
Great event very professional and keen to give us a great experience. Good and clean changing facility and wet suits.
star-5
We had the privilege of spending...
Patricia G
, Feb 2018
We had the privilege of spending forty five minutes in the water with Hector dolphins around us- an unforgettable experience!
star-4
we unfortunately never got to swim with...
Vaishali P
, Oct 2017
we unfortunately never got to swim with the dolphins... they weren't cooperating :-
star-5
Even though we didn't get to swim...
Tamara F
, Apr 2017
Even though we didn't get to swim with any dolphins, we had an amazing experience on the water watching the dolphins in their natural environment. The team were very apologetic for us not swimming with them, but we were offered a refund for that part of the tour. Would highly recommend this tour!!
star-4
Did not get to see the Dolphins. I...
Lin S
, Apr 2016
Did not get to see the Dolphins. I know it is not in the control of your company. I did enjoy the trip, the boat driver and tour guide. I did enjoy jumping into the ocean with the wet suit on that was a great . Thank you for the experience.
star-4
Interesting experience, but be...
Stephanie C
, Mar 2016
Interesting experience, but be forewarned that the water is really cold. Several people on our trip could not even be in the water at all. You are never very close to the dolphins, but they are amazing animals.

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