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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
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 harbor’s 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 world’s smallest, rarest and friendliest dolphins, the New Zealand Hector’s 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 world’s 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 Zealand’s 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.
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.
Full on-board commentary
Tea and coffee
Pickup and drop-off from designated meeting points
Food and drinks, unless specified
Worry-free Shore Excursion Guarantee
Confirmation will be received at time of booking
Please bring light jacket, sun protection and camera