Akaroa Dolphin Swim Experience

Fitness level moderate
Intensity level moderate
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5.01 review

Highlights & inclusions

ONLY place in the world to swim with Hector Dolphins
45 Minutes swimming with the dolphins
Encounter rare and playful mammals
Voted New Zealand's #1 must-do experience
Beautiful volcanic surroundings
Hot chocolate and hot showers afterwards

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Thu, May 23, 2024

What you can expect

Meet the world’s smallest and friendliest dolphins – the New Zealand Hector’s Dolphin. Akaroa on the Banks Peninsula is a protected marine sanctuary and with Black Cat Cruises you can have a close encounter with these rare and incredibly playful mammals.

Now it is your chance to get out there and swim with the dolphins in their natural habitat. Watch as they dart around, frolicking and mucking about beside you in the ocean waves. This incredible wildlife encounter will resonate forever with you; it truly is an unforgettable experience. Black Cat Cruises provide the wetsuits, masks and a snorkel for your 3 hour excursion of swimming with the dolphins. All you have to bring is your swimming costume, a towel and a sense of fun and adventure. You will be provided with a hot shower afterwards and you can look forward to a hot drink after your swim. What a great way to spend the day with marine nature in a picturesque harbour surrounded by volcanic cliffs and fascinating wildlife.


What you need to know

  • Approximately 3 Hour Cruise in the beautiful Akaroa Harbour
  • 45 minutes swimming with the dolphins
  • Full briefing on dolphin's expected behaviour from dolphin guide
  • All equipment is provided including; wetsuit, mask, snorkel, booties, gloves and a hood if necessary
  • Hot showers available for afterwards
  • Hot chocolate to warm you up after your swim
  • Hotel transfers
  • Photos are an optional extra and can be purchased on the day
  • 2 hour swimming with the dolphins cruise operating between September to April
  • Only place in the World you can swim with Hector’s Dolphins
  • Listed in the Lonely Planet guide as one of the 'Top 10 Marine Mammal Experiences in The World'
  • Beautiful volcanic surroundings
  • Portion of each ticket goes towards research for Hector’s Dolphins
  • The dolphin swim operates all year round
  • 11.30am (October to April)
  • Duration - 2 hours on the water (plus half an hour before and after)
  • Please ensure you arrive 30 minutes prior for check in
  • Tour departs from Main Wharf, 61 Beach Rd, Akaroa
  • Akaroa Harbour is around 90 minutes drive from Christchurch. Akaroa Township is a quaint, French inspired seaside village which is very romantic and unique in New Zealand
What To Bring
  • Swimming costume and a towel (During the low season months of May to September we provide dry suits. With a dry suit you can wear normal clothes underneath and remain 100% dry)
  • Note you should wear warm clothes suitable for a cool day, so a polar fleece, polypropylene underwear, woollen socks and trousers are recommended. Jeans are not suitable
  • The water temperature in Akaroa Harbour ranges from 11C (52F) in the winter to 17C (67F) in the summer
Additional Information
  • All swimmers need to know that they must be confident swimmers in open sea conditions and be able to swim 50 metres unaided, we do not provide life jackets to participate in this activity
  • Can I touch the dolphins? No. These dolphins have extremely sensitive skin and a slight touch may bruise or hurt the dolphin. A nail may scratch the surface of their skin causing infections
  • What happens if no dolphins are sighted? We have a very generous refund policy, $80 of your money will be refunded if no dolphins are seen
  • The minimum age is 8 years old and children should be confident swimmers; they will be close to the boat but obviously will be in water over their heads
  • Customers must declare any pre-existing medical conditions, which may limit your participation
  • A basic level of fitness is required. You will be floating in the water and will be required to swim to and from the boat - distances up to 50 metres (150 feet) at a time
  • Customers should have some knowledge of English, so you can understand safety instructions and emergency procedures. If you do not speak English, you should be able to read and understand the foreign language safety instructions and be confident that you can communicate with crew using the pre-agreed hand signals in the event of an emergency
  • Customers must not be under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • The vessel holds a maximum of 24 passengers at any given time
Terms And Conditions
  • In the unlikely event that customers do not see any dolphins, we offer a 50% refund (both adults and children swimmers) or they can come again another day (swimmers and watchers) should we have availability.
  • If customers see the dolphins but cannot swim with them, then we offer a 25% refund.
  • To avoid unnecessary administration and inconvenience, where ever possible, the refund will be given to you directly from the supplier
Booking Information
  • Confirmation in the form of a tour voucher will be received at time of booking
  • Upon completion of purchase, please print the voucher and present on day of the experience
  • Mobile Vouchers are accepted! - Vouchers can also be presented on your mobile device for this attraction
  • For your information, complete Tour Operator Information including contact details is included on your tour voucher
  • Cruise vessel subject to change without notice
  • Availability was accurate at the time of booking however, is subject to change due to circumstances out of our control
  • We strongly suggest reconfirming your booking with the tour operator within 24 hours of making your booking and prior to making other travel arrangements
  • Prices are seasonal and are constantly changing. The from price displayed may not always be the price you are going to pay, as once you click on your specified date, the price will change to reflect the price for that date/season. Please note that in some cases where you cannot click on a date to obtain the price, please call us so we can assist you

Recent reviews

51 review

What an amazing day from start to finish

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 were 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 even though 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 go on this cruise again. Thank you so much.

Carrie-anne Rowson over 4 years ago

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