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Swimming with Hector’s Dolphins in Akaroa Harbour - Tour from Christchurch

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Key Highlights

  • Swim with the Hector's dolphin, the world's smallest and rarest dolphin
  • Visit Akaroa a charming historic French settlement
  • Tour accompanied by an English speaking guide
  • Pickup and drop off services for centrally located Christchurch hotels
  • Activity Schedule
    When does it run?



    11 hours

    Start time

    0800h (08:00am)
    Duration: 11 hours

    Meeting Point

    Your hotel in Christchurch (Please advise your hotel at the time of booking. If you do not have this information now, please contact the local activity operator 24 hours prior to the start of the tour with these details.)
    Pick up starts from 0730h (07:30pm)

    Ending Point

    Your hotel in Christchurch

  • Overview & Itinerary


    There is only one place on the planet where you can swim with the world's smallest and rarest dolphin - the Hector's or New Zealand Dolphin - and that is the beautiful sheltered setting of Akaroa Harbour in New Zealand's South Island.

    Just 75 kilometres from the city of Christchurch, Akaroa is a charming historic French settlement nestled in the heart of an ancient volcano. Explore the village with its colonial architecture, craft stores and cafés. Relax in the sun at French Bay or find a secluded beach of your own in one of the neighboring bays. Go cruising on the beautiful Akaroa Harbour and view the stunning wildlife.


    You will be picked up from your hotel in Christchurch and taken in an air-conditioned luxury vehicle for a sightseeing tour to Akaroa. The highlight of this tour is swimming with the dolphins. An English-speaking guide will accompany you on this tour.

    Travel to Akaroa via Sign of Takahe, Sign of Kiwi, Governers Bay, Gebbies Pass, Lake Forsyth and Little River.

    Stop at the Hill Top to experience panoramic views of Akaroa Harbor.

    Visit the cheese factory at Barry's Bay and sample some fine New Zealand cheese.

    On arriving at Akaroa board the Canterbury Cat for a two-hour cruise on the Akaroa Harbor during which you will see dolphins, penguins and seals. You will be equipped with wet suit, mask, snorkel and flippers. On locating a pod of Hector’s Dolphins, you will enter the water to swim with these rare and endangered mammals.

    Following your return to the Akaroa village, there will be time for lunch (payable direct) and to explore the many fine craft shops and old French colonial buildings prior to your return to Christchurch. On the way back to Christchurch, weather and time permitting, a stop will be made en route at Birdlings Flat on the Kaitorete Spit. This stony beach is at the entrance to Lake Forsyth and provides commanding views of the South facing cliffs of Banks Peninsula. You can also find pebbles and semi-precious stones on the banks if you look carefully!

    At the end of this memorable tour, you will be dropped back at your hotel in Christchurch.

  • Inclusions & Exclusions


    • Two-hour Akaroa Harbour Cruise including swimming with Hector’s Dolphins
    • Wet suit, snorkel and mask
    • Cheese-sampling in a cheese factory at Barry’s Bay
    • Full safety briefing
    • Hotel pick-up and drop-off
    • Transportation in a luxury air-conditioned coach
    • English-speaking guide


    • Meals
  • Please note & Additional info

    Please note

    Please call the activity operator at least 24 hours prior to start of the tour for reconfirming the departure details.

    Children 0 - 2 years are not permitted on this tour for safety reasons. Children 3 - 7 years are not permitted to swim.

    This tour needs a minimum of 2 passengers to run. If the minimum requirement is not met for your chosen date either a full refund would be provided or alternate day would be allocated.

    Voucher information: You must print and surrender a paper version of your booking voucher for this activity (showing your voucher on a smartphone is not accepted). No refund can be given for customers without a printed copy of their voucher.

    Additional info

    The confirmation voucher includes the local activity operator’s contact details and local telephone numbers at the destination. They will happily answer any logistical questions you may have.