You will be picked up from your hotel in Christchurch and taken on an adventure-packed sightseeing tour to Akaroa and Banks Peninsula. There will also be a cruise in Akaroa Harbour and a chance to swim with the Hector’s dolphins. An English-speaking guide will accompany you on the tour.
Travel in a deluxe mini coach to Akaroa over the beautiful Banks Peninsula, listening to informative commentary along the way. Situated about an hour’s drive from Christchurch, the Banks Peninsula was formed following violent eruptions of two ancient volcanoes. The high summit route gives you glorious views of Akaroa Harbour, the Canterbury Plains and the distant Southern Alps and the remote bays and farmlands. The Akaroa crater nurses the picturesque harbour and Akaroa village, the only French settlement established in New Zealand.
Visit the Barry's Bay Cheese Factory for a cheese tasting of locally made cheeses, the only remaining cheese factory on the peninsula from a bygone era.
Enjoy the quaint colonial style architecture and wander around the charming 150 year old French harbourside village of Akaroa with its museum of settlers' history, art and craft shops and studios, cafes and wine bars.
Stop for a delicious café lunch in Akaroa.
The next part of your tour involves a two-hour scenic cruise in the Akaroa Harbour, which is actually the flooded crater of an extinct volcano.
Board the Black Cat, a modern catamaran which is perfect for viewing the natural wonders of the harbour. The vessel is the largest and most luxurious on the harbour. There's lots of space on the 2 decks for unimpeded viewing and there's plenty of covered seating, in case you need to get out of the sunshine. Inside there's a bar and toilets. The cruise is fully narrated by your skipper who has extensive knowledge of the nature, wildlife and history of the harbour.
See one of the world's smallest and rarest dolphins, the Hector's or New Zealand Dolphin. These friendly and inquisitive mammals come close to the boat. Also catch glimpses of the White Flippered Blue Penguin, the smallest penguin in the world. You'll also see the New Zealand Fur Seal sunning themselves on the harbor’s rocks near the entrance at Seal Bay.
The highlight of this cruise is an opportunity to swim with these fascinating dolphins. Akaroa is Harbour is actually the flooded crater of an extinct volcano. Apart from the huge and awe-inspiring volcanic cliffs, this also means that the harbour is very sheltered. Your swim is not in the open sea, its inside a sheltered harbour. Since only 10 swimmers are allowed per vessel, there is more of a chance for you to come face to face with the Hector’s dolphins.
After your swim, you’ll have time for a hot shower.
Re-board your coach and begin the return journey.
At the end of the tour, you will be dropped back at your hotel in Christchurch.