The best things to do around the world

Akaroa Dolphin Swim - Small Group Tour from Christchurch

Hide Map


  • This is a small-group variant of this popular tour which means each participant gets more time with the dolphins
  • Wander around the charming 150 year old French harbourside village of Akaroa
  • Visit a cheese factory and sample some of New Zealand's best cheeses
  • Pickup and drop off services for centrally located Christchurch hotels


On this action-packed tour, travel to Banks Peninsula, visit a cheese factory, enjoy a scenic cruise in the Akaroa Harbour and swim with the Hector’s dolphins.

The historic French village of Akaroa, in the Banks Peninsula, is a 90-minutes drive from Christchurch. Banks Peninsula is the result of violent eruptions from three ancient volcanoes. Akaroa is the site of the only attempted settlement by the French in New Zealand. Their influence is still evident in this vibrant tourist town - look for French street names, quaint historical buildings and inspired cuisine. Here you can cruise around an extinct volcanic crater and see the majestic scenery and stunning wildlife of New Zealand. Swim with the worlds smallest, rarest and friendliest dolphins, the Hector's dolphin, found only in Akaroa Harbour.


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.

back to top

Activity Schedule

When does it run?



9 hours

Start time

01 April 14-31 March 15- 0830h (08:30am)
01 April 15-31 March 16-0800h (08:00am)
Duration: 9 hours

Meeting point

Your hotel in Chrictchurch(We would require your hotel details in order to arrange your pick up. If you do not have this information at the time of booking, please contact the local activity operator at least 48 hours prior to the start of the tour with these details)

Ending point

Your hotel in Christchurch

back to top


  • Hotel pick-up and drop-off
  • Transportation in a deluxe mini coach
  • English-speaking guide
  • Informative commentary on board the coach
  • Morning and afternoon teas
  • Cheese factory visit
  • Cafe lunch in Akaroa
  • 2-hour guided cruise on the Black Cat in the Akaroa Harbor
  • Swimming with the Hector’s dolphins
  • Full briefing by your dolphin guide
  • Wetsuit, snorkel and mask
  • Hot shower on shore
  • Entrance fee


Bring a jacket always - mountain weather can change rapidly even in midsummer. A hat is also suggested as the sun can be intense here in New Zealand. Light weight hiking boots are good. Carry your towel, an extra set of clothes and your bathing suit.

back to top

Please note

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

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.

back to top

Additional info

  • A two hour cruise, which includes ½ hour before for a full briefing, about 2 hours on the water (of which up to 1 hour is spent with the dolphins) and ½ hour afterwards for shower and gift pack
  • 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
back to top

Cancellation policy

See the Cancellation policy for this product

back to top
US$ 314.66 Price per person from
Lowest price guarantee Price guide
  • Child age

Check Availability > No cancellation fees on most bookings
Shop with confidence Secure online booking – guaranteed!