Black Cat Cruises, Akaroa

Black Cat Cruises Akaroa Wildlife cruises in Akaroa New Zealand Swim with Hector's dolphins Akaroa Diamond Harbour Ferry NZ Akaroa boat charter

Swim with dolphins, or cruise Akaroa Harbour

Black Cat Cruises helps create some of the most memorable experiences to be had on the water anywhere on New Zealand’s Canterbury coastline. If you are looking for a Christchurch tour and you’ve always wanted to swim with dolphins, get an insider’s view of marine wildlife or charter an unforgettable trip with friends, you are in the right place.

Black Cat has been cruising the waters of Banks Peninsula for more than 25 years and is a must see Christchurch attraction. We know all there is to know about the harbours of Lyttelton and Akaroa – their volcanic origins and their marine inhabitants.

Your Black Cat Dolphin Swim Experience

BOOKINGS ESSENTIAL. With Black Cat Cruises you will enjoy an incredible experience, swimming with some of the world’s smallest, friendliest and rarest dolphins. Hector’s Dolphins are protected in Akaroa Harbour by a special marine reserve and our cruise gives you the chance to see these beautiful marine mammals close up.

  • Black Cat’s Dolphin Swimming adventure allows only 12 swimmers per vessel, so you’ll have more chances to come face to face with the dolphins
  • We operate up to 16 cruises per day November – March (Summer), up to 8 per day in April and October and 1 per day May – September (Winter)
  • With only 12 swimmers allowed per vessel, cruises are frequently sold out, which makes it essential for you to book in advance
  • Black Cat’s dolphin swimming cruises cost $139 per adult and $115 per child. If you don’t want to swim, you can watch from the swim boats for $72 per adult and $35 per child. All prices are quoted in New Zealand dollars and include GST (goods and service tax).
  • Akaroa Harbour is 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. A lot of the time, especially in summer, your dolphin swim will be inside the sheltered harbour.
  • Black Cat was the first cruise boat company in the world to get the coveted Green Globe 21, an international programme to ensure best environmental practices.

Our Dolphin Swimming Guarantee
If you see dolphins but for some reason do not get to swim with them, then we give you a part refund. This might happen if the dolphins have calves with them, or are feeding or mating. In this case you get a $50 refund from your fare. In the last 12 months we saw dolphins on 98% of our cruises and had successful swims on 81%. Swim with the Dolphin tours do not operate over winter (June/July/August).

Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise

The historic French Village of Akaroa and its spectacular harbour is just a 90 minutes drive from Christchurch. Here you’ll cruise around an extinct volcanic crater and experience majestic scenery and stunning wildlife on daily harbour cruises.

Your Akaroa Harbour cruise is packed with highlights including the rare NZ native dolphin - the Hector's Dolphin, as well as penguins and other sea birds. And you'll see giant volcanic sea cliffs and hear about Akaroa's fascinating past. Cruises depart every day, weather permitting.

Akaroa Charter Cruises

The Black Cat Group has two large, well equipped catamarans available for charter cruising, catering for groups of 30 or more passengers.

This is the ideal option if you are looking for a unique event venue – for business groups, social clubs, conference delegates or functions with a very special flavour. We also offer a wedding cruise option, with every aspect of your wedding catered for, from the ceremony itself through to the reception, complete with two course buffet meal.

We also operate the Diamond Harbour Ferry and run Charter Cruises for groups of 30 plus passengers.

RATES: Quoted in NZ$, Subject to Change, Prices include GST.

DOLPHIN SWIMMING CRUISES - $139 per adult and $115 per child. If you don’t want to swim, you can watch from the swim boats for $72 per adult and $35 per child.


  • Departs - Daily at 1.30pm, Also at 11.00am from Nov to April 3.40pm mid Dec to mid March
  • Duration - Two hours
  • Adult - $72
  • Child - (5-15) $30


OPTION 1 - 3 hour dinner cruise (Lyttelton) - $85 per adult, $40 per child

  • Minimum charge $2550 (30 adults), maximum capacity 70 people
  • Includes full boat hire & 2 course spit roast buffet meal


What you get:

Start your evening with a welcome drink alongside the jetty in Lyttelton. Once the delicious hot pizza arrives from Freemans, we will let the lines go and cruise the sights of Lyttelton Harbour for 2 hours.

  • Cost: $55.00 per person (we have allowed for half a pizza per person. If more is needed you can order these at $20.00 each).

OPTION 3 - Chartered Boat (BYO Food) - 2 hours: $1500, 3 hours $2000.

We can supply nibbles (platters of breads and cheese sticks with assorted dips and spreads for $15.00 per person. Please note that in accordance with our Liquor License we expect at least 4 food varieties excluding chips, peanuts, snack foods, etc. We reserve the right to refuse the service of alcohol if the food requirement is not met.


Wedding Cruise - Price on application

  • Minimum charge $1500.00 (30 adults for 2 hours)
  • Maximum capacity: 70 people
  • Includes full boat hire
  • Additional hours: $500.00 per hour

Please visit our website for full details about these cruises.

Black Cat Cruises, Akaroa Enquiry Form


PO Box 23

Phone: +64 3 304 7641

Fax: +64 3 304 7643

Web: Visit website

Black Cat Cruises, Akaroa Enquiry Form