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Swimming with Dolphins Akaroa
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Dolphins Akaroa
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  • Dolphin watching NZ
  • wild dolphins
  • Dolphins Akaroa
  • Swim with wild dolphins
  • Dolphin encounters
  • Dolphin swimming in Akaroa
  • Dolphin tours NZ
  • New Zealand Dolphins
  • Dolphin Experience Akaroa
 

Swimming With Dolphins

Your Black Cat dolphin swim experience

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 marine mammal sanctuary and our cruise gives you the chance to see these beautiful marine mammals close up. We operate for 9 months of the year from September through to the end of May.

  • 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,1 per day May and September (Winter). Dolphin swimming does not operate from June - August (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 $145 per adult and $120 per child. If you don’t want to swim, you can watch from the swim boats for $75 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

The great thing about viewing or swimming with dolphins is that you are doing it in their natural habitat completely on their terms, and so of course we cannot absolutely ‘guarantee’ dolphins on every single trip, and nor can any other operator.

Sometimes dolphins may have calves with them, or are feeding, mating or just resting. It’s important for us not to interact with dolphins when they don’t want to.

But you may be interested to know that in the last 12 months we saw dolphins on 98% of our cruises and had successful swims on 81% of our swim trips. So you have to be a bit unlucky to miss out!

We understand that a dolphin experience is important to our customers so we have devised a guarantee of sorts which is as follows:

 

Swimming with dolphins: if you don’t see any dolphins (average 2% of cruises) then we give you a cash refund of $80 or a ticket to come back another day. If the dolphins just don’t want to interact with swimmers (average 17% of cruises) then we give you a $50 cash refund.

Remember this is not a guarantee to see dolphins on our trips but it is a guarantee that you get to see them another day or get a partial refund (refunds for swimmers only).

Pre-Booking Essential

Booking your dolphin swim is easy. Just fill out the online booking form at the bottom of the screen, or call our 24 hour phone line (64) 3 304 7641. You can also fax us your booking on (64) 3 304 7643.

Remember we only carry 12 swimmers per trip so book now to avoid disappointment. Please note you MUST be able to swim AT LEAST 50 METRES

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Ensuring an Unforgettable Dolphin Swim

You are booking a three hour experience. Please allow half an hour before departing for a full briefing, about two hours on the water (of which up to an hour is spent with the dolphins) and half an hour afterwards for showering.

All our crew are highly trained on safety and how to maximise your dolphin swimming experience. This means that you’ll get a great briefing on how to interact with the dolphins and what to expect prior to your journey. They’ll also give you safety instructions and other information to allow you to enjoy your experience. If you are new to snorkeling and using a wetsuit, your crew will be on hand to help you out. You must be confident in the water and capable of swimming at least 50 metres.

Swimming with Dolphins in AkaroaWe provide wetsuits, masks and snorkel. You only have to bring you swimming costume and a towel. We’ll provide you with a hot shower afterwards and there’s a hot drink after your swim.

Our office is based on Akaroa's main wharf, so when you are in your wetsuit you can get straight into your boat ready for departure.

We have modern vessels. Our main boat is a heated, covered, jet powered catamaran. It’s safer for you and the dolphins because there are no propellers. It’s also heated so after your swim you can warm up quickly in the cabin. Our second vessel is not covered however we use it only during the summer months. You can specify the covered vessel when you are booking online.

Quality assured - You’ll be cruising with an award winning company that is also Qualmark rated, a quality assurance programme to recognise those tourism operators who are prepared to go the extra mile.

Souvenir gift pack. We’re the only operator in Akaroa to provide a gift pack as a souvenir of your swim. The pack includes your black and silver swim certificate, dolphin information sheet and a free postcard, perfect for sending to a friend or relative.

Photographs of you in the water. We are the only dolphin swimming operator in New Zealand to offer photographs of your experience. This is a great memento that includes images of you in the water with the dolphins. The pack also includes a CD with video and lots of pictures and further information about dolphins.

Help protect the Dolphins. Every booking with us makes a donation to ongoing research and education on Hector’s dolphins. Our company was also the first cruise boat company in the world to get the coveted Green Globe 21, an international programme to ensure best environmental practices.

Refund Policy. Our refund policy details are as follows –

  1. Cancellation of swim based on weather conditions. Full refund is applicable.
  2. No dolphins. Refund of $80 of the value of your ticket.
  3. No Swim. Dolphins are seen but swim not judged good enough. Flat rate of $50 back for swimmers only.

Booking your dolphin swim is easy. Just fill out the online booking form, or call our 24 hour phone line (64) 3 304 7641. You can also fax us your booking on (64) 3 304 7643.

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Schedule and Prices

Departs

Report time at  8.30am, 11.30am, 1.30pm, 3.30pm on demand (11.30am only during May & Sep)

Duration

Two hours on the water(plus half an hour before and after)

Adult

$145 ($75 to watch)

Child

$115 [8 to 15 years] (watching $35) [5-15 years]

children under the age of 12 need to have an adult swimming with them

Prices are in New Zealand dollars and include GST.

How to get to Akaroa

Akaroa is located around 80 to 90 minutes drive from Christchurch city and Christchurch International Airport. It is an easy drive in a car through New Zealand farmland and then over the hills to Akaroa. See http://maps.google.com/ for detailed directions of how to get from Christchurch to Akaroa.

Once in Akaroa, continue along Rue Lavaud which turns into Beach Rd,  look for the long wharf in the centre of the town. You’ll see our large blue building on the wharf with a dolphin mural painted on the roof. You can also find us at 61 Beach Road. Print this map out to help you navigate.

Cruise ship passengers will disembark directly onto the main wharf in Akaroa. This is where our main booking office and gift shop is located. Please allow enough time for you tender boat to reach the wharf in time for your activity check in.

For tours to Akaroa including transport from Christchurch you can choose one of these options. All of these operators link with Black Cat Cruises.

 

Adventure Canterbury
www.adventurecanterbury.co.nz
Tel 0800 847 455

Akaroa French Connection
Tel 0800 800 575

Akaroa Shuttle
www.akaroashuttle.co.nz
Tel 0800 500 929

Canterbury Leisure Tours
www.leisuretours.co.nz
Tel 0800 484 485

Canterbury Trails
www.canterburytrails.co.nz
Tel 03 337 1185

Discovery Travel
http://www.discoverytravel.co.nz/content.asp?PageID=3464&orgfn=content
Tel + 64-3-3578262

Explore Canterbury 
Phone 0800 08 07 06 (NZ only))
www.explorecanterbury.co.nz

akaroa-cruise2

Kowhai Tours 
www.kowhaitours.com 
Tel 03 388 7899

The Inside Story
www.insidestory.co.nz
03 379 8481

OR contact a reservations centre such as

Christchurch information centre (i-site)
www.christchurchnz.net
Tel 03 379 9629

Directions to Akaroa Map
For tours to Akaroa including transport from Christchurch you can choose one of these options. All of these operators link with Black Cat Cruises.
 

Adventure Canterbury
www.adventurecanterbury.co.nz
Tel 0800 847 455

Akaroa French Connection
Tel 0800 800 575

Akaroa Shuttle
www.akaroashuttle.co.nz
Tel 0800 500 929

Canterbury Leisure Tours
www.leisuretours.co.nz
Tel 0800 484 485

Canterbury Trails
www.canterburytrails.co.nz
Tel 03 337 1185

Discovery Travel
http://www.discoverytravel.co.nz/content.asp?PageID=3464&orgfn=content
Tel + 64-3-3578262

Explore Canterbury
Phone 0800 08 07 06 (NZ only))
www.explorecanterbury.co.nz

akaroa-cruise2

Kowhai Tours
www.kowhaitours.com
Tel 03 388 7899

The Inside Story
www.insidestory.co.nz
03 379 8481

OR contact a reservations centre such as

Christchurch information centre (i-site)
www.christchurchnz.net
Tel 03 379 9629


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What to Bring

What to take dolphin swimmingBring your swimming costume and a towel. Everything else is provided for you including wetsuit, mask, snorkel, booties, gloves and a hood if necessary. 

The water temperature in Akaroa Harbour ranges from 11C (52F) in the winter to 17C (67F) in the summer.

Information for Parents

Like a lot of adults, children love dolphins and swimming with them can be an unforgettable experience. 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.  Children between the ages of 8 and 12 need to have an adult swimming in the water with them.

Children love dolphin swimmming in Akaroa!Wetsuits help to keep them floating - without effort, and your guide will provide a floating noodle, if necessary, and keep a very close eye on them. If you have your own wetsuit please bring it along, we have some children’s wetsuits available too. Both yourself and your child must be able to swim at least 50 metres.


Preschool age children can come out in the boat to watch the dolphins if supervised. We suggest that while one person is swimming your partner is supervising the children, and then you swap over at half time. If you are travelling alone with your child, unfortunately we do not have child care facilities - we suggest a dolphin watching cruise as a safer  option.

Essential Information to Swim with the Dolphins

Customers must have a basic skill level of swimming ability. You must be able to swim at least 50 meters. Obviously the water is over your head and a degree of confidence in swimming is required.

Swim with the dolphins on an Akaroa CruiseCustomers 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.

Minimum age for children. Swimming with dolphins is not available for children under 8 years old.  A fit and confident child aged 8 and above is able to swim with dolphins. Please note children under the age of 12 need to have an adult swimming in the water with them.

Customers must bring with them a swimming costume and towel.

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.

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Book Now

To make a booking, please use our online booking form.

 

 
Akaroa Ph: +64 3 304 7641  |   Lyttelton Ph: +64 3 328 9078  |   Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it