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Spend your shore excursion in Akaroa on a 2-hour nature cruise around Akaroa Harbour. Your professional skipper points out abundant wildlife that may include Hector’s dolphins — the world’s rarest and smallest dolphins — New Zealand fur seals, blue penguins and yellow-eyed penguins. You’ll motor past volcanic cliffs and remote sea caves by luxury catamaran en route to Seal Bay and a salmon farm in Lucas Bay. 


  • Nature cruise in Akaroa Harbour shore excursion
  • 2-hour Akaroa Harbour cruise by luxury boat to see the worlds smallest and rarest dolphin, the Hector's dolphin
  • See fur seals as you cruise past Seal Bay
  • Stop at Lucas Bay to see a salmon farm
  • Stunning scenery and plenty of photo opportunities
  • Fully narrated by knowledgeable skipper
  • Not covered by Viator’s worry-free policy: guaranteed on-time return to your ship

What You Can Expect

Akaroa Shore Excursion: Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise

Hector Dolphins - Akaroa Nature Cruise

After your cruise ship docks the Akaroa terminal, catch the tender to the main wharf, making sure to arrive a minimum of 30 minutes before your 2-hour nature cruise departs for Akaroa Harbour.

Find yourself a perfect spot on the 60-foot (18-meter) luxury catamaran, which offers a choice of two observation decks that provide plenty of unobstructed views of Akaroa’s wildlife. Sip complimentary coffee and tea while the skipper shares information about the harbor’s natural history and geographical features — such as Cathedral Cave and the volcanic amphitheater of Scenery Nook — and brings your attention to any marine life.

Motor past Akaroa Lighthouse and keep an eye out for petite Hector’s dolphins, whose calves often swim alongside the boat between October and March. You may also encounter white-flippered penguins — the world’s smallest penguin — or the endangered yellow-eyed penguin.

Snap photos of New Zealand fur seals basking on the rocks at Seal Bay, and make a stop at a salmon farm in Lucas Bay to learn how Akaroa salmon are raised, before your boat returns to the dock.

This excursion is located within a 5-minute walk to the cruise port, so you determine the time you return to your ship in Akaroa. Please allow yourself ample time to enjoy the excursion and ensure your timely return to the port. This excursion is not covered by our worry-free policy.

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Customer Reviews

Domenick S

5 star rating: Highly Recommended February 2017

Excellent excursion, the boat was comfortable, we cruised the entire harbor and saw Hectors dolphins very rare, seals, varied sea
birds. The captain was knowledgeable and gave a good history of the area and the natural rock formations. The fact it was a cloudless day helped too.

Elizabeth T

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2017

We enjoyed this cruise immensely. The commentary was excellent, saw dolphins, many birds, all types, was told what they were etc. but the most exciting part for me was that we went in close and saw baby seals with their mums crawling over the rocks 'crying'. It was so loud I took a video and you can clearly hear them. You don't often see that, especially in the wild, it was very exciting for all.

Mr c p G

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2016

Great trip very knowledgeable and lovely crew take some warm clothes as it can be cold out of the harbour.


5 star rating: Highly Recommended April 2016

Superb excursion!

Pete United States of ... 

5 star rating: Highly Recommended February 2016

This two hour harbor cruise far exceeded our expectations. Words can not describe the beauty of the volcanic activity that created this harbor and the opportunity to view birds, Hector dolphins, and fur seals up close, even catching a glimpse of a whale and a blue penguin. Julian was GREAT!

Ruth H

5 star rating: Highly Recommended February 2014

We were able to view numerous wildlife. The weather was beautiful. The guide/narrator was well versed and entertaining. We thoroughly enjoyed our Akaroa Harbor cruise.

Anwar H

5 star rating: Highly Recommended February 2014

We had a great experience.


5 star rating: Highly Recommended December 2013

Highly recommended with excellent facilities on board and lots of wildlife to see. Had a great time.

GloriaJean G

4 star rating: Recommended March 2016

After several emails back and forth, we eventually got on the 1pm catamaran cruise. Was very good. We saw lots and lots of the cute little dolphins, surrounding the catamaran on several occasions. We saw all the interesting caves and rock formations and also about a half a dozen baby seals on the rocks, not too many adults. Guess they were out fishing for dinner! Very good tour, good narration.

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