• Location: Akaroa, New Zealand
  • Duration: 2 hours (approx.)
From USD $ 59.41 View price calendar

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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


5 star rating: Highly Recommended February 2018

We had a great time. We were lucky enough to see penguins, baby seals, dolphins and albatross. Went out to see sea caves and had good commentary. Got the passengers involved by helping with any sightings.

Gerard B

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2018

Having read previous reviews there is not much more I can say in a positive way. Akaroa is a very beautiful place and we thoroughly enjoyed the experience. We saw most of the wildlife.

Fiona K

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2018

The cruise was amazing - thank you! Heaps of dolphins, entertaining commentary and great staff.

Michael John D

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2018

great excursion and saw plenty of dolphin and the baby seal colony. Lovely boat to travel on with a good crew

Linda J

5 star rating: Highly Recommended December 2017

I have never seen so many Dolphins they were everywhere. I highly recommend this tour.


5 star rating: Highly Recommended December 2017

Exceeded my high expectations. Two hour cruise, nicely narrated, and quite thrilling from the bow with excellent photo ops, successfully found a large number of local dolphin, plus seals and albatross. An unexpected pleasure was the geology lesson as we pulled in close to immense, colorful walls, and learned about the area's volcanic origin. I arrived by cruise ship through these same harbor waters, but you can't appreciate it unless you see things up close from a smaller vessel, with a wonderfully friendly, skilled crew.

chuckrapp United States of ... 

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2017

Very enjoyable tour! Captain Julian and crew were informative and attentive. Sights were fantastic! Highly recommend this tour. It's worth the drive and the time to reach Akaroa.

Anne D

5 star rating: Highly Recommended April 2017

We were on the afternoon cruise, the wind was quite blustery so the water was choppy, but that didn't spoil the experience one bit. The cruise took us around the harbour, where we saw the wonderful caves and rock formations on the cliffs. As we moved towards the harbour entrance, we began to see more and more wildlife- besides shags and other sea birds, Andrew, the commentator, pointed out lots of fur seals on the rocks, and we pulled into get a closer look. In the harbour mouth a pod of Hectors dolphins put on a show for us, topped off by a single white flippered penguin which floated serenely by. The crew were almost as excited as the passengers. Highly recommended- a great short excursion.

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.

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