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Wander the charming village of Akaroa, and opt for either a harbor cruise or dolphin swim on this small-group tour from Christchurch. Start with a scenic drive through the magnificent Banks Peninsula where you’re treated to summit views of Akaroa Harbour, the Canterbury Plains and the distant Southern Alps. Sample locally made cheeses at a cheese factory, explore Akoroa and enjoy a cafe lunch before a nature cruise or dolphin swim alongside Hector's dolphins. Numbers are limited to eight people for a personalized experience.


  • Full-day tour exploring the french harborside village of Akaroa
  • Enjoy cheese tasting at Barry's Bay Cheese Factory
  • Scenic harbor and nature cruise including the option to swim with the Hectors dolphins (option to be selected at time of booking)
  • Enjoy a cafe lunch
  • Delicious picnic morning and afternoon tea
  • Plenty of photo opportunities
  • Full escorted with informative commentary
  • Traveling in a small group, maximum eight passengers allowing a unique and intimate experience
  • Hotel pickup and drop off

What You Can Expect

Akaroa Harbour and Banks Peninsula Eco Marine Harbour Cruise Small Group Tour

Akaroa Harbour and Banks Peninsula Eco Marine Harbour Cruise Small Group Tour

Swim with the world’s smallest and rarest dolphins or opt for a harbor cruise on this full-day tour from Christchurch to the picturesque village of Akaroa, the only French settlement established in New Zealand.

Depart your hotel by minivan and travel south along a scenic route over the Banks Peninsula, an ancient landscape of volcanic origin. When you reach the summit, breathe in the views of tucked-away bays and Akaroa Harbour along with the farmlands of the Canterbury Plains and the snow-capped Southern Alps in the distance. 

After approx. 90 minutes your driver-guide descends into the Akaroa crater, which contains the harbor and picturesque village. Here, start with a tasting of locally made cheeses at Barrys Bay Cheese, established in the 19th century. Meander the quaint French and British settlement teeming with colonial architecture, art galleries, craft shops, wine bars and al fresco cafes where you’ll make a stop for lunch.

In the afternoon, you have your choice of a nature cruise on Akaroa Harbour or a dolphin swim with the world's smallest oceanic dolphin, before making the return trip to Christchurch with drop-off at your hotel.

Nature Cruise:
Board the Canterbury Cat and cruise through the clear waters of the harbor in search of birdlife and marine mammals and in their natural habitat, including Hector's dolphins.

Dolphin Swim:
Board a specially designed boat that allows you to enter the private domain of Hector's dolphins — found only in New Zealand, usually around the South Island. Watch the playful creatures up close and then enter the water for a once-in-a-lifetime dolphin swim.

Customer Reviews

June A. G

5 star rating: Highly Recommended December 2014

Excellent tour with lots of interesting places to visit and see. Tour guide was excellent. Well worth seeing!! I appreciate the small groups with lots of interaction with tour guide and other participants.


5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2011

Great trip. John, my guide was very friendly and seemed to know everything about the flora and fauna that we came across on the trip. it was very well planned and gives you a chance to get out of the city and see more of the countryside. the sights on the cruise were incredible.

Lazar L Australia

5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2010

Fantastic! Loved everything about the tour, except perhaps the sea sickness. A really enjoyable and memorable day! Would recommend to anyone.

Lois F

4 star rating: Recommended October 2015

Very good scenic tour and the guide was great. The Eco Marine tour is not for everyone because the boat goes extremely close to the rocks and can be unnerving but it was a good tour.

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