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.