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Akaroa - Dolphin Swim - Black Cat Cruises

The only place on the planet, where you can get close to the world's smallest and rarest dolphin, the Hector's Dolphin. Simply rare and unique.


  • Swim with playful Hector's Dolphins in the Akaroa Harbour
  • Rated as one of the ‘Top 10 Marine Mammal Experiences in The World’ by Lonely Planet!
  • Once in a lifetime experience with the world's smallest and rarest dolphin
  • Complimentary refreshments onboard


Watch the video above!

Akaroa Harbour is the only place on the planet where you can get close to the world's smallest and rarest dolphin, the Hector's Dolphin!

These magnificent creatures have made their home base in Akaroa, a stunning French inspired sea-side village just a 90 minute scenic drive from Christchurch. The name Akaroa means "long harbour".

Join Black Cat Cruises for an unforgettable journey where you’ll get the once in a lifetime opportunity to swim with these dolphins inside the naturally protected harbour, not out in the open seas.

Black Cat Cruises are a supreme tourism award winning company with an excellent safety track record and a portion of every ticket sold goes towards the conservation of the Hector's dolphin.

We only allow 12 swimmers in the water at one time allowing greater opportunity for one on one interaction with the dolphins.

Success Rate:

We have a high success rate for swimming with these dolphins, but they are wild dolphins, so seeing them is a great privilege.

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!

In the unlikely event you don’t see any dolphins (average 3% of cruises) then we give you a refund of 50%. If the dolphins don’t want to interact with swimmers (average 17% of cruises) then we give you a 25% refund.

Adult $185.00 (16+ years)
Child $155.00 (8 - 15 years)

What's included

  • Our facilities here on the Main Wharf Akaroa include Briefing Area, spacious and heated Changing Rooms with Hot Showers and Lockers for valuables.
  • Excellent quality wetsuits that are 5mm in thickness.
  • Masks.
  • Hot Chocolate and biscuits on board!


  • Allow approximately 3 hours for the whole experience


  • Departures are from the Akaroa Main Wharf, Akaroa, 7520.


  • All swimmers MUST be confident in open Harbour/Sea conditions as the Akaroa Harbour where you will be swimming is between 15 and 30 metres deep.

    All swimmers must be able to swim a minimum of 50 metres unaided as life jackets are not provided as your swimming ability and confidence must be of the standard that you do not require a Life Jacket.

    Children are required to be a minimum of 8 years old to swim with dolphins.

    Children aged 8-12 years must be accompanied by an adult swimmer.

Child Friendly

  • This experience welcomes families with children.

Bad Weather Refunds

  • If your experience is cancelled by the operator (because of the weather or anything else out of your control) you will be entitled to a full refund.


  • Allow approximately 3 hours for the whole experience, this includes half-hour prior for briefing and getting changed into wetsuits at our facilities.

    2 hours out on the water which includes travel time prior and post-swim.

Available Bookings from March 12 to March 18

Change Dates

All prices are shown in NZD ($)

Fri 12 Mar
Sat 13 Mar
Sun 14 Mar
Mon 15 Mar
Tue 16 Mar
Wed 17 Mar
Thu 18 Mar

  • Adult$119.00 Less than 6 at this price!
  • Child$155.00

  • Adult$119.00 Less than 6 at this price!
  • Child$155.00

Authenticated Reviews & PhotosAll of our reviews are from people who have booked and paid for this activity thru Bookme

Authenticated Reviews & PhotosAll of our reviews are from people who have booked and paid for this activity thru Bookme


184 reviews

Showing all 184 authenticated Bookme reviews

Grace Aberhart-North from New Zealand wrote on 20 February 2021

Absolutely incredible

We had an amazing day. The wetsuits were incredibly buoyant which definitely made us feel comfortable in the water Staff were great and had amazing local knowledge. Had an amazing time, would recommend in a heartbeat !! 5stars!

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Cody MacDonald from New Zealand wrote on 09 February 2021

Akaroa Dolphins

Amazing! Service was great. Attached photos for glimpse of experience

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Jackie Goodfellow from New Zealand wrote on 12 February 2021

Great day

Great day . We saw loads of dolphins. Team great. Unfortunately lots of mothers and babes so we could not swim with them. Great day out so we still give 5 stars. Ron and Jackie Goodfellow

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Stephanie Phua from New Zealand wrote on 08 February 2021

Amazing swim with hector dolphins

We had the most amazing experience swimming with dolphins! I liked how respectful they are of the dolphins, you don’t swim with mothers in calf and only if the dolphin is showing interest in the boat. We were lucky enough to have a good swim with them, and they swam within 1 metre of us. The gear is high quality, with wetsuits and boots to keep you warm and buoyant in the water. Would recommend this company.

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Lorraine Moloney from New Zealand wrote on 06 February 2021

Incredible experience

Chris and Lily were fantastic, great to swim with the dolphins, very warm and safe with the gear provided. Highly recommend

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10:00 a.m.Thursday 13 July

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Adult 16+ years

    Child 8 - 15 years

      *This option must be made together with another price type.

      Qualmark Certification

      This award identifies a business with a high level of professionalism, a keen awareness of the impact it has on the environment and a commitment to a customer centric approach.

      This award is evidence of a sophisticated tourism business that consistently exceeds visitor expectations. Their proactive leadership and management ensure the business’s focus on continuously improving their economic, social and environmental performance to create genuine, constantly evolving and sustainable tourism experiences.

      This award recognises the best sustainable tourism businesses in New Zealand. It denotes exceptional customer experiences at the heart of everything the company does. This business is leading the way in making the New Zealand tourism industry a world class sustainable visitor destination.

      When you see the Qualmark logo, your activity of choice is endorsed by New Zealand Tourism’s official quality assurance organisation and backed by leaders in the industry. It’s your trusted guide to iconic activities and experiences that are awarded for their exceptionally high level of quality, safety and sustainability.

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