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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

    • All equipment
    • Excellent quality wetsuits
    • Snorkels and goggles
    • Hot showers are available back on the wharf
    • Hot chocolate and biscuits on board
    • Free souvenir postcard


    • Allow approximately 3 hours for the whole experience


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


    • Customers MUST be confident swimmers and capable in the sea.

      Child must be over 8 years to swim with dolphins.

      Children aged 8-12 years must be accompanied by 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.

    Available Bookings from November 28 to December 04

    Change Dates

    All prices are shown in NZD ($)

    Sat 28 Nov
    Sun 29 Nov
    Mon 30 Nov
    Tue 1 Dec
    Wed 2 Dec
    Thu 3 Dec
    Fri 4 Dec

    6spaces priced from:

    • Adult$129.00
    • Child$155.00

    2spaces priced from:

    • Adult$185.00
    • Child$155.00

    6spaces priced from:

    • Adult$92.50
    • Child$155.00

    4spaces priced from:

    • Adult$129.00
    • Child$155.00

    5spaces priced from:

    • Adult$92.50
    • 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


    162 reviews

    Showing all 162 authenticated Bookme reviews

    Jessica from New Zealand wrote on 14 October 2019

    An amazing experience

    We were lucky to end up on an extremely small trip of only 3 of us swimming in early October. Black Cat provide brilliant wetsuits, booties and gloves which kept me nice and warm in the water (and I always feel the cold). We were fortunate to have two pods of dolphins come together around us. The team was super friendly and experienced. I would definitely recommend this trip to everyone.

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    freyab3 from United Kingdom wrote on 14 November 2019


    Couldn’t have asked for a better experience! We all had an amazing time.. Very well organised, crew are very friendly & helpful AND the dolphins are spectacular! I’ll be recommending Black Cat Cruises to everyone I know coming to New Zealand! Thanks again for a great day!

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    Pauline from France wrote on 26 November 2020

    A dream that came true!

    This day was the best day of our lives. My boyfriend and I were also very lucky. We were just the 2 of us on the boat with the amazing crew that made this time even better. We knew we might not be able to swim with dolphins at all but just seeing them would have been already crazy. And actually we ended up swimming with 12 dolphins! I still can't believe it. I'm really happy that we choose to do it with them, they protect and respect the dolphins and that was really important for me. So all I can say is don't think about it anymore and go for it, you won't regret it!

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    bbadger from New Zealand wrote on 16 November 2020

    Swimming with the dolphins

    An awesome experience that everyone must do if they have the opportunity.

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    lucylyoung from New Zealand wrote on 12 November 2020

    Great experience

    Great experience!

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    10:00 a.m.Thursday 13 July

    Spaces Left

    Adult 16+ years

      Child 8 - 15 years

        *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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