Water activity

Akaroa: Swimming with Wild Dolphins 3-Hour Experience

4.3 / 5

18 reviews

Activity provider: Black Cat Cruises
Water activity

Akaroa: Swimming with Wild Dolphins 3-Hour Experience

Activity provider: Black Cat Cruises
Likely to sell out

From US$ 130.74 per person

Likely to sell out

Swim with one of the world's rarest and smallest dolphins, the Hector's dolphin, in the wild. Spend up to 45 minutes in the water with these amazing animals.

About this activity

Free cancellation
Cancel up to 24 hours in advance for a full refund
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Covid-19 precautions
Special health and safety measures are in place. Check your activity voucher once you book for full details.
Duration 3 hours
Check availability to see starting times.


  • Set sail on a 3-hour cruise aboard a heated jet-powered catamaran
  • Swim with wild Hector's dolphins, the world's smallest and rarest dolphins, in a protected harbor
  • Learn how to interact with the dolphins before getting into the water
  • Enjoy an intimate experience with only 12 swimmers per vessel
Full description
Swim with the endangered Hector’s Dolphin, the world’s rarest and smallest oceanic dolphin. On New Zealand’s ultimate dolphin experience, you’ll have the chance to see and swim with Hector's dolphins close up, in the wild.  Check-in at Akaroa’s main wharf and meet the friendly crew who will provide you with a warm wetsuit, mask, snorkel, booties, gloves, and a hood if necessary. Climb aboard the jet-powered catamaran and cruise out into the sheltered harbor. The highly trained crew will give you a safety briefing and explain how to interact responsibly with the dolphins.  With only 12 swimmers permitted per vessel, you’ll have a greater chance of seeing the dolphins up close. Gear up and slip into the tranquil harbor waters to join the dolphins their natural habitat. The covered vessel has no propellers, making it safer for you and the dolphins. Warm up in the heated cabin or take a hot shower afterwards. Hector's dolphins are protected in Akaroa Harbor by a marine mammal sanctuary. The tour operator was the first cruise boat company in the world to gain the coveted Green Globe 21, an international program to ensure best environmental practices. A portion of every ticket sale goes towards the research and conservation of Hector's dolphins.
  • Snorkel, booties, gloves, and wetsuit
  • Private male and female changing rooms
  • Onboard toilets
  • Hot showers and lockers
  • Swim guide and swim skipper
  • Engaging and informative commentary
  • Full safety briefing
  • Life jackets or swimming aids

Select participants and date



Meeting point

Meet at the Black Cat cruises office. Akaroa is located 90 minutes by car from Christchurch city and Christchurch International Airport.

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Important information

Not allowed

  • Unaccompanied minors

Know before you go

  • No life jackets are provided. You must be able to swim and a basic level of fitness is required
  • You will be floating in the water and are required to swim to/ from the boat (distances up to 50m)
  • 45 minutes is the max time allowed with dolphins as permitted by the New Zealand Department of Conservation
  • Children must be 8 or older and those between 8 to 12 years must be accompanied by an adult swimmer
  • You must declare any medical conditions which may limit your participation
  • You will need some knowledge of English to understand the safety instructions and emergency procedures. If you do not speak English, you should be able to read and understand the foreign language safety instructions and be confident that you can communicate with the crew using pre-agreed hand signals in the event of an emergency
  • When booking, add on an ‘observer’ ticket if you are travelling with a swimmer. If no one in your party is swimming, book the 'Akaroa Harbor 2-Hour Nature Cruise' instead
Customer reviews

Overall rating

4.3 /5

based on 18 reviews

Review summary

  • Guide
  • Transportation
  • Service
  • Organization

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Star rating:

This was fantastic. Staff were very honest about the low chance of swimming with dolphins due to the orca activity in the area and offered a transfer to the sightseeing cruise instead. I accepted the risk that we would not swim and went anyway. SO glad that I did. We did indeed get to swim with these beautiful creatures. Thomas took photos and unlike other activities where you are asked to purchase photos for an inflated price - we were all emailed the photos for free shortly after the tour. This tour was simply terrific. I highly recommend.

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February 6, 2023

January 18, 2023

Tolle Hilfe super bemüht und würden wir sicher wieder machen

January 3, 2023


Product ID: 180026