One of New Zealand's most gorgeous harbors, Akaroa provides a scenic backdrop for this excursion around its pristine shore, where you're bound to see abundant marine life.
Depart right from the pier on a luxury catamaran that's ideal for viewing the natural wonders of Akaroa harbor. In the native Maori language, Akaroa means "Long Harbor," a reference to this lengthy stretch of sea that a massive volcanic eruption formed millions of years ago. Cruising along the pristine waterway, you'll learn of the harbor's geological history and see how the sea has eroded ancient lava flows at natural attractions such as majestic Cathedral Cave and the sheer cliff face of Scenery Nook, a volcanic amphitheater of pinks, purples and reds.
Still, the harbor's most impressive natural wonder is its teeming marine life. The chances are high that you will see fur seals, little blue penguins and the spotted shag, a light-colored species of cormorant that nests in colonies on rocky cliffs. The spotted shag is endemic to New Zealand and was featured on a postage stamp in a series devoted to native birds. These waters are also home to the playful Hector's dolphin, the world's smallest oceanic dolphin. Being gray with black-and-white markings, they are easy to spot frolicking around the harbor. Before returning to the pier, you will also cruise past the Akaroa Salmon Farm, where salmon are reared in protective pens before being harvested for international export.
Please note: This tour includes limited walking and is mostly seated. The tour is available to wheelchair guests who have a collapsible wheelchair, are able to make their own way on and off the catamaran with limited assistance, and have an able-bodied companion to assist them. Those with mobility concerns are cautioned to carefully evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Casual clothing which should include a light jacket and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended.