The calm and pristine waters of Akaroa Harbour offer a unique opportunity to witness some of the majestic creatures that roam the ocean – whales. Whale watching in Akaroa is a thrilling and awe-inspiring experience that draws visitors from around the world. With its rich history and stunning natural beauty, Akaroa is considered one of the top whale watching destinations in New Zealand. In this post, we will explore everything you need to know about experiencing the best whale watching in Akaroa. From the best times to visit, to the different whale species that inhabit the waters, to the top tour operators, we have got you covered. Get ready to embark on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure and witness some of the world’s largest mammals in their natural habitat.
The 2 Best Whale Watching in Akaroa
The 2 Best Whale Watching in Akaroa
1. Akaroa Dolphins Harbour Nature Cruises
Embark on a delightful tour of Akaroa Harbour and witness the rare Hector’s dolphins on a spacious catamaran. The tour includes a complimentary drink, which can be either a New Zealand beer, wine or non-alcoholic beverage, along with the famous home-baked cookies made from a family recipe. The 2-hull catamaran provides better stability and ample deck space compared to single-hull boats, ensuring a comfortable experience as you watch out for other wildlife such as fur seals and white-flippered penguins. The dolphin-spotting dogs aboard the catamaran, equipped with life-vests, will help you make the most out of your dolphin encounter with their keen ears. Please note that swimming with the dolphins is not allowed. Check-in is no later than 30 minutes before departure at 65 Beach Road, Akaroa, with boarding 15 minutes before departure time. Don’t miss the chance to observe these fascinating creatures in their natural habitat on this exciting wildlife harbor cruise.
2. Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise
Experience the majestic scenery and stunning wildlife of Akaroa Harbour on a fully narrated 2-hour nature cruise. Board a spacious luxury catamaran and enjoy prime views of the harbor’s sea caves and volcanic cliffs as your knowledgeable skipper provides full commentary. Keep your eyes peeled for the world’s smallest and rarest dolphin, the Hector’s dolphin, as well as fur seals at Seal Bay and a salmon farm at Lucas Bay. With plenty of photo opportunities and tea and coffee provided on board, this nature cruise is the perfect way to explore the beauty of Akaroa Harbour. Hotel pickup and drop off, full on-board commentary, and gratuities are all included. Don’t forget to check in at the Black Cat office on the Main Wharf at least 30 minutes prior to departure.
Whale Watching in Akaroa: Your Ultimate Guide
If you’re planning to visit Akaroa and catch a glimpse of the magnificent whales that call its waters home, you might have a lot of questions. Here, we’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions about whale watching in Akaroa.
What types of whales can be seen in the waters around Akaroa?
The waters around Akaroa are home to a wide variety of whales. The most commonly spotted whales are the Hector’s dolphins and the humpback whales. Additionally, you have a high chance of spotting blue whales, fin whales, and southern right whales.
When is the best time to go whale watching in Akaroa?
The best time to go whale watching in Akaroa is from November to March. During this period, the waters are warmer, and there is plenty of food for the whales.
What should I wear for whale watching in Akaroa?
It’s essential to wear comfortable clothing that you don’t mind getting wet. Bring a waterproof jacket, hat, and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun and wind. Wear comfortable, non-slip shoes, and don’t forget to bring extra layers of clothing to keep you warm.
How long does a whale watching tour in Akaroa last?
Most whale watching tours in Akaroa last for about two to three hours, depending on the company and the weather conditions.
Is it possible to see whales from the shore in Akaroa?
It’s possible to spot whales from the shore in Akaroa, but your chances of seeing them are much higher on a whale watching tour. On a tour, you’ll go further out to sea and have the expert guidance of professional guides, who know where the whales are likely to be.
What kind of boat is used for whale watching tours in Akaroa?
Most whale watching tours in Akaroa use large, stable boats that are specifically designed for whale watching. These boats are safe, comfortable, and provide an excellent vantage point for viewing the whales.
Are whale watching tours in Akaroa safe?
Yes, whale watching tours in Akaroa are generally safe. The boats are equipped with all the necessary safety equipment, and the professional guides are experienced in navigating the waters and watching the whales.
What is the success rate of spotting whales on a tour in Akaroa?
The success rate of spotting whales on a tour in Akaroa varies depending on the time of year and the weather conditions. However, most tours have a success rate of around 90%, and it’s not uncommon to spot multiple whales during a single tour.
What should I do if the weather is bad on the day of my tour?
If the weather is bad on the day of your tour, the tour company will likely cancel or reschedule the tour. This is for your safety and to ensure that you have the best possible chance of spotting whales during your tour.
What is the price of a whale watching tour in Akaroa?
The price of a whale watching tour in Akaroa varies depending on the company, the duration of the tour, and the time of year. On average, you can expect to pay between $100 and $150 per person.
What should I do if I get seasick on the tour?
If you get seasick on the tour, the crew will have medication available to help you feel better. It’s also a good idea to take motion sickness medication before the tour if you’re prone to seasickness.
Can I take photos during the whale watching tour?
Yes, you can take photos during the whale watching tour. It’s a good idea to bring a camera with a zoom lens to capture close-up shots of the whales.
What should I do if I see a whale stranded on the beach in Akaroa?
If you see a whale stranded on the beach in Akaroa, don’t attempt to approach or touch it. Contact the Department of Conservation as soon as possible, and they will send a team to help the whale.
How to do Whale Watching in Akaroa
Akaroa, a small town situated on the Banks Peninsula, is known for its scenic beauty and abundant marine life. Whale watching is a popular activity here, with visitors having the opportunity to spot different species of whales including the humpback, southern right, and pilot whales.
Step 1: Choosing the Right Whale Watching Tour
Before embarking on your whale watching adventure, it is important to choose the right tour operator. There are several local operators offering whale watching tours, but it is essential to select a reputable and experienced operator to ensure your safety and maximize your chances of spotting whales.
One such operator is Black Cat Cruises, which has been in operation since 1985 and has a team of experienced guides who provide passengers with information about the whales and their habitat. Other reputable operators include Canterbury Trails and Akaroa Dolphins.
Step 2: What to Wear and Bring
Whale watching tours are conducted on boats and can be chilly, so it is advisable to dress warmly in layers. Preferably, wear waterproof jackets and pants to protect yourself from the sea spray. Don’t forget to wear comfortable shoes as well as a hat and sunglasses to avoid the glare of the sun.
It is also important to bring your camera or video equipment to record the experience. Binoculars are also essential because they can help you spot whales at a distance. Some tour operators may provide binoculars, but it is always better to bring your own if possible.
Step 3: Safety Briefing
Before setting off on the tour, your guide will provide you with a safety briefing. It is important to listen carefully and follow all the instructions given to ensure your safety during the trip. The guide will also provide guidelines on how to behave when you encounter whales in their natural habitat.
Step 4: Whale Watching Techniques
Whale watching requires patience and a bit of luck. As the boat approaches the whale’s habitat, it is important to keep the noise level down to avoid scaring the whales away. It is also important to remain quiet as the whales approach the boat.
Guides aboard your whale tour boat will be knowledgeable in locating the whales and approaching then slowly and safely. Some tours utilize sonar equipment to help locate underwater marine life.
Step 5: Observe and Enjoy
Once the whales are in sight, it is important to observe and enjoy their natural behavior without disrupting them. You can expect to see a variety of whale behaviors such as breaching, blowing air through their blowholes, and swimming beneath the water’s surface. Remember to take as many photos and videos as possible so that you can relive this unforgettable experience later on.
Step 6: Return Journey
After the whale watching tour is complete, the boat will make its way back to Akaroa. Remember to thank your guide and crew for the memorable experience. If you enjoyed the tour, consider leaving a positive review or feedback about your experience so that others can benefit from the information.
Book Your Tour Now
Akaroa is a great place to experience the beauty of whales in their natural environment, and with the right tour operator, you can have a truly memorable experience. Remember to choose a reputable company and follow all safety instructions provided by your guide. Lastly, enjoy the experience of observing wildlife and have a fantastic time in one of New Zealand’s most beautiful locations.
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