Recent blog posts
Lyttelton Diamond Harbour Ferry
Every year, in the middle of a cold  Christchurch winter, Lyttelton residents bring a bit of brightness back to Banks Peninsula with the harbour’s Festival of Lights. This years it's running from June 19th - 21st The Highlight.......?  The 'Matariki' Street Party!   When: Friday June 20th, 5.30pm - FIREWORKS 7.30pm   Where: London Street, Lyttelton   What: A fantastic winter street party. Usually held to coincide with both the Matariki Maori New Year celebrations and the winter solstice, Lyttelton’s London Street transforms into a buzzing and beautiful scene. Light displays, sculptures and installations, music, dance and spoken word bring the community...
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things to do in christchurch or akaroa
What would you do if you had just 72 hours in Canterbury ? Come to Akaroa of course......... Imagine you were told you could write a wishlist of the best New Zealand activities Canterbury has to offer....and it would come true! Well Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism recently ran a'' Win your dream 72 hours in Canterbury” campaign  over in Australia asking entrants to describe how they would spend their 72 hours.  The prize; your dream 72 hours will come true! The competition came to a close and the lucky winner has just spent this past weekend having the time of his...
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akaroa harbour
This week the Huffington Post, an American online newspaper, featured an article on 'The Perfect English Countryside Escape.....in New Zealand'. Where about's in New Zealand you ask? Answer: Akaroa Harbour! After forgiving them for forgetting that this is 100% pure new zealand in their articles title we can firmly say that the feature is a testament to the international appeal of our stunning and perfectly preserved peninsula and village.  Perhaps it's why the worlds rarest and smallest dolphins, the Hector's, choose to call this place home??? We just wonder what they would make of Akaroa harbour if we were to take them...
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Four simple words that could change some-ones day, week or even life.... We at Black Cat HQ wanted to share a blog post covering this topic, as unbeknown to us, a member of our staff in Akaroa had quietly bestowed a random act of kindness onto a complete stranger (that is until the office received the most heart warming thank you email...which we will get to in a moment). So what is a 'Random Act of Kindness'? Well according to that great source Wikipedia it is quite simply 'A selfless act performed by a person or people wishing to either assist...
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cycle to akaroa
The ride to Akaroa from Christchurch is my ‘go to’ ride when I’m in need of a great day out on the bike and some good quality miles, and it’s been even more valuable in recent times giving the fact we have two young daughters at home, aged 17 and three months, so it’s provided the opportunity to combine a great ride with some quality family time too. The great thing about riding to Akaroa is that not only does it provide some great climbing, fantastic views, fast descents and some good flat riding, meaning you get a range of cycling...
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William Trubridge World Free diving Champion
Akaroa has had a number of great features on TV this summer. From Campbell Live covering the cruise ships to 60 minutes covering the Maui and Hector's dolphins, it's been all go! The recent 60 minute feature on Maui's and Hector’s dolphins was a really interesting watch, so if you haven't yet seen it please do take the time to watch the video. We have shared it on our Black Cat Cruises You Tube channel and placed a direct link for you here....New Zealand's native dolphins in the press. The feature highlights the plight and dangers of our native dolphins. There...
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Ma Maison restaurant Akaroa
Wondering what to do for Valentine's Day? Looking for a romantic getaway? Well we are here to help! Whether you plan to come to Akaroa for Valentine's Day or simply for a weekend escape with your loved one, no stay in Akaroa would be complete without a sampling of the delicious local cuisine on offer.  So we have listed 5 of the best places to dine in Akaroa. With its French origins lending a taste of Europe to the seaside fare, Akaroa makes the perfect destination for a romantic evening of tantalising the taste buds. Try these great eateries for an...
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things to do in christchurch
Although it may lack the glitz and the glamour of a big city celebration, there’s nothing quite like bringing in the new year in Canterbury’s own little piece of paradise. Whether you’re spending the night with family, friends, or that special someone, Banks Peninsula has got you covered for the perfect way to welcome in 2014. Happy New Year 1.)    Sea Shanties – On the 31st the Hilltop Tavern welcomes in the New Year by bringing lovers of oceanic folk not only the Wellington Sea Shanty Society, but also the much-loved French sea shanty band, Croche Dedans. Bust out the peg...
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things to do in Christchurch picnic
If you’re keen to get out and about in Banks Peninsula with the family this Christmas there is plenty for you to do. Between chilling in Lyttelton or Akaroa, swimming in the gorgeous bays, or taking a ferry out to Quail Island, you’ll never be short of something fun to do. But every adventurer needs to break for food. Luckily for you, Banks Peninsula offers plenty of places to pull up a rug and relax in the sun with a picnic basket – here are just a few favourites to choose from. Picnic the afternoon away in style..... Quail Island Beach...
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Biology of Marine Mammals Akaroa
It’s over, and, according to everyone who spoke to us, the conference was a resounding success. The first day of “plenary talks” - held in the Dunedin town hall – was excellent. Nine outstanding speakers, mostly international but some local, gave us an overview of conservation successes & failures, distilling the key reasons why. The star of the day was New Zealand’s ex-minister of fisheries Pete Hodgson. Pete Hodgson Dolphin Conservation Champion Deservedly hailed as a hero of NZ conservation for being the first minister of fisheries to take dolphin conservation seriously, Pete gave a funny and inspiring account of how...
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Steve Dawson dolphin science akaroa
Professor Steve Dawson This past Saturday was not quite the big day, but it was the first of the big days. Several hundred marine mammal scientists, from all over world, assembled on Otago University’s campus in Dunedin for a set of pre-conference workshops. The workshops cover a wide range of topics, some predictable – gatherings of scientists who work on particular species (e.g. right whales) or in a particular region (e.g. Hawaii), and others not. Firmly in the “not” category is “What can the Cloud do to save whales”. This was a group concerned about vessel collisions with whales, hoping to...
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liz slooten hector's dolphin akaroa
Our work and efforts to sustain and preserve New Zealand's delicate marine wildlife extends beyond both Akaroa and the Banks Peninsula. As one of New Zealand's leading eco-tourism operators we are extremely proud to sponsor the 20th International Biennial Marine Mammal Conference, being held in Dunedin this year. We hereby extend to you, by way of our blog, an invitation to come along to this major international conference. Knowledge is power and what better way to be inspired and educated than by the world's leading professionals. Over the next three weeks the Black Cat blog will be publishing guest blog posts...
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photo competition akaroa
Point and shoot – how hard can it be? Despite the seemingly idiot-proof design of the modern camera these days, it can be harder than it looks. That blurry, dark, shot of half your thumb, or the washed out, blindingly bright one of what you thought was the sunset are endless sources of frustration for the amateur photographer and tourist alike. New Zealand is internationally famous for it's picturesque landscapes. Akaroa and Banks Peninsula deliver many picture perfect locations so it's a must visit destination for some of the best places to photograph in New Zealand. It’s also no secret that...
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quail island new zealand south island
What are you doing this weekend? How about a trip to Quail Island..... Situated in the middle of a volcanic crater flooded with the water that makes up Lyttelton Harbour, Quail Island is a great destination for a day trip with the whole family and a fantastic Christchurch attraction. Teeming with walks, beaches safe for swimming, and a rich and interesting history, the shores of Quail Island are a superb place to while away a summer’s day. Only 15 minutes from Lyttelton Harbour it's possibly the shortest, but one of the finest New Zealand cruise trips you can do. And just...
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Akaroa French Fest 2013
Akaroa French Fest Piper and Heidsieck French Fest 2013 is happening from the 11th to the 13th of October in Akaroa. Just in case the quaint seaside village itself wasn’t enough to entice you over for the weekend, here are five reasons you should head over the hill for this fantastic celebration of everything French. Fête de Rue (Street Party) The festival kicks off on Friday evening along Beach Road with a fantastic night of food and entertainment. Enjoy open air dining overlooking the sea at one of the main road’s many excellent restaurants, each offering a menu full of French...
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Beneath the picturesque surface of Akaroa there are many things you can do that you may not expect from the small seaside village. Here are a few you should try out the next time you’re over in the beautiful Banks Peninsula: 1. Getting in the Water With the harbour on its doorstep, the fact that you can get in the water in Akaroa may not be all that surprising - but the array of exciting activities available is. During the warmer months of the year, going out into the harbour for a refreshing swim, hiring a kayak or pedal boat, or...
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Hector's Dolphins Jumping in Akaroa
Getting up close and personal with the Hector’s dolphins of Banks Peninsula has been an unforgettable experience for hundreds of people every year. For many, having the chance to swim with these endangered creatures is simply an amazing opportunity in itself. However, there is more to swimming with the dolphins than just the thrill of getting into the water with such a rare, friendly, and playful animal. Dolphin Assisted Therapy Over recent years, research into the benefits of swimming with dolphins has resulted in some interesting discoveries. Dolphin Assisted Therapy, as it is sometimes called, is where people with mental or...
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little blue penguin akaora black cat cruises
Banks Peninsula is well known for its gorgeous scenery and breath taking views. But amongst the vast beauty found in the area, there lives a wide array of wildlife. Akaroa’s birds are just a few of many creatures you’ll find, but if you’re around in the warmer months, keep an eye out and there’s a good chance you’ll spot quite a few of them: 1. Little Blue Penguin: The blue penguin is the smallest penguin in the world, standing at only 25cm tall and weighing in at under a kilogram. Little Blue Penguin 2. Yellow-eyed Penguin: Another rare New Zealand penguin,...
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Liz Slooten
With a decline of the Hector's Dolphins by 75% in the last 40 years, there’s no time like the present to get involved with trying to save our native species. Here are five people who have done great things to get the ball rolling: 1. Dr. Liz Slooten An Associate Professor in the Zoology Department at the University of Otago, Dr. Liz Slooten is the leading expert on Hector’s Dolphins. Having conducted many years of research on these marine mammals, Slooten has done a lot to provide a good base of information to encourage the conservation of these creatures. The research...
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 / ©: Martin Abel
You may have recently seen in the news that the marine scientists from the University of Otago have been researching the habits of the Hector's dolphin in the bay of Akaroa. Historically it's been reported that the dolphins only enter into the harbour during the warmer summer months, when set nets are banned and the dolphins are free to safely swim around in the bay. However recent studies by the scientists have shown that the dolphins are present in the harbour during the winter months when set nets are in use. This highlights a threat to our native dolphin and the...
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