Welcome to Banks Peninsula, home of The Hector’s dolphins and eco-tourism pioneers Black Cat Cruises

Monthly Archives: November 2011

THE BREEZE 60

Let me be one of the first to wish you a merry Christmas! We are gearing up for our busy season in what will truly go down as a year never to be forgotten. I’d like to thank you for supporting Black Cat over 2011. There has been a lot of TV coverage for Akaroa recently with whales, French rugby supporters, a world famous conservationist and an Aussie weather man all visiting our town. Along with the cruise ships it’s sure to create lots of buzz for our summer season. We are looking forward in a positive manner and proceeding with a staff head count at only marginally behind a normal year. More info here in this link.  We hope to see you out on the water this summer.

Cheers Paul


 

Whales Honeymoon in Akaroa

It was great to see two rare Southern Right whales hang out in Akaroa Harbour for a week. Whale sightings have become more common for us recently but these ones parked up for a 7 days on an apparent honeymoon. Our team thought the male was interested in mating and the female not so much. Her behaviour included tail slapping, and swimming upside down. This behaviour is like saying ‘no thanks’. The male response was lots of breaching (jumping out of the water) and hanging about. Does all this sound familiar?! The whales attracted national media interest and here is TV3’s news report.


 

Cruise ship update

Akaroa has already hosted 20 cruise ship visits out of 80 visits this season including two days where two ships visited on the same day. Customers have commented on how lovely the little township is and our feedback is extremely positive. The town has also done a great job of welcoming visitors and every day there are plenty of operators available to provide things to do. Black Cat has been busy on the water on dolphin watching and swimming cruises and has provided transport to and from the ships some days too.


 

The Small 5

You may have heard of the big 5 in Africa. Well New Zealand has its own version called the Small 5! They are small and endangered species which include Hector’s dolphins, Yellow eye penguins, Kiwi, Kea and Tuatara. Recently Mark Cawardine was in Akaroa as part of an effort to highlight the small 5. Mark is world famous conservationist, a TV and radio presenter and a wildlife photographer. He co-presented the BBC series Last Chance to See, with Stephen Fry. Here is a great picture Mark took while out on one of our cruises and read his positive feedback on his trip to Akaroa at the bottom of this article.


 

The Today Show in Akaroa

Question: what do you do when one of the biggest storms of the year hits the South Island just as you start a live TV broadcast on Australia’s biggest TV network?

Answer: call in the A Team at Black Cat. Last month the popular weather presenter Steve Jacobs from the Today Show was in Akaroa presenting live back to Australia’s channel 9. Here is an image of Steve presenting his weather from Akaroa wharf in one of our dry suits in a good old fashioned Southerly gale.

Tourism NZ said ‘In the toughest of weather conditions your team came to our rescue and I’m pleased to say the segments were fantastic.  Entertaining, engaging and best of all full of Black Cat cruise comments. It was very humbling how the people of Akaroa helped us out on a crazy, last-minute mission.


 

French is the flavour of the month

Vive la France. We’ve been making an increased effort recently to highlight the unique French flavour of Akaroa. Here’s our team uniform for French fest and also we are continuing with this there on every day we have a cruise ship in.


 

World Cup wrap up

The French rugby team certainly turned up for the final in what everyone thought would be a one-sided affair. Prior to the big game we welcomed a number of fans to Akaroa and with that came national media coverage. Here is just one TV piece on the divided loyalty from Akaroa fans.


 

Quail Hunt

The Great Quail Island treasure hunt is on. All you need to do is pick up a treasure map on the ferry on the way over, find the ‘x’ markers and solve a secret word. All correct entries win a $5 prize for the kids with 2 for 1 coffee for the hard working adults at coffee culture.

Departs daily at 10.20am and also 12.20pm during school holidays.

Phone 03 328 9078 for more details.


 

Blogging favourites

Check out this great blog on Akaroa

http://cruisethepacific.blogspot.com/2011/06/akaroa-little-bit-of-france-in-south.html


 

Great Feedback.

Thanks so much for everything you did for me during my stay in Akaroa. It was all much appreciated. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting you and all your staff, and spending time out on the boats with the dolphins. And, as I said this afternoon, I’m very impressed with your operation. I’ve been on many whale and dolphin watching trips in over 65 different countries – and yours are outstanding. With many thanks, once again, and all good wishes.
Mark Carwardine. www.markcarwardine.com

We went to Quail Island with 40 winners from the Natural Confectionery Company competition. The Black Cat Captain and staff were really friendly, and the trip over was fun. Once we got to the island, we split into two groups, those that wanted to while away the time playing games, swimming and picnic-ing at Swimmers’ Beach and those that wanted an Island walk. The walk around the island was really interesting as the island is steeped in fascinating history. Once back at Swimmers’ Beach we played games and swam and ate – the kids loved the tree swing there too. Everyone was amazed at how beautiful the place was, and Swimmers’ Beach, with its white sand and pretty moored boats, gently sloping grass with loads of shade and amazing views of Lyttelton, is the perfect place to spend a whole day. Everyone I spoke to said they were going back to tell family and friends how fantastic it was. Personally, I thought the place was pure magic. 
Kind regards Rachel

13 THINGS TO DO IN AKAROA – ACTIVITIES

If you’re looking for somewhere to holiday in the South Island, Akaroa is a great place to spend a few days. In a post-earthquake Canterbury, Akaroa is unharmed and is a great place to go to get away from it all. Come try out the many Akaroa activities.

Banks Peninsula Walking Track

These walks are a great way to explore the Banks Peninsula area and there are different options for walkers of all levels. All tracks start and finish in Akaroa and trampers can choose a two or four day walk, staying in huts along the way. This sort of walking holiday is an ideal way to experience the remote sights of the Banks Peninsula.

banks-peninsula-track

Akaroa Harbour Cruise

Cruising the harbour is an ideal option if you want to see some beautiful scenery and experience some of the wildlife that Akaroa has to offer. Black Cat does daily cruises which give you a chance to see dolphins, seals and penguins among other things. They can also show you a bit of the area’s history by touring the volcanic cliffs and seeing some ancient lava flows.

03 304 7641
www.blackcat.co.nz

black-cat-cruises-akaroa

Kayak, Canoe and Boat Hire

If you want to have a bit of unscheduled fun, you can hire a range of water vessels and explore the Harbour in your own time. Kayaks, canoes, paddle boats, row boats and water bikes are all available and can be a fun and relaxing way to spend a day on the water.

kayaking-akaroa

Swimming with Dolphins

There is a lot of amazing marine wildlife in Akaroa and there are options to see some of it close you if you want to. Black Cat Cruises offer the incredible experience of swimming with Hector’s Dolphins. These dolphins are some of the world’s smallest and friendliest and will be an experience you won’t ever forget.

03 304 7641
www.blackcat.co.nz

swimming-with-dolphins-in-akaroa

Penguin Tours

Another option for those wanting to check out some wildlife is Pohatu Penguins. They offer unique sea kayak tours or scenic 4 wheel drive nature tours which visit a marine reserve in a coastal bay. This reserve is home to the largest Little Penguin colony on mainland New Zealand.

03 304 8552
www.pohatu.co.nz

akaroa-penguin

Pampering

There are a couple of options for spa’s in Akaroa which make it the perfect destination for relaxation and pampering. Akaroa Body Care or The Shunyata Retreat offer a range of services from day spas to retreats and are an ideal option if you’re looking for rejuvination and relaxation.

pamper-retreat

Wining and Dining

Akaroa is full of great little cafés and restaurants which are great experiences as well as serving a delicious range of food and wine. Whatever you feel like, there will be somewhere to suit your needs with each place offering something different to the next.

A Few Options:

 

    • L’Escargot Rouge-Deli to Go

 

    • La Thai

 

    • The Trading Rooms Restaurant and Pantry

 

    • The Little Bistro

 

akaroa-wine

Cheese Making

For a unique and delicious experience, Barrys Bay Cheese on the beautiful Banks Peninsula has something for everyone. Visitors can view traditional cheese making and watch a movie on the history if they want to. On top of this there are cheese tastings available and wines and condiments to complement the cheese available.

03 304 5809
www.barrysbaycheese.co.nz

barrys-bay-cheese

Farm Tours

For something a bit different, farm tours operate from the unique Paua Bay Farm. This is great if you’re looking for somewhere to stay or if you just want to spend they day. There are spectacular views and it is a unique experience of rural life on a traditional New Zealand farm.

03 304 7170
www.akaroafarmtours.com

paua-bay-farm

Shopping

You may not expect there to be much in the way of shopping in Akaroa but the area has a brilliant range of shops. Whether you’re looking for high fashion of something craftier, there are shops to suit. There are also jade, gemstone and crystal shops that are great places to look, and even better places to buy.

gemstone-shopping

Lighthouse

As the oldest town in the South Island, Akaroa has some amazing history and the buildings to go with it. One of these is the lighthouse which was relocated over twenty years ago and can now be seen in the Akaroa township. The lighthouse still has its original lighting equipment and is still lit on special occasions.

akaroa-lighthouse

Cooking School

A great place to go if you’re looking for something indoors is the Akaroa Cooking School. You can go in for private classes or hire it out for an event. This is a great idea for groups of all sizes and can be a fun activity if you’re looking to do something with a group.

021 166 3737
www.akaroacooking.co.nz

cooking-school-group

Treat Yourself to an Ice Cream

It’s the simple pleasures in life and what is summer without ice cream. Enjoying a couple of scoops of ice cream on the beautiful beaches of Akaroa will let you know that you’re really on holiday – no matter what age you are!

ice-cream

Image Credits

http:/www.flickr.com/photos/ajft/2217117159;
http:/www.flickr.com/photos/dipfan/617108181;
http:/www.flickr.com/photos/activesteve/5061201543;
http:/www.flickr.com/photos/nlcnet/4401722056;
http:/www.flickr.com/photos/chiotsrun/3715386044;
http:/www.flickr.com/photos/o5com/5824425017;
http://www.flickr.com/photos/ceosanna/3016737203/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/purecaffeine/6156284209/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/stijnnieuwendijk/5927337531/

THINGS TO DO IN CHRISTCHURCH POST-EARTHQUAKE

Here’s an updated list of what’s open in Christchurch after the earthquake – and also in the surrounding area. If you know other things please add them into the comments below so everyone knows!

Pop Up Mall

A revamped version of the Cashel Street mall was reopened at the end of October 2011. Temporary shops made from shipping containers make a colourful addition to city’s centre as it gradually reopens. The mall is home to 27 shops and is worth going to look at even if shopping is not on your agenda.

pop-up-mall

Black Cat Cruises

Stationed out in Akaraoa Harbour, the daily Black Cat cruise is a fantastic way to explore the area. There are cruises which are the best way to see the volcanic outer harbor and there is also the chance to see dolphins, seals and penguins in their natural habitat. There are also tours where you can swim with the dolphins. Just over an hour’s drive from Christchurch, Black Cat cruises are a perfect activity for all ages, and if you want to bring the kids along there are great rates for children.

black-cat-cruises

McLeans Island

This forest section of the Waimakariri River Regional Park almost does it all, just 10 kilometers from Christchurch. It’s a great location for activities such as picnicking, mountain biking, walking and running. On top of this, it is a great destination for recreation activities which includes golf, shooting, horse riding, vintage car steam and machinery club, paintball, tank rides and Orana Wildlife Park. Come and check out the giant playground for all ages.

mcleans-island

Surfing

The summer months offer a great opportunity for surfing some of Christchurch’s great beaches. Popular spots such as Taylor’s Mistake and Sumner Beach are great for surfing and offer the perfect way to spend the day.

taylors-mistake

Willowbank

Willowbank is the only place in New Zealand where you have access to such a wide range of wildlife. The reserve has natural bush surroundings and much of the wildlife is free to wander around so is able to be petted and fed. Willowbank also offers guided tours with knowledgable staff and a great cultural experience with their Ko Tane Maori Cultural Performances.

willowbank-kiwi

Ice Skating

Christchurch’s Alpine Ice Sports and Entertainment Centre is one of the best places to go ice skating in Christchurch. More than just ice skating, Alpine has light shows, music and games as well as a licensed bar and coffee lounge. Open all year round and offering group discounts and family passes, it’s a perfect way to spend the day.

03 3662213
www.alpineice.co.nz

ice-skating

Mountain Biking

If you’re looking for a great outdoor activity, Hanmer has some great tracks for mountain biking. These well maintained trails are a fun way to experience the Canterbury scenery.

hanmer-springs-mountain-biking

Hanmer Springs

Less than 2 hours drive from Christchurch lies the idyllic town of Hanmer. The towns biggest attraction is their natural hot springs and mineral pools. With lots of pools and awesome rides, Hanmer Springs is a great way to relax and have fun.

hanmer-springs

Tour Canterbury’s High Country

For something a bit different, check out 4 wheel drive tours of Canterbury’s High Country. This magnificent landscape is home of Lord of the Rings Middle Earth and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’s Narnia. This unique part of New Zealand is well worth exploring at any age.

canterbury-high-country

Antarctic Centre

For a family fun activity, visit Christchurch’s Antarctic Centre to experience a realistic glimpse of the Antarctic Region. As well as informative exhibits, visitors can ride in a hagglund and experience the snow and ice.

03 353 7798
www.iceberg.co.nz

antarctic-centre

What Else is Open in Christchurch After the Quake?

Here is a list which was updated on September 13th with other things that are open in Christchurch after the quakes. This has been provided by ChristchurchNZ.com.

4X4 ADVENTURES
03 314 2030
info@4x4adventures.co.nz

Akaroa Nature Cruises
03 328 9078
www.blackcat.co.nz/cruises.html

Action Karts Christchurch
03 377 3730
http://www.actionkarts.co.nz

Adrenalin Forest
03 329 8717
contact@adrenalin-forest.co.nz

Adventure Canterbury Ltd
0800 847 455
resv@adventurecanterbury.com

Air Force Museum
03 343 9508
marketing@airforcemuseum.co.nz

Alpine Ice Sports & Entertainment Centre
03 3662213
www.alpineice.co.nz

Alpine Jet
03 318 4881
www.alpinejet.co.nz

Beadz Unlimited
03 3795 126
www.beadzunlimited.com

Black Cat Cruises, Akaroa
03 304 7641
akaroa@blackcat.co.nz
www.blackcat.co.nz

Canterbury Aviation
03 359 8006
info@canterburyaviation.co.nz

Canterbury Leisure Tour
0800 484 485
info@leisuretours.co.nz

Canterbury Museum
03 366 5000
info@canterburymuseum.com

CanNZ Tours
0800 866 539
cannz@clear.net.nz

Christchurch Botanic Gardens
03 941 8999
christchurchbotanicgardens@ccc.govt.nz

Canterbury Trails
03 384 6148
trails@xtra.co.nz

Christchurch Casino
03 365 9999
www.christchurchcasino.co.nz

Christchurch Segway Tours
027 542 1887
g.g@paradise.net.nz

City Cycle Hire
0800 343848
info@cyclehire-tours.co.nz

Court Jesters
03 963 0878
jesters@courttheatre.org.nz

Discovery Travel
0800 372 879
info@discoverytravel.co.nz

Garden City Bowling
03 366 3323
www.amfbowling.co.nz

Glacier Explorers
0800 68 68 00
info@glacierexplorers.co.nz

Glacier Sea Kayaking – Tasman &Mueller Glacier Lakes
03 4351 890
mountcook@xtra.co.nz

GreatSights Sightseeing Tours
03 365 1113
info@intercity.co.nz

HELiPRO
03 3590470
christchurch@helipro.co.nz

Hassle Free 4WD/Jet Adventure Tour
03 385 5775
janet@hasslefree.co.nz

Hassle Free Alpine Safari Tour
03 385 5775
janet@hasslefree.co.nz

Hassle Free Lord of the Rings Tour
03 385 5775
janet@hasslefree.co.nz

Hiking New Zealand
03 384 3706
info@HikingNewZealand.com

Horse Power
03 342-9246
enquiries@horsepower.co.nz

Jet Thrills
0274 321 104
jstream1@xtra.co.nz

Ko Tane and Ko Tane free transport service
03 3596226
http://www.willowbank.co.nz/maori-culture-experience

Kowhai Tours
03 388 7899
kowhaitours@xtra.co.nz

Linden Leaves
03 339 8314
julietblair@lindenleaves.com

Maui – The Art of Maori Haka
03 366 0324
mauihaka@kol.co.nz

Orana Wildlife Park and Shuttle Service
03 359 7109
nathan@oranawildlifepark.co.nz

Pegasus Golf & Sports Club
03 920 3300
www.pegasusgolfcourse.co.nz

Pirates Island Adventure Golf
03 358 9250

Punting on the Avon & Antigua Boatsheds
03 366 0337
www.punting.co.nz

Rangitata Rafts
03 6963 735
info@rafts.co.nz

Rubicon Valley Horse Treks
03 318 8886
rubiconvalley@xtra.co.nz

She Chocolat
03 329 9222
enquiries@shechocolat.com

Swimming with Dolphins
03 328 9078
http://www.blackcat.co.nz/swimming-with-dolphins.html

Skydivingnz.com
03 302 9143
bookings@skydivingnz.com

South Pacific Motorcycle Tours Ltd
03 312 0066
office@motorbiketours.co.nz

Tanks For Everything
03 359 1007
info@tanksforeverything.co.nz

Terrace Downs – Discovery Jet, Golf, The Spa
03 318 6943
info@terracedowns.co.nz

The Inside Story Ltd (Tours)
379 8481
info@theinsidestory.co.nz

The International Antarctic Centre
Free transport on the Penguin Express
03 353 7798
www.iceberg.co.nz

Thrillseekers Adventures – Jet Boat, Rafting, Quad Bike, Bungy Jump
03 315 7046
www.thrillseekers.co.nz

Up Up & Away
03 381 4600
info@ballooning.co.nz

Waimak River Horse Treks Ltd
323 9064
smcstay@xtra.co.nz

Watford Grange Llama Park
03 347 4766
www.newzealandllamas.co.nz/home-page-xidc30375.html

Wild West Mini Golf
03 343 2055
www.wildwestminigolf.co.nz

Willowbank Reserve
03 359 6226
info@willowbank.co.nz
www.willowbank.co.nz

Yaldhurst Museum
03 342 7914
enquiries@yaldhurstmuseum.co.nz

If you know other things please add them into the comments below so everyone knows!

Also check out the What’s on Map http://www.whatsopen.co.nz/food-entertainment/1/recreational

Image Credits

http://www.flickr.com/photos/alberth2/2076322120/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/68386142@N07/6223680091/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/tk_five_0/5992802633/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/mdenhoedt/4391056383/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/annabelleny/5275800251/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/nzer/2937270600/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/caacrinolaas/6292877594/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/sagek/3336951247/