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

Monthly Archives: October 2015

#Akaroa…Top Tips for Instagram

Here’s our quick run down of what it is, why we love it and how to make the most of it…….

So what is Instagram?

Instagram is the leading social media platform for sharing images. When it launched back in 2010 it had 1 million followers in its first month alone, so it’s no surprise that it’s become so very, very popular. Anyone can set up an account. Simply download the @instagram app onto your phone, register with your user name (for example we are @blackcatcruises) and voila…you are ready to go.

bingsamo photograph of hectors dolphins pod in Akaroablackcatcruises hectors dolphin imagedoggovtnz rangers at work within the marine reserveFrancis akaroa snaphylahyla akaroa montagewill herbie in Akaroa

Why use it?

We love using it to showcase our akaroa wildlife, peninsula scenery and behind the scene pics, however it’s also a great platform to view amazing photography and images. Whatever your interest, hobby or passion Instagram most likely has a # for it!

Tips and Tricks?

Recently the team at Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism  (@christchurchnz) held a networking event where they invited expert instagrammer Lauren Bath (@laurenpbath) to share her Instagram tips and tricks. With 443,000 followers Lauren sure knows a thing or two about taking great pics and making instagram work for you….here are her top tips…

1) Content

The quality of your content will directly affect the traffic to your Instagram

page. Attempt to post only the highest quality photo or video that you are

capable of producing and use editing tools to polish them, even if they’re just mobile applications like “Snapseed”. At the very least most images should be cropped square, straightened and colour adjustments made.

2) Consistency

Be very consistent with your Instagram habits. Be consistent with the quality

of your posts. Main points to consider regarding consistency

* How many times you post per day (I recommend 2-4 but separate each post by at least 3 hours)

* How much you engage when you are on the platform, give back!

* Keep the quality and style of your content consistent

3) Personality

Don’t be afraid to be yourself. Write interesting captions that share a little of your personality and story.

4) Use Hashtags

Use a relevant group of hashtags and I recommend using between 20-30 per post. Very important : Don’t use these hashtags in your caption. Create a note of hashtags and paste these into a comment box BELOW your caption. Keep on top of the hashtags that are relevant to you and popular, resist using hashtags like #follow4follow. I use a combination of popular travel tags, feature account tags and image specific tags.

5) Engage!

Engagement is right up there with content. The more you engage with other

Instagram users the more you will see engagement come back to you. Be social, social media is a two way street! Network, like, comment,fFollow relevant accounts.

6) Bio

Make sure you have a strong profile photo and some relevant information in your bio along with a contact if you want to be easily contactable.

7) Have fun

Try to enjoy the platform and the experience. If you only use Instagram to gain followers the interactions you have aren’t organic and genuine. Share your story, share a bit of yourself and enjoy.

Black Cat Recommends

One of the most followed accounts on instagram is National Geographic with 34.9 million followers. Find them via thier hashtage @natgeo.(first image by @arni_coraldo via @natgeo)….and a few of their photgraphers @cristinamittermeier (second image below) and @paulnicklen (bottom image)

natgeochristinamittermeierpaulnicklen

 

Follow us @blackcatcruises and #blackcatcruises to share your Akaroa  and Banks Peninsula adventures with us!

anks Peninsula Tourism Operator celebrates 30 years in Business

It’s been a fantastic start to the new summer season for New Zealand eco-tourism operator Black Cat Cruises as they celebrate 30 years in business.

Labour weekend 1985 Ron Bingham and his wife Durelle officially started Black Cat Cruises with a single boat called the Charmaine over in Akaroa. Skip forward to today and they have grown to become the largest tourism operator on the peninsula operating 7 vessels across both Akaroa and Lyttelton Harbour.

This labour weekend if your birthday falls on Monday October 26th (of any year) you can cruise with them for free! 

‘’It’s been a great start to season’’ Paul Milligan, Chief Executive of Black Cat Cruises said.

‘’Over the last couple of weeks we have celebrated 175 years of Akaroa at the bi-annual French Festival, hosted our 30th birthday party with the family and friends of Black Cat, welcomed the first of this season’s cruise ships and to top it off received a new accreditation from DOC as the Peninsula’s first (and the country’s second) ‘SMART’ operator.’’  Milligan said

The 30th birthday party was hosted locally at Mt Vernon lodge in Akaroa where 100 guests including the Bingham family and Real Journey board members, who purchased a 50% share in the business back in 2007, were entertained by the 17 piece Garden City Big Band.

real journeys akaroa birthday partyThe binghams 30th party in akaroa

Garden City Big band in Akaroa

‘’You usually receive gifts on your birthday however as an eco-tourism operator we thought it only appropriate to give back something on our birthday, so we gifted Professor’s Steve Dawson and Liz Slooten from the University of Otago with a brand new boat engine. ‘’ Milligan said

Professor Steve Dawson and Professor Liz Slooten, both of the NZ Whale and Dolphin Trust, were delighted to receive the keys to a brand new Suzuki 90 hp outboard for their research boat. “The new engine is a perfect match for our research boat and will be a tremendous asset to our work. The old engine was 11 years old, so it was high time for an upgrade. It is terrific to see a nature tourism company giving something back – we really appreciate Black Cat’s commitment to the dolphins that support their business” Prof Dawson said.’’

Liz Slooten and Steve Dawson in Akaroa

Over the last 30 years the company has become the leading tourism provider on Banks Peninsula. Re-cognised as New Zealand’s first ever eco-tourism operator they have won numerous accolades and awards including the New Zealand Supreme Tourism Award, Qualmark Enviro-Gold award, the Green Globe award, listed as one of the top 10 marine mammal experiences in the world by Lonely Planet, voted the Number 1 wildlife experience in New Zealand, made it into Trip Advisors Hall of Fame and earned the Moss certification (Maritime Operator Safety System) along with the newly appointed ‘SMART’ operator certificate from DOC.

50293AA number 1 wildlifeCoE 2015 HoF UKDOC-Approved-label-180greenglobeSMART Logo col

 

‘’Ron and his family had a passion for the peninsula and its marine inhabitants. To this day a portion of all of Black Cat’s ticket sales goes towards the education and conservation of Hector’s dolphins; the world’s rarest and smallest dolphin. We felt it was the right time to throw a party with Black Cat’s friends and family from across our region to celebrate success and look forward to a prosperous and sustainable future.’’ Milligan said

For the month of October you can also purchase an Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise ticket for just $30 when a full price ticket is purchased. Use 30birthday as an online code or call and book on 0800 436 574.

Akaroa business a SMART operator

We are over the moon to be awarded the SMART operator certificate from the Department of Conservation!

Akaroa business Black Cat Cruises have become the first business in Banks Peninsula, and the second in the country, to sign up to the SMART Operator programme in an initiative developed by the Department of Conservation (DOC) to increase the protection of marine mammals.

 

SMART Operators, an acronym for “Sustainable Marine Mammal Actions in Recreation and Tourism”, lead by example by committing to activities that have minimal disturbance on whales, dolphins and seals. Commercial operators are able to achieve this by undertaking staff training around the Marine Mammals Protection Regulations, guarantee responsible advertising and help educate the public about best practice boating around marine mammals.

SMART Logo col

 

DOC Ranger Derek Cox was pleased to have Black Cat Cruises as the first SMART Operator in Banks Peninsula. “Black Cat Cruises approached DOC earlier in the year requesting that we hosted the SMART training course in Akaroa, and they have now become the first SMART Operator – this really demonstrates to us that they are the right operators to be leaders in this community”.

 

“As more people want to have that special encounter with marine mammals, they are putting increasing pressure on them, potentially to the detriment of the very thing they love. DOC is looking for new ways of reducing this pressure and Black Cat Cruises will be able to assist with that”.

 

Black Cat Cruises Chief Executive Paul Milligan thought becoming a SMART Operator was a “no brainer”.  “We have been operating on Akaroa Harbour for 30 years now and as the largest operator on the harbour, it’s important for us to work with DOC to ensure that we minimise any impacts on our environment and the Marine Mammals we interact with, such as the endangered Hector’s Dolphin.”

 

“The SMART Operator initiative reassures DOC that we are operating responsibly and gives our customers the confidence that we take what we do seriously and strive to be a leader in the eco-tourism space.”

Hector's dolphin akaroa harbour

 

DOC intends the SMART Operator programme to be extended around the country in the future.