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

Author Archives: Black Cat

CHRISTCHURCH IS NOT BROKEN!

While many visitors to Akaroa are aware that things are still operational over the hills in Christchurch, it seems that some have interpreted the redirection of tours around the outskirts of the city to mean that the entire city has been flattened by last year’s earthquakes.

So we thought it was worthwhile to clear up any misunderstanding and remind people exactly what is still running in the garden city.

Christchurch International Airport

The largest airport in the South Island, centrally located and recently upgraded, is very much up and running. The airport remains a hub for international visitors to New Zealand, and provides a direct link to Asia via Air Asia, as well as direct flights to Australia, the Pacific and the United States.

Canterbury Museum and Botanic Gardens

In a city known for its beautiful gardens, the centrally located Botanic Gardens are the jewel in the crown. Still extremely popular with locals and visitors alike the Gardens neighbour Canterbury Museum, which is also operational with new exhibitions (including one around the earthquakes), and the Hagley Park Event Centre which has become the venue of choice for arts, music and other events. Coming very soon is the Ellerslie Flower Show, which is currently under construction.

Cafes, Restaurants and Bars Galore

Although the very popular bars and cafes along the Strip and SOL square are no longer, the city has benefited from new “pop-up” bars and food outlets including the Carlton Country Club on Bealey Ave, Revival Bar in Victoria Street, Cargo Bar and Dux Live in Addington and the Brewery in Woolston. For more information about what’s on offer where, visit the www.popupcity.co.nz blog.

Accommodation

Central city hotels are now mostly unavailable, but the majority of motels along Papanui and Riccarton Roads are fully functional, as well as hotels a little further out like The Chateau on the Park, the George Hotel, Pavilions, Heartland Hotel and many more.

Shopping

All the suburban shopping areas around the city are open for business, and the central city has come alive again with the addition of the Re:Start Popup Mall located in Cashel Mall. This has been a highly popular initiative with locals and visitors alike, featuring 30 retail outlets and several cafes. Two hours of free parking nearby makes this an easy location to explore – and of course shop!

CBD

Many will have heard about the CBD (central business district) “red zone” where demolitions are currently taking place. Focusing around Cathedral Square, the red zone now only involves a small number of city blocks. The majority of the rest of Christchurch continues to run very much as usual.

The map below shows how small the red zone currently is, with further reductions planned within the next two months.

More things to do in Christchurch

More Akaroa activities

THE BREEZE 61

Thanks for taking some time to scan our latest news and events. Below you will find some information on the biggest dolphins on them all – the mighty Orca through to the smallest – hectors dolphins calves. There are also details of local events in Diamond Harbour and Akaroa along with confirmation of our top rating as voted by members of the AA.

Cheers Paul


 

Orca visits much more frequent

We started cruising Banks Peninsula in 1985 and over the next 21 years we reckon we had only 5 visits in total from Orca. So why have we had 5 visits in the last 12 months? More than likely it’s related to Orca chasing food in Akaroa and Lyttelton harbours. They sure do scare our local population of Hectors dolphins though and that’s not surprising! Click here for a blog including views from marine scientist Liz Slooten.


 

Up close with Hector

Check out this nice video from a swimming with dolphins cruise in January showing some of our customers out having the time of their lives. There’s a great example of one little dolphin swimming rings around one of our customers. Nice….


 

Cruise ship update

We have now welcomed 60 of the 80 cruise ships set to visit Akaroa this season. February is set to be another busy month with just a handful of visits scheduled for March and April. We don’t know whether the cruise ships will be back again next season but Akaroa has sure welcomed them with open arms and hope they will be back in later in the year.


 

Dolphin calves

Over the past few months Hector’s dolphin calves have been spotted swimming with their mothers in the harbour. Our Akaroa manager Pip Journeaux said the calves were first seen in November. ”They are divine. We swim with the adults, but we can’t swim when there are calves in the pod,” she said. ”We wouldn’t swim with calves until they’d be well over 12 months”. Read article from Stuff here


 

Black cat number 1 voted by AA

We’ve been voted the number one activity in NZ for wildlife spotting. Thanks a lot AA members from all over NZL. We’re also the number 2 activity (after Hanmer Springs) and in the top 10 of all activities for all of New Zealand.

Read about us on the AA website


 

Swim the harbour

The big La Grande Swim was held on the 19th February, featuring the world’s largest tic tacs as marker buoys for the swimmers. La Grande Swim is the fourth race in the hugely successful State New Zealand Ocean Swim Series.  Previously held in Corsair Bay in Lyttelton Harbour this is the first big harbour swim in many years.


 

Diamond Harbour day out

There are some great bands set to rock out Diamond Harbour every Sunday during February 12.00pm to 3.00pm. Take the ferry over and make a day of it. For details of who is playing click here http://www.sprig.org.nz/sprig/Home.html


 

Blogging favourites

Check out this great blog from on swimming with dolphins in Akaroa.

http://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/travel/2011/12/18/akaroa-new-zealand-swimming-with-world-smallest-dolphins/KB3YYVmN6n7mc4Rr1IRW0L/story.html


 

Great Feedback

Hi to blackcat crew, particularly Julian & Laura,

Thanks to everyone at Blackcat who made our dolphin experience so special.
I have popped in to work today & boasted of our trip. One colleague is going to NZ in Feb and is keen to do the swim with dolphins. You people are so fortunate to have these wonderful creatures in your backyard. It is heart-warming to see you engaging with them whilst respecting and nurturing your relationship with them. I wish you continued success. I will certainly be endorsing your attraction as one of the “not to be missed”. We are so pleased we had the opportunity to do the swim; it was worth every freezing moment.

Merry Christmas to all. Kind regards Kathy

LYTTELTON’S BEST ATTRACTIONS

Lyttelton is just 13km from Christchurch and is a fantastic place to visit especially on a weekend.  Take the number 28 bus from Christchurch or its an easy 15 minute drive from central Christchurch.  This quirky historical town has seen much damage since the earthquakes in Canterbury but is definitely on the mend.  The locals are vibrant, fiercly loyal and very proactive when it comes to keeping their community alive and consequently there is always something going on in and around the township.

Lyttelton Harbour

13km from Christchurch

The Farmers market every Saturday morning from 10am-1pm is a must do and has become extremely popular with people travelling from afar to buy and sample delicious local goodies.  When you are done with purchasing your produce and fresh food for the week you can amble along to Oxford Street where there is a large community garage sale which also runs from 10am-1pm.

From there you will most probably be in need of lunch and refreshments to replenish your energy for the afternoons attractions.  Head to the Fishermans Wharf on Norwich Quay which is open 7 days a week for the best fish & chips or seafood chowder.  Or walk to Corsair Bay to Freemans Restaurant.

The afternoons activities could include a visit to the Torpedo Boat Museum open Tuesday/thursday/Saturday & Sunday or play a game of petanque on London Street.

Quail Island lookout

15 minute ferry ride from Lyttelton

One of best things to do in Lyttelton in the summer is to take a ferry from B Jetty on the wharf to Quail Island.  Black Cat Cruises run this ferry dailyfrom October to the end of April.  For more on Quail Island click here

10 REASONS TO VISIT DIAMOND HARBOUR THIS SUMMER

Diamond Harbour is one of the sunniest and unspoilt destinations on Banks Peninsula and is great for a day trip. Getting there is easy, the best option is to take the Diamond Harbour Ferry from Lyttelton harbour (departs from B Jetty).  Black Cat Cruises run the ferry over there on a regular basis throughout the day.  check out the website for timetable information and more.

The Black Diamond boat

Diamond Harbour ferry video

Top things to do while there:-

Road and mountain biking has become one of the most popular activities for New Zealanders, mainly due to our fabulous scenery and relatively quiet roads and of course easy access to the countryside.  Take your bike on the ferry from Lyttelton (an extra $2 fee applies) and bike around Diamond Harbour and back to Lyttelton again.

Walking would be a close second to biking for most loved activities for locals and overseas visitors or maybe its the other way round! walk from the jetty to the fabulous new look Diamond Harbour Store, the food and coffee are quickly becoming legendary.  Once you have refreshed and re-energised there are plenty of wonderful walks to choose from including Mt Herbert (you will need all day for this one).  Ask the wonderful friendly staff at the store to point you in the right direction.

If excercising is not your thing, there are four wonderful beaches to choose from, Diamond Harbour beach, Paradise Bay, Purau and Camp Bay.  Pack a picnic, take the togs and relax!

There is a beautiful golf course at Charteris Bay with some wonderful views across the harbour and looking back at Lyttelton.

Orca Visits to Banks Peninsula

Why have pods of Orca been seen more often in Akaroa and Lyttelton Harbours lately?

orca-pod

Black Cat have been cruising around Akaroa Harbour since 1985 and the original skipper, Ron Bingham, recalls seeing Orca only 5 times from 1985 to 2006, a period of 21 years cruising. In the last 12 months alone we’ve seen pods on no fewer than 5 occasions in Akaroa or Lyttelton.

Orca are sometimes known as Killer whales but that’s only because they were sometimes known to actually hunt and kill large baleen whales, i.e. killer of whales. They are actually the classified as a dolphin! There are no known reports of Orca attacking humans in the wild. Though there have been some instances where Orca in captivity have killed or injured their trainers.

orca

Ingrid Visser has been studying Orca in New Zealand for many years and has helped with stranding’s and her body of research has helped us to understand our Orca population. Ingrid has also swum with Orca in the wild; which must have been pretty exhilarating.

Orca are found in most of the world’s oceans. New Zealand Orca will eat most anything and we think that’s a clue as to why they are coming into the Banks Peninsula bays more often. It’s thought the preferred food for them are rays. Though of course Orca will attack dolphins, seals and penguins.

hectors-dolphins-orca

Local marine biologist Liz Slooten believes that the Orca may be attracted to the local Seal population in Akaroa especially to the seal pups. The population in Akaroa harbour has increased substantially in the last 10 years, and Orca may help to keep the population in check.

Liz also has a photo of a Hector’s dolphin which may have been attacked by an Orca, though it’s hard to tell and if anything it must have been a calf because of the smallish bite size and tooth marks.

Black Cat Cruises crew have also noticed Hector’s dolphins tend to get very nervous when Orca are in the area. They tend not to be relaxed enough to play with swimmers and boats and may stick close to the shoreline.

There are no seals in Lyttelton Harbour so they are definitely chasing something else. Co-incidentally there are lots of dolphins in the harbour but no one has seen the Orca going after them so it’s more likely they are chasing rays, squid or fish.

It sure is a great sight to see pods of Orca in the Banks Peninsula bays but for the sake of the local Hectors dolphins it’s also great to see them pass through.

WHAT’S OPEN IN AKAROA THIS CHRISTMAS DAY

Akaroa Christmas Day 

Open:

The Akaroa Visitor Centre wharf cabin will be open from 8am until 3pm.

Retail:

 

    • New Zealand Inspired (10.00am-5.00pm)

 

    • Fire & Ice

 

    • Pot Pourri (10.00am-5.00pm)

 

    • Mr Whippy Truck

 

    • Ma Cherie (9.00am-5.30pm)

 

    • Studio 67(9.00am-5.30pm)

 

    • Faultline Gallery (9.30am – 4.30pm)

 

    • The Akaroa Supply Store (10.00am-4.00pm)

 

    • The Koru Gallery (9.30am-5.00pm)

 

    • The Weighbridge (10.00am-4.00pm)

 

    • Woolshed Gallery

 

    • Woolworx

 

    • Beach Road (9.00-4.00pm)

 

    • Akaroa Chemist (10.00am-3.00pm)

 

    • The Akaroa Blue Pearl Gallery

 

    • Black Cat Beach Road Shop

 

    • Hetties

 

Activities:

 

    • The Giants House (1.00pm-4.00pm)

 

    • Shamarra Alpacas-Tour leaving Akaroa at 12.30pm. 2 hour long trip. Can take 6 persons. Doing own pick up from wharf

 

    • Black Cat Cruises– Both the Akaroa Harbour Cruise and Swimming with Dolphins operatingCruise 9am (Charter), 11am, 1.30pm. Christmas day prices: $85 Adults and $30 Children.

      Swimming with Dolphins 9am, 12pm and 2pm. Christmas day prices apply.

 

 

 

    • Akaroa Jet-4 trips, at 11.30am, 1pm, 2.15pm, 3.30pm. 1 hour long trips. $64 for adults. $34 for children. Can take 18 persons per trip

 

    • A Class Sailing-2 tours. 2.5 hour tour. $75pp. No children under 12. 10.30am tour (10.15 boarding). 1.30pm tour (1.15 boarding). 20 spaces per trip

 

    • Fox 2 Sailing-10.30am & 1.30pm tour. $70 per adult, $30 per child. Can take 30 per trip.

 

    • Akaroa Shuttle-10.30 am bus service from Akaroa to Christchurch, return at 3 pm. Akaroa arrival; 4.30pm  37 seats available). 1 hour tours- 9.30 am, 11am, 12.30 pm & 2 pm. $25pp per tour. The tour goes up to the Summit Road, Robinsons Bay and then back to Akaroa

 

    • A Classic Ride– Honda Goldwing & Sidecar tours

 

Dining:

 

    • The Trading Rooms

 

    • Trubys (10.00am-5.00pm)

 

    • Bully Hayes (9.00am-4.00pm)

 

    • La Thai (11.30am-3.00pm)

 

    • Akaroa Fish & Chips (11am-4.00pm)

 

    • Butchery BBQ

 

    • Grand Hotel (12pm-4.30pm)

 

Closed:

Dining:

 

    • L’Escargot Rouge

 

    • L’hotel

 

    • Hill Top Tavern

 

    • Vangionis

 

    • Akaroa Bakery

 

    • The Stables

 

    • The Little Bistro

 

    • Maderia

 

    • Nikau Café

 

    • Ma Maison Restaurant & Bar

 

Retail:

 

    • 4 Square

 

    • BNZ Bank

 

    • Lava Gallery

 

    • Akaroa Butchery

 

    • Ca Bouge

 

    • The Peninsula General Store

 

    • Ula

 

Activities:

 

    • Okains Bay Museum

 

    • Akaroa Fishing & Dive Charters

 

    • Akaroa Museum

 

    • Akaroa Cooking School

 

Transport

 

    • Selwyn Shuttle

 

    • Cityline

 

    • Discovery Travel

 

  • Hassle Free Tours Double Decker bus

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/

ROMANTIC AKAROA

Planning a romantic weekend in Akaroa?

Peaceful Akaroa

Akaroa is the perfect place to go to for a romantic escape from the stresses of city life. The town has retained its ‘French Village’ character with many colonial-style buildings and French street names and throw mix in the ambience of a small seaside settlement with lots of cafes, restaurants and galleries and it’s just made for a lovely night away.

Driving over from Christchurch its worth stopping at Little River and visiting the cafe and art gallery, then once up the top of the Hill Top Pass Akaroa is revealed in the distance with quite an amazing view.

There are many great Akaroa activities – The key is staying somewhere that fits the bill and the Akaroa Country House and Tree Crop Farm are two very special spots.

Akaroa Country House

Akaroa Country House is very private with the cottage two hundred metres away from the main house down a pathway. The cottage is beside a small stream and has an outside bath, perfect for candlelight stargazing and is situated up secluded Takamatua Valley, amongst the native forest.

If you want something a little different Tree Crop Farm is well worth a visit. Also set in amongst the lovely native forest, many of the individual cabins do not have power, but they do have loads of candles and big fireplaces.

A theme of ‘Bohemian Love Shacks’ prevails, with lots of rugs and very little to disturb you. The place is full of colonial antiques amongst loads of sheepskins and fur rugs, herbs and flowers.

Tree Crop Farm

The  cafe has loads of insightful quotes written all over the walls, and it does have power, as does at least one of the cabins, if you really do need to plug in.

It is fair to say the world disappears at Tree Crop Farm as you sit in the outdoor bathtub – with a fire you’ve built underneath – at night, under the stars.

After a bit of a sleep in; which is encouraged, head into Akaroa for brunch at one of the many cafes that look out over Akaroa Harbour. It makes for a great prelude before walking along to the main wharf to jump on a Swimming with Dolphins trip with Black Cat Cruises.

Akaroa Harbour offers so much, and the chance to swim with the rare Hector dolphins is just an amazing experience. The team at Black Cat are so helpful and knowledgeable about the marine environment and the dolphins.

Everyone plays ‘dolphin spotter’ and once they’re found it’s into the water in wetsuits and time to really swim with the dolphins. You get loads of playtime with these amazing creatures, and then sadly it’s time to head back to base.

Akaroa is the only place in the world where you get to swim with the Hector Dolphins, the world’s smallest and rarest dolphin.

sometimes the best thing to do in life is doing nothing!!

After the swim a visit to Lumiere Day Spa is a great way to relax and unwind before facing a trip back to Christchurch. Located in the centre of Akaroa, getting a massage at Lumiere wil pamper your body and mind.

After leaving Lumiere, a coffee stop to fuel you for the drive back over the hill isn’t a bad idea. Just make sure it’s in a takeaway cup or you’ll find more reason to stay.

See more Akaroa attractions and things to do.