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


Black Cat Group has purchased Akaroa dolphin swimming operator Dolphin Experience in a move the company says is a refection of its confidence in the future of Canterbury and Banks Peninsula tourism.

“We started 22 years ago with one boat and now we have the largest tourist fleet in Canterbury with nine vessels,” Black Cat Managing Director Paul Bingham said.

“There are a lot of synergies we considered when purchasing the business including the overall reduction in operating and marketing costs.”

Dolphin Experience product and services will be integrated and merged into Black Cat’s current swimming with dolphins operation from October 19.

“Merging the two operations is also good news for Hector’s dolphins because overall there will be less swim boats on the harbour due to operational efficiencies,” Bingham said.

Dolphin Experience operated up to eight swimming trips per day in Akaroa Harbour. The purchase will see Black Cat staff numbers increase to about 40 for the combined Lyttelton and Akaroa operations.

Black Cat Group will operate two retail and ticketing centres in Akaroa – from the Main Wharf and Beach Road. The company is a former winner of the Supreme tourism award and is the largest tourism operator on Banks Peninsula.