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


If you are coming to Akaroa or sending customers our way please allow at least 90 minutes travel time. And be aware of the reporting time. We have had a few customers turn up late recently and it’s very disappointing for all concerned. We are a bit like the airlines, we cant keep people waiting. Our policy for latecomers is that we’ll give them a free of charge stand by ticket, i.e. if there is space for another cruise they can go on it for free provided it does not displace a normal paying passenger.


A lone Orca called Corkscrew was sighted in Akaroa Harbour on 11 June. Customers on board an Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise were able to get a close up look. The Orca can be identified by his dorsal fin markings and is well know by Ingrid Visser of the Orca Research Organisation. The big male is thought to be over 15 years old. To hear Orca sounds and for more information click here http://www.orcaresearch.org.


Gary and I had a fab time out on the Canterbury Cat over the weekend. The weather was gorgeous and we saw a lot! It doesn’t matter how many times you see those Hectors, they still bring a smile to the face icon_smile It was Gary’s first time over in Akaroa and he thoroughly enjoyed himself. Samantha at reception was lovely! The other staff onboard were also very helpful. Thank you so very much for having us, we loved it and have no hesitations in sending people your way! RebeccaI swum with ‘Black Cat’ on 17th March 09 and am told I left my gold necklace in the changing rooms/box. On returning from the swim the necklace was produced by the staff on the desk. I was unaware at that time the necklace was missing. I truly appreciate your honesty and care you take of customers/visitors. I am very grateful and sincerely thank you for the return of my gold necklace. Joan Clubbs


We’ve been awarded the contract to run the Diamond Harbour ferry for the next 5 ½ years. Environment Canterbury, the regional council, announced the successful winners of the ferry and bus routes recently. The ferry services are very important to because it provides year round business and is not as susceptible to international tourism movements. The new contract starting on November 1st will require Black Cat to purchase a new vessel, though the main ferry will be the existing Black Diamond.


The white flippered penguin is the Canterbury cousin of the more abundant Little Blue Penguin. Over the last 20 years it’s estimated that around 70% of the local population has been lost. This is mainly due to predators including cats, rats, stoats and ferrets. Black Cat has been working on trapping these predators around the entrance to Akaroa Harbour for the last 6 months. Setting traps where the penguins nest is tricky business because they nest in some seriously out of the way places! These areas require staff to swim from a boat with the traps and bait as they are not accessible by land. Already we have succeeded in catching some rats and stoats and will continue this project to create a safer habitat for the penguins.

White flippered penguins are the smallest penguins in the world – only 30 cm tall. They are only found in Canterbury on Banks Peninsula, confined to inaccessible headlands, caves and rock jumbles. They breed from July to December, usually underground in burrows or natural holes but will also make use of any man-made cavity or nest under buildings. Nests can be more than 500 metres inland and 200 metres up hillsides.


Black Cat Cruises is supporting the Quail Island Ecological Restoration Trust with $24,000 worth of sponsorship over the next three years. Volunteers and trust workers travel to the island throughout the year to perform the important tree planting, weed eradication, nursery work and monitoring of the success of plant and animal re-introduction activity. The Trust aims to restoring the island to its former glory with native trees, birds, lizards and others animals.


We’ve been fortunate enough to host a number of cruise ships in both Lyttelton and Akaroa this season. Pictured is the Millennium in Akaroa Harbour. Why would someone come off a large ship and go onto a ’small’ tourist boat like ours? Of course our boats get much closer to the wildlife and sea caves than a cruise ship can and our staff have a lot of local knowledge and experience to transform the experience into something special.


“Many thanks for the opportunity to experience, as a customer, the Blackcat Dolphin swim experience on Saturday 29th Nov. As you predicted, the weather and conditions were excellent! I spent 40 minutes in the water with 9 other tourists, and it was absolutely wonderful! We were “visited” by about 5 pods and were enthralled with their playfulness, beauty and curiosity of us [very mutual!]. Everyone was rapt with the staff, the service and the experience. At the appropriate time, I will be sharing all relevant information with the other 33 Concierge [I am part of an Adventure Tourism working group]. Cheers, Bryan. International Airline Concierge”

Today we went on your 1.30pm Harbour cruise. We wish to extend our appreciation to all crew members and especially to the captain Mark for his wonderful commentary.

He really does care about the harbour and its wildlife and this comes across in the commentary. Even though perhaps he gives a similar talk three times a day it did not sound at all jaded!! My sister in-law very much appreciated the stool she was given to sit on at the stern of the boat. Your photographer was the person who suggested this.
Rosemary Tingle.

I am writing to let you know how absolutely thrilled we were with your service on Saturday November 22. We had a memorial service and scattering of ashes ceremony for our former singing tutor and his long term partner. The ceremony went very well, aided by your most excellent crew, namely John and Ben. I did not hear the name of the third man but he did a great job too, overall the service was wonderful and we all loved the catamaran. I am recommending your company to anyone who wants to have a function that is a little different. I’m looking forward to my next trip, one of your nature cruises. Many thanks to your company and your terrific crew for helping to ensure our service was extra special.

I just wanted to say a very big thank you for organising such a fun Christmas party for us on Friday. We all had a blast & I had such great feedback from everyone about it. We got to see the dolphins, the crew were gorgeous & it will be one of our most memorable parties for years to come. Thanks for everything & I hope you have a lovely Christmas & New Year cheers