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

Category Archives: Akaroa and Lyttelton News


We would like to say a very big thank you to you and all the crew on the Black Cat cruise from Lyttelton to Akaroa on Sunday 6th September 2009.

Firstly I would like to thank you personally for all your help keeping us informed about when this particular cruise was going to take place as there were a few date changes since we originally booked for the first cruise that was to happen earlier in the year, which was first postponed and then cancelled due to the weather conditions.

We couldn’t have asked for much better conditions than we experienced on the cruise, the sea was so calm and the only waves that were being formed was from the boat itself. Cruising around the Peninsula was such a pleasure and what a great way to get a different view of Banks Peninsula and also the view back towards Christchurch with the snow covered mountains in the distance when we left Lyttelton Harbour was amazing. We had only just left Lyttelton Harbour when we came across a pod of Hector Dolphins that were more than happy to keep up with the boat giving us a great view of them.

We would also like to thank the crew as they were friendly, cheerful and very informative which made our trip on the cruise that much more enjoyable, the commentary was excellent especially all the information we received from the crew member who had a very well spoken Scottish accent.

We had a nice time in Akaroa as usual when we go there for the day. We had a nice lunch followed by a very tasty ice cream from the dairy, had a walk around the town and relaxed a little bit before getting the bus back to Lyttelton stopping at Barry’s Bay Cheese Factory on the way home where we bought some tasty cheese.

We would most definitely take part in another Black Cat cruise as the service was excellent and we have already recommended to friends to go on the cruise we have just been on when this particular cruise happens again. Craig and Samantha.


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.


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


Around this time of the year Hector’s dolphins give birth. There are quite a number of little calves around at the moment, one of which is jet black. Crew on board the Canterbury Cat in Lyttelton have named the new born Obama! Calves are often quite dark when they are first born but quickly grow and lighten into the distinct three colours of adult Hectors.

Hector’s dolphins mature usually have one calf every two to three years. Hector’s dolphins mate in late spring (New Zealand spring = September/October/November) and calves are born about a year later. The calves are 50-60cm at birth and stay close to their mothers who provide them with milk and protection until they are old enough to fend for themselves, usually at about one year old.