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

Category Archives: Akaroa New Zealand

Akaroa Valentine – The perfect Valentines Day date….

akaroa vineyard

Wondering what to do for Valentines day? With Valentines Day being this Thursday we got to thinking what could be a truly romantic date in Akaroa that was sure to impress….

Read on below and check out all of the links to some of Akaroa’s best spots!


Firstly let’s talk presents! 🙂 Why not surprise your other half with a dolphin swim or cruise? A sure fire way to do something unique and rather special. Take in the sights of as you cruise along an extinct volcanic crater and get up close to one of the world’s most endangered and rarest dolphin, the Hector’s dolphin. After all it’s about making amazing memories right?

akaroa swimming with dolphins
Image from Black Cat Cruises


For lunch how about a picnic hike to a spot with views over the harbour?
Take a picnic basket packed with some lovely wine from the Takamatua Valley Vineyard and some lovely fresh Akaroa salmon from the butchers. Work up an appetite hiking up one of the many Banks Peninsula hills and then sit back and soak it all up as you feast on your delights!

akaroa romantic escape
Image courtesy of Christchurchnz.com


After lunch what about enjoying a wine tasting experience at Meniscus?
We can recommend heading up to Meniscus Wines to taste some of their beautiful local wines that they have in store for you. Offering Riesling, Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris vines including various vintages it’s the perfect place to share a bottle….again with some stunning views, just check out the pictures below!

akaroa vineyard and wine tasting
Photo credit meniscuswines.co.nz
akaroa vineyward and wine tasting


For dinner consider booking a table at the renowned and intimate Little Bistro – be warned that with limited seating bookings should be made in advance. It’s a very popular spot, and for a very good reason!

akaroa restaurant


Another wonderful restaurant to consider is the laid-back Rona’s. Since it’s opening just last year it’s been receiving rave reviews described as a real foodies paradise. Seasonal ingredients are locally sourced and dishes are paired with local wines.

akaroa restaurant


If you’re still up for adventure before you both hit the hay a really cool experience now available in Akaroa is to night sup!

Yes paddle boarding on Akaroa Harbour at night….you can even share a board together.

Check out their website for more details.

akaroa paddle boarding


We have two accomodation suggestions, both a little quirky and different….

To end the day off, spend the night at Tree Crop Farm in one of their Lovers Retreats.

As self described on their website – which is worth checking out…”The Romantic Retreats at Tree Crop Farm in Akaroa on the Grehan Valley stream, have a 20 year reputation for their picturesque arcadian setting and the wood fires, candles, flowers, late sleep-ins, hot baths outside under the stars and the dawn chorus from who knows how many thousands of birds at day break ” It’s a shoe in for a romantic night away! Just check out the pics and we’re sure you’ll be hooked….

Akaroa accomdation at tree crop farm


One of the latest additions to the peninsula are the beautiful Te Wepu pods. Situated on the western side of Akaroa Harbour the extensive property affords panoramic views of Akaroa Harbour, Onawe Peninsula and French Farm Valley. Enjoy a hike on the farm of simply sit in the hot tub and relax with your loved one as the sun goes down. Sounds pretty perfect to us!

akaroa accomodation at te wepu

Akaroa – 10 Free Things To Do!

akaroa beach

That’s right, a whole list of free awesome things to do in Akaroa!

akaroa waterfall
Newton’s waterfall in Akaroa
This summer there’s a whole heap of fun to be had on the peninsula. From family fun, scenic escapes or a road trip with your mates, Akaroa can cater to you all. Of course when you visit we recommend an Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise or a Swimming With Dolphins experience, but hey, Akaroa is full of fantastic gems and we want to share some of these with you.
So if you’re planning a trip to Akaroa soon and want some recommendations than read our pick of 10 free things to do in Akaroa while you’re there….

1. Newton’s Waterfall

Did you know that there is a waterfall in Akaroa? Enjoy walking, but short on time? Well this is the perfect de-tour for you. Try the Newton’s Waterfall walk, departing from Aylmer’s Valley Road. It’s a pretty easy 10-minute walk to the waterfall which flows all year round.
If you want to park the car near the waterfall what is at the end of Aylmers Valley Road, you have the option to (Please be aware that there is a limited of parking space).

akaroa lighthouse

2. The Akaroa Lighthouse

Did you know that the Lighthouse has been in Akaroa for over 40 years? It is now run by dedicated volunteers.  The best time to visit is on Sundays from 11am-2pm or on cruise ship days.
Have a look at this historic building, all it takes is a 10 – minute walk from Akaroa town along the water and through the beautiful nature. And make sure to take a picture in or around the lighthouse to remember the beautiful historic building.

3. The Ōnuku Marae. onuku marae

Picture perfect The Ōnuku Marae has been around for centuries and has been involved in some significant and historic events including the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. Want to see the real culture of New Zealand ? Then take a visit to the Ōnuku Marae.
The Ōnuku Marae is located 5.2km away from the township and is a 9-10-minute walk along the coast and through the trees.
 For more information visit www.onuku.nz

4. The Rhino Walk, Akaroa

Yes we have Rhino and more in Akaroa….well it is wildlife albeit metal. This relaxing walk from the township to Childrens Bay will treat you to some fantastic wildlife sculptures along the way. Set against the backdrop of Akaroa harbour it’s a great way to spend a couple of hours. With a very short walk you can walk from the Akaroa town to the grass hill.
Go and explore the beautiful sculptures made from recycled metal that have been turned into something magical!

5. Jump into Summer! 

Want to go and have some water fun with your friends on a nice warm day? Come down to the beach and spend an afternoon jumping from the pontoon. You might even play a game of who can stay on the longest, or who can make the biggest splash! Remember to be safe when in and around the water…and slip, slop, slap that suncreen on!

6. Akaroa Skate Park

Good on wheels? Then take so time for the kids and adults to let off some energy down on the skate ramp.
Whether it’s with your BMX, your scooter, or skate board come down and enjoy the fun all year round.
Located at the very beginning on the right just before you hit the shops.
For a list of Skate parks in the region visit the councils web page here www.ccc.govt.nz/rec-and-sport/activities/skateparks/

7. Akaroa Beach

akaroa beachAfter all that exploring how about some time to lie down and relax. Kick back, work on that tan and just chill in the shade.
Whatever you fancy, simply grab your beach gear and come down.
If you’re feeling active you could play some beach or water games, bring down your kayak or paddle board and go explore the scenery or pack a good book and simply lay still and soak up some summer.
Listed as one of the best beaches in and around Christchurch! christchurchnz.com

8. Akaroa Museum

An absolute Akaroa treasure. If you want to find out more about the fascinating historical French township of Akaroa and the history of Banks Peninsula. Its varied collections include archives, art, photography, costume and textiles, taonga, and technology.You can also learn about what buildings are heritage buildings, and they provide a research service.
With it being open from 10:30am – 4:00pm during the winter and 10:30am – 4:30pm in the summer months you can come and visit 363 days a year for free.
Visit their website akaroamuseum.org.nz

9. Akaroa Playground

Akaroa is a great place to visit with children and the playground is a great spot for them to have a good run around.
Situated just behind the war memorial with views over the water front it’s a beautiful spot to have some fun. We suggest grabbing yourself a coffee and the kids some ice creams from the Sweet As Bakery on your way! Yum!

10. Delicious Akaroa

Speaking of ice cream did you know there’s a couple of cool spots to try some complimentary food tastings.

Interested in a little free fudge tasting or a delicious piece of cheese?
Come down to Pot Pourri to try some cream and butter fudge. Pot Pourri is located just as you come into Akaroa on the right-hand side after the playing field. They hand make a variety of fresh delicious fudge daily and offer a complimentary tasting before you buy.
Check out their Facebook page here .facebook.com
Or if you are more interested in the cheesy side of things then you must stop off at the Barrys Bay cheese factory to try some traditional handcrafted cheese.
Local New Zealand cheese, made by local people…they’ve been handcrafting cheese’s for over 120 years.
 Find out more here /www.barrysbaycheese.co.nz
We hope we’ve tempted you for a visit! Here’s to a great Kiwi summer of fun!


Akaroa Activity For Kids

Kids cruise free october 2017

With the October school holidays just around the corner we wanted to let you know that from Saturday September 30th – Sunday October 15th kids can cruise for free with us in Akaroa! We will offer a free space to a child aged between 0 – 15 with every full paying adult

Akaroa Wildlife

Our multi-award winning Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise will take you and your family out on the water for two magical hours. We’ll go out in search of Hector’s dolphins, one of the worlds rarest and smallest dolphins and only found in NZ….along with fur seals, penguins and an array of coastal birds. We even offer a dolphin guarentee so if you don’t get to see the Hector’s dolphin you can all come again another day for free!

Akaroa History

Your experienced skipper will also tell you fascinating stories of Akaroa’s French and Maori history as you cruise along in your luxury catamaran….and we can’t promise anything but you may hear the odd dad joke thrown in along the way! Read more about Akaroa here.

Hector’s Dolphins

We donate a portion of all ticket sales back to the education and research of the endemic and endangered Hector’s dolphin.To find out more about the Hector’s dolphins have a look at our web page dedicated to this magnificent marine mammal. Click here

Family First

Did you know that all year round we offer free cruising for children under 5? That’s right. If you have little ones under 5 years old they can come on board for our Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise for free, all year on all departures. We also offer a family pass special. To find out more check out our specials page here.


We will be cruising every day in the school holidays at 11am and 1.30pm. To book simply call the Akaroa reservations team on 0800 436 574


The bi-annual Akaroa event and three day celebration is back with a bang!

Here’s a sneak peak that Black Cat Cruises filmed from the last French Fest held in October 2015 whilst we celebrated 30 years of cruising on Akaroa Harbour….and be sure to read on for all the information for the forthcoming Akaroa event.

The official Akaroa French Fest poster as shown below is available to buy from the Akaroa i-site for $10 each.
Akaroa French Fest information below courtesy of Akaroa.com

Event date:
Friday, October 6, 2017 to Sunday, October 8, 2017
Brief Description
To be held on the middle weekend of the school holidays. Escape to picturesque Akaroa and immerse yourself in French culture, entertainment and romance as you celebrate Akaroa’s unique history (French, German & Maori) at the Akaroa Frenchfest. Settle in on Friday evening and relax with sea side dining. Watch the street come alive with entertainment, music and roving entertainment. On Saturday enjoy the living history reenactment on the main beach, the parade and official flag raising and the market stalls and activities all day. Saturday evening we have a ticketed cabaret. On the Sunday there will be events at Onuku this year. Like on FACEBOOK.

Event date:
Friday, October 6, 2017 to Sunday, October 8, 2017
Details and Contact

Join in the festivities of the Frenchfest street party, festival market, family fun day, Saturday evening cabaret and Sunday Family day at Onuku. An exciting three days.

Frenchfest 2017

Friday Night Street Party
Friday 6 October 6-10pm.
Children friendly street party with band Rhythm Method (local covers band) playing in the truck on Beach Road from 6pm-10pm.
That is the area outside La Thai Restaurant.
Lizzie Cook roving entertainment in the cafes which open onto the street.
Fire performer.
Children friendly event with things to do for the kids.

The Landing
Saturday 7 October 8.45am-10.30am.
A theatrical living history drama will enfold on the main beach in Akaroa.
Not to be missed and never seen like this before.

The Landing Details:
Akaroa Community Arts Council is proud to present ‘The Landing’ in partnership with Akaroa Heritage Festival Society at French Fest 2017.
This year’s Landing will be a living history re-enactment – we plan to create an 1840’s trading post on our beach – such as would have been there at the time of the arrival of Comte de Paris – local iwi trading with weathered whalers and salty sailors. How might our beach have looked on 19 August 1840? Who was there to welcome our French and German newcomers?
We are thrilled to welcome three very special performers to our stage; Jennifer Ward-Lealand, Michael Hurst and Nathan Bonner will join our community players to enthral, inform, entertain and guide us through Akaroa’s unique journey with the very first European settlers to the South Island.
Tents, crafts, costumes! We want our audience to come early, interact with the set and our players prior to the landing – kids will love it, play some historic games, tie nautical knots with sailors, join in with a weaving group from Onuku or listen in with an iwi story teller.
Wear 1840’s costume, grow a beard, enter into our costume parade and be in to win our Best Costumed competition.
We want visitors to get a real sense of the everyday life that these people might have lived, as well as what challenges faced the French settlers when they first arrived.
An opening waiata will ring out over the bay as birds fly. Come and join us as French Fest comes back to the Akaroa community.

This event is supported by all involved groups – Onuku Runanga, the Comte de Paris Descendants Group, Akaroa Area School, AHFSI (Akaroa Historical French Society Inc), Akaroa businesses and community.

The Parade
The landing re-enactment will be followed by the parade from the beach to the Recreation Ground.
The Canterbury Brass Band will lead the parade from the beach to the Recreation Ground.
Please note there is a traffic management plan in place during this time.

Official Speeches & Flag Raising
Official speeches and flag raising on the Recreation Ground.

Market Day
Saturday 7 October 11am-5pm.
Le Jour du Marché (Market Day) on the Akaroa Recreation Ground
Enjoy French inspired markets, games, food and
entertainment from 10.30am-to 5pm.

Market Day Entertainment
• The Akaroa Silver Band
• The Drew Peacocks Band
• Lizzie Cook & Band
• The Great Depression Band
• Canterbury Brass Band
• Lucky Lost Band

Plus roving entertainment.

Market stalls from 10.30am-5pm.
Bar available and wineries selling excellent local wine.

Activities on the Green:
• 12-12.45pm. Geology Walk to Childrens Bay with Dr Sam Hampton
• 2pm. Waiter’s Races
• 3pm. Cock Crowing Competition
• French Games all day
• Petanque Competition.

Geology Walk to Childrens Bay with Dr Sam Hampton
12pm-12.45pm. As part of the Akaroa Geopark stand at Frenchfest, Dr Sam Hampton is offering a guided walk / exploration session to Childrens Bay. The low tide is at 11.38am on Saturday 7th October. Join Geology expert Sam talk about the geology of the area; the explosives, intrusives and lavas. This is a free event to promote the Banks Peninsula Walking Festival in November. Engage and learn about the geology right next door. Meet at the Geopark Stand at 11.50am for a 12pm departure. Return at 12.45pm.

Heritage Area
In the main marquee during the day will be a heritage area with lots of activities, stalls and information.
• 12-12.30pm. Akaroa Cooking School cooking demonstration.
• 2.30pm. Ca Bouge Fashion Parade.

Le Cabaret Renault
Saturday 7 October 7-10.30pm.
As part of Akaroa French Fest 2017 we announce Le Cabaret Renault.
Don’t miss this fabulous evening of music, dancing and fun.
Joie de vivre!

Doors open at 6.30pm. Fun starts at 7pm.
Adults ticketed event with various bands and entertainers.
$25 per ticket.
Tickets available from Eventfinda, Akaroa Information Centre and the INFO Tent on site during the day.

Chant et Danse, Linn Lorkin and French Toast, Lizzie Cook & band, Bonita, Corner Sounds band and more! Surprises!
Get ready to dance!

Bar available. No BYO please.

While we cannot stop you bringing your children to this evening event, please note there will be some burlesque!

Whanau Day at Onuku Marae
Sunday 8 October. 11am-3pm.
French Festival 2017 Sunday Whanau Day will be held at Onuku Marae.
There is no parking for private cars sorry at Onuku so you will need to take one of the 2 buses that are leaving from Akaroa Area School starting at 9am. This is free. You can park your car on the Akaroa Area school grounds or on the street near the school. The buses will be going backwards and forwards to the school all day.
The POWHIRI at Onuku is at 11am.
Guides will be waiting to show you the way and answer questions.
The day will begin with an explosive powhiri hosted by Onuku.
(A $10 koha per head for the powhiri, a traditional tikanga).
If you don’t make the powhiri there is plenty more to enjoy. Interactive spaces are created to experience the world of Te Ao Maori hosted by whanau. Other activities will include creation stories, local history, local Maori artwork, historical tours by our tamariki and food preparation at the whata (food preparation area). Hear about how the french learnt to play an old traditional Maori game called Ki-o-Rahi.
An opportunity to experience the world of Te Ao Maori, swing a poi and eat hangi while you embrace the tranquil environment of Onuku.
There will be a hangi for $12 a head served at approx 12.30pm.

Nau mau, Tauti mai koutou ma. Nau te rourou, naku te rourou ka ora ai te iwi.

Other events throughout the town:

Akaroa Orion Powerhouse Gallery
Friday 6 October- Sunday 8 October 2017.
French Festival Gallic Offerings Exhibition
Francophile paintings, bric-à- brac, brocante etc…

Friday Day:
On Friday day we will be judging the Best Dressed Competition. The businesses will compete in this to show us their best blue, red and white colours!

French Flavour Storytimes & Craft
Akaroa Library
Friday 6th October, 11:00-12.00
Stories & Rhyme (in French & English)
Followed by French craft activity
Suitable for ages 3-7
Presented by Rémy Barbier.
Link HERE.

Britomart Reserve
• The Canterbury Brass Band play from 12.15-1pm on the Britomart Reserve.

• Lucky Lost band play on the Britomart Reserve from 1.30-2.15pm.

Red Bus Ride to French Fest:
1. French Fest Shuttle
Departs Christchurch – 9.00am
Returns from Akaroa – 5.30pm
$40 Adult, $30 child, return
Departs from Rolleston Avenue outside Canterbury Museum

2. French Fest Shuttle – Early Bird Special
Departs Christchurch – 6.30am
Returns from Akaroa – 5.00pm
$30 per person, return
Departs from Rolleston Avenue outside Canterbury Museum

Why not plan ahead and book yourself onto an Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise or Swimming With Dolphins experience to make the most of your Akaroa weekend!

See you there!


“Testament to a great community” is how Akaroa District Promotions Executive Officer, Hollie Hollander, described Akaroa’s win in the 2017 Cruise Critics’ Awards.

Akaroa was named Best Cruise Destination in Australia and New Zealand. What an accolade for a small village to beat the big players on the cruise itinerary. Runners up were Sydney, Picton, Melbourne and Tauranga.

“Akaroa was thrown in the deep end when it became the ‘default destination’ for cruise ships after the earthquakes ended arrivals into Lyttelton. This award is testament to the whole community, who despite the disruption have rallied together for the greater good and made Akaroa an unforgettable experience for our visitors” said Ms Hollander.

The Cruise Critics website describes Akaroa as a quaint village that “oozes Gallic charm.” But it’s the charm of the locals that has won the cruise passengers over.
“Sailing into Akaroa harbour is an amazing experience in itself, but what our visitors always comment on is the warmth and friendliness of the locals. It starts with the welcome they receive from the Cruise Ambassadors on the wharf, it continues as they’re hosted on a great range of local tours and activities and ends with locals serving them the best of Peninsula products. Our cruise visitors are enamoured by our scenery but it’s the people who make this place so memorable for them.”

Hollander said that despite a number of weather setbacks this cruise season, overall it had been a success. And despite the sometimes congested town on large double ship days the community had worked hard to minimise the impact on the township.

“I acknowledge that we didn’t always get the balance right, but we’ve been working closely with the Council and local businesses to try to minimise congestion and amenity issues. We’ve listened to locals and we’re really making an effort to maximise the economic opportunities cruising brings while minimising the social impacts.”

With news that cruise ships will return to Lyttelton in the not-too-distant future, Hollander said now was the time to start thinking about how the community remained a viable Cruise Destination. “We are not looking at losing our position as a Cruise Destination, rather we’ll be looking at Akaroa as a niche destination. That will mean fewer ships and passengers but it may also mean higher value visitors and greater sustainability.”

Akaroa welcomed approx. 127,000 cruise ship visitors in the 2016/17 season.

Research undertaken by Lincoln University in 2013 shows that the average ‘port visit’ spend per cruise ship visitor is $129. This is made up of spending on tours, transport, shopping and souvenirs, restaurant meals, food and refreshments and is spent through the whole of Canterbury.
Businesses derive between 5-30% of their annual revenue from cruise ship visitors.
The economic impact of the cruise ship visitors to Akaroa is forecast at a value-add (VA)* of $38.5m. An estimated 781 jobs will be supported by the industry in Canterbury.
Cruise ship tourism presents a huge opportunity for NZ and for Canterbury. There is no other singular tourism market in Canterbury having the immediate ability to produce high value returns for Canterbury’s economic recovery with minimal effort of expenditure.


Black Cat Cruises was started by a family, the Bingham family to be precise, who loved the harbour and it’s inhabitants so much so that they wanted to share their little slice of Banks Peninsula paradise with those who came to visit Akaroa.

A mecca for native wildlife from the Hector’s dolphins to the little blue penguins, the majestic extinct volcanic harbour lends itself not only a visually captivating experience out on the cool harbour water, but an educational one for all ages.

Back then the Bingham family were pioneers of eco-tourism as they first set about organising and running Akaroa’s first ever daily Akaroa harbour nature cruise, and it’s in that same family spirit that we offer free kids cruising for under 5’s on every single Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise, every single day of the year…BUT WAIT…..during the July School holidays all children when cruising with an adult can cruise for FREE.

Yep the ticket for a child is $0 when they travel with a full paying adult ($75)….time to pack the car and head over the Banks Peninsula hills for a Christchurch winter holiday adventure not to be forgotten.

To view more info visit our page on the Kidsfest website https://www.kidsfest.co.nz/event/kids-cruise-free-in-akaroa-with-black-cat-cruises-2/

Kidsfest is organised by the Christchurch City Coundil and they have a lot of awesome activities for children if you are looking for things to do over the Christchurch school holidays! Coolstuff 2017 scooterWe recommend self driving to Akaroa (the kids scooter may take you the whole two week holiday!) or if you want to make a really relaxing day of it why not jump on the Akaroa French Connection shuttle and let them seamlessly transport you and your wee ones over to Akaroa and back in a day.

They will drop you right at the end of the main wharf in Akaroa where you will find us located in the big blue building!

You can find out more information about their transport to Akaroa here on their website https://www.akaroabus.co.nz/

If you want any pic-sparation (i think we just made up a word) check out our latest shots from our Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise here

*offer is for 1 free child per full paying adult in Akaroa. Child age is 5 -15. Kids Cruise free for under 5’s all year round


Looking for Easter School Holiday activities…look no further.

We have a limited number of half price Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise tickets available today on Grab One. They will be available only until the last one sells out so don’t delay.

Both adult and child tickets are half price and remember under 5’s travel for free with us at Black Cat Cruises anytime of the year, so if you have little ones there’s never been a better time to come over the hill and visit us in Akaroa.

Make time to explore both Akaroa and Banks Peninsula. There are so many beautiful places to visit, all just a short drive from Christchurch.To find out more about things to do why not sign up to our newsletter and you’ll recieve a free Banks Peninsula guide packed with things to do, places to eat, sleep and play!


Something for the weekend…and your taste buds!

Tomorrow (Saturday), Akaroa will play host to some of New Zealand’s finest chefs, all with ties to Akaroa, who will be cooking and serving dishes inspired by local Banks Peninsula produce at the Akaroa Harvest Festival;

– Darren Wright from Chillingworth Road,

– Paul Howells from Twenty Seven Steps,

– Matt Dickie from Coopers & Co,

– Craig Martin from Annandale Luxury Lodge, and

– Akaroa’s resident Spaniard Fran Sansano Anaya who will be cooking his famous Seafood Paella.

There will be two masterclasses over the course of the day;

– 11am Darren Wright, who will be showcasing his lamb dish that he will be cooking on the day, and

– 1pm Lou Bentley from the Akaroa Cooking School showcasing Akaroa salmon.

The famous cake auction will take place around 1.30pm with all proceeds going to the Akaroa Health Hub. Also, if you have any spare produce (fruit, vegetables, chutneys, jams etc) you would like to donate then please bring it along on the day to place on the community table again with proceeds going to the Health Hub.

This year’s festival is being held in the gorgeous gardens of Stew and Jos Howden at Potters Croft – 57 Rue Grehan.

Entry to the event is free and visitors will be able to purchase the chef’s dishes from 11am onward. Each dish will come with a recipe card so you can then purchase the necessary ingredients from the market in order to recreate it at home.

All of the stallholders from the Akaroa Farmers Market will be there from 10am for your fresh produce, coffee fix, baked treats and gelato along with local wines to enjoy with the food and live music to keep you entertained throughout the day.

There is even a supervised kid’s area with entertainment so parents can fully enjoy their day out. The weather forecast is looking fantastic so head on down for a wonderful day celebrating beautiful Peninsula produce.

For easier access to the venue at Potters Croft, there is a free shuttle service from the recreation ground in Akaroa, where there is ample car parking or it is a gentle 10 minute stroll up rue Grehan from the Rue Lavaud turn off.

Those travelling from Christchurch can catch the Akaroa Shuttle put on by Red Bus at a special cost of $40 return (using the promo code: harvest). This service departs at 8.30am from the Christchurch Museum on Rolleston Ave.

Gates open at 10am and the festival will finish up around 3pm. Don’t forget to bring a chiller bag for all of your goodies. Come along for a great day of fun, entertainment, fabulous food and local wines. See you there!!

Hector’s Dolphin Research: Scientific Gizmos Galore

By Tom Brough;

Whilst this strange ‘summer’ weather still limits some of our boat work in the more remote areas of Banks Peninsula, our research teams have been making the most of good weather windows and getting some solid work done.

We’ve been retrieving and redeploying devices called TPODs that are permanently moored around the Peninsula (see picture). At present we have 11 TPOD’s moored around the peninusla, from Birdlings Flat to Lyttelton and everywhere in between. We bought these around 10 years ago for the price of around $3,000 each.

These handy gadgets record the sounds of Hector’s dolphins and so can tell us about the locations on the Peninsula that the dolphins prefer.

Because dolphins make particular sounds called ‘buzzes’ when foraging, TPODs can also tell us how often dolphins are foraging in particular areas. The current deployment of TPODs has been in the water since September and have had to put up with two 10m+ swell events during the last month; causing no small about of anxiety to our researchers!

We have also been continuing out our routine photo-ID surveys of the Banks Peninsula coastline. Finding and photographing dolphins with natural marks in their dorsal fins allows us to keep tabs on the number of dolphin in the Banks Peninsula population. Occasionally, we can identify dolphins by slightly stranger means.

A dolphin we regularly see on the north side of the Peninsula, often following trawlers off Lyttelton Harbour. The dolphin is nicknamed ‘mouthy’ and for some reason seems to breathe through its mouth rather than its blowhole.

We recently published a paper on how this could occur; it being the first time this strange behaviour has been observed in the wild.

Understanding the dolphins’ habitat and the reasons they are found in particular places is one of our current research questions.

To answer this we deploy all kinds of scientific gizmos to tell us more about the areas the dolphins use more frequently.

This device (see picture), nicknamed Roberto, gives us a salinity and temperature profile of the water column as it is lowered to near the sea floor. Roberto also shows how much phytoplankton is in the water and measures dissolved oxygen. Having this kind of information allows us to understand and so better protect the important habitat of these special dolphins.

Fingers are crossed for better weather as we head into February when we will start looking at dolphin prey distribution, sediment sampling, and nutrient loads. Stay tuned!

Tom works for the New Zealand Whale and Dolphin Trust

The New Zealand Whale and Dolphin Trust was launched in 1992 by researchers Associate Professors Liz Slooten and Steve Dawson, along with Trust Patron Sir Geoffrey Palmer to foster research and effective conservation of whales and dolphins in New Zealand. The Trusts long-term goal is; “To enhance the current knowledge of behavioural ecology, distribution and genetic diversity of New Zealand’s whales and dolphins and help create informed management decisions”.

Follow their work @hectorsdolphin on twitter

or on Facebook @whaledolphintrust

Don’t forget we offer Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruises every single day of the year that is protected by a Hector’s dolphin sighting guarantee, or you can come and cruise again with us for free. We donate a portion of every single ticket sale back towards the eductaion and research of Hector’s dolphins.


Waitangi Day Commemorations in Okains Bay

If you are thinking of heading over to Akaroa or the peninsula over the weekend then be sure to make time for this. Thanks to akaroa.com for the below article. Head to the website to find out whats going on in and around Akaroa and the bays.

Event date: Monday, February 6, 2017

Brief Description
Nau mai, Haere mai. Join us at the Okains Bay Maori and Colonial Museum for a family day to commemorate the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.

Highlights include a powhiri (traditional welcome), hangi lunch, children’s races and the paddling of our magnificent waka on the Opara River at 1pm.

View the Museum’s amazing collections and enjoy continuous demonstrations all day including bread baking in a traditional clay oven, master weavers, wood chopping and sheep shearing. Crafts, stalls, pony rides, lolly scramble, sausage sizzle, espresso coffee, garden bar, cafeteria and more!

The Waitangi Day commemorations at Okains Bay are the largest and longest standing in the South Island, with 2017 being the 42nd consecutive commemoration.

Details and Contact

Entrance Adults $10, Children $2

Please bring cash. No ATM available.

Gates open at 10am. Powhiri (traditional welcome) commences at 10:30am.

Please phone the Okains Bay Museum for more details. 03 304 8611.

Location Okains Bay Maori and Colonial Museum

Emai: info@okainsbaymuseum.co.nz
Phone: 03 304 8611

Website: Okains Bay Maori & Colonial Museum