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

Category Archives: Tourist Information

KEEP YOURSELF AND THE OCEAN SAFE THIS SUMMER

We know how much Kiwis love playing in and around the water in the summertime.

We flock to our favorite beaches to swim, surf, paddle board, kayak, sail, water ski and more so it’s safe to say we are a nation of water lovers.…we may even do a once-in-a-lifetime swim with a certain marine mammal found here on Banks Peninsula. But whatever it is we like or want to do……..

Nothing is more important than safety when it comes to our oceans in Aotearoa.

So we have filled this blog with heaps of helpful tips. Water safety comes in two forms that we’ll cover: safety for you and safety for our ocean environment.

 

Safety for you on the water

When you’re on your vessel, you have sole responsibility for yourself and others’ marine safety. If your vessel is smaller than 4.8 metres, everybody on board must wear a lifejacket at all times. Make sure everyone’s life jacket fits using the graphic pictured here. Even on bigger vessels, make sure you have plenty of life jackets for every size to hand. Lifebuoys are also great when someone goes overboard, as pictured below.

Another extremely important aspect of boat safety is obeying speed limits. You must only go 5 knots when:

  • within 200m of the shore
  • within 200m of any structure
  • within 200m of a boat displaying a diver’s flag
  • within 50m of any other boat
  • within 50m of a person swimming
  • on a powerboat, if any person has any part of their body outside the rails or edge of the deck.

It’s good to know that when you’re aboard a Black Cat vessel, you’re in the safe hands of a MTOC accredited operator. What does that mean? We’ve been through the rigorous process of gaining certificates of approval from Maritime NZ. That means they’ve agreed we have a capable and well-trained crew, we have managed risk hazards, our boats are running smoothly, and we know what we’d do in an emergency. 

It’s a very good idea to keep clear of large vessels. They aren’t any good at quickly moving out of your way.

The Maritime website has everything you need to know about boat safety if you want to know more and here is a great visual guide on how to fit a life jacket safely. 

fit a life jacket safely
Safety on the water – How to fit a life jacket safely

 

General water safety rules you should always follow

 

Whatever you’re doing on the water, there are some universal tips to keeping safe. 

Assess the conditions before heading out there.

Plan ahead and check the weather and wind forecast. It’s usually the WIND AND SWELL that can cause the biggest problems. A great free website or app for this is Windy.  If it’s stormy or super windy, and the water is really choppy, don’t go out. If it’s getting dark, don’t go out there.

A great option is to GO WITH A FRIEND and have some way of communicating some-one on land. If you are going out alone tell someone responsible where you are going and what time you expect to be back.

You should also DRESS APPROPRIATELY, WEAR AN OCEAN FRIENDLY SUNSCREEN….and when taking part in any water sports ALWAYS WEAR A LIFEJACKET. Even in summer, hypothermia can still happen. New Zealand’s water isn’t tropical and the water gets colder the further out you go, or when you’re in the water for long enough. 

water safety what to do in a ripIf you ever get caught in a strong current or ‘rip’ DO NOT PANIC. Let yourself be carried by the rip as it won’t go forever. This way, you won’t exhaust yourself fighting against it. Once you stop getting carried, you can swim or paddle around the tip and safely get to shore. If you are swimming on a beach that is patrolled by lifeguards try to raise your arm if you can so you can hopefully get spotted and have one of the amazing New Zealand Surf Life Savers come to your rescue.

To upskill yourself in and around the water you could always join one of your local Surf Life Saving clubs. They have regular training sessions and best of all children can enroll from the age of 7 so they can help educate the next generation of young Kiwi’s on water safety. They even have a great page on how to stay safe at the beach any time of year which you can find here.

Safety for the environment 

water safety near wildlife
follow these guidelines when near marine mammals for optimum safety

New Zealand is a beautiful country, and we’re pretty good at keeping it that way. But we all need a reminder every now and then, and we have to keep at it every time we’re outside. Black Cat Cruises is also a SMART operator, and that’s not just us tooting our own horns. It means we are part of a voluntary collaboration between DOC and commercial vessels that are involved with marine mammals. DOC gives us guidelines to make sure we minimize our impact on their natural processes. The principles are carried to all marine life in Akaroa, from the little blue penguin and the fur seal to our beloved Hector’s Dolphins (and any other visits we get from Orcas or Humpback whales!) 

 

You can also follow these guidelines.

  • If you see another vessel near a marine animal, keep clear and wait for them to leave before approaching.
  • NEVER feed a marine animal.
  • Move very slowly and do not circle.
  • Don’t swim with dolphins that have juveniles (half the size of an adult or smaller).
  • Onshore, keep dogs on leashes near seals and give them space.
  • Don’t get between a seal and the sea. 

 

Also, keep a lookout for any vessel (fishing, commercial or private) which looks like it’s breaking the rules. You can report anything suspicious to 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468).

For more tips, have a look at DOC’s article here

 

Finally, as the good saying goes; take only photographs and leave only footprints. But if you’ve made it this far through reading our blog, we already know you will.

You can always take it that next step further and pick up any rubbish you see on the shores. 

 

Keeping all of this in mind, along with some common sense, will make sure you, and everybody else, has a safe and awesome summer.

Why not make it even more awesome with Black Cat Cruises. Visit our website to book from one of our wonderful award-winning water based experiences!

 

Written by Josh Bingham

Banks Peninsula Walking Festival

BANKS PENINSULA WALKING FESTIVAL

BANKS PENINSULA WALKING FESTIVAL

BANKS PENINSULA WALKING FESTIVAL

 

We are just a few weeks away from the start of the Bank Peninsula Walking festival. It kicks off on Saturday, November 6th and runs every weekend for the full month of November. Read on for full details, ticket info and how we support the festival each year. 

 

banks peninsula walking festival

This is an annual walking festival that offers a wonderful variety of guided trails, from small hikes to day long expeditions.

WHAT TO EXPECT

This year’s programme is expected to be as popular as ever with a great variety of walks to enjoy on Banks Peninsula. Join the continuing multi-year Kaitorete Spit challenge, take the family on a Kid’s Adventure at Sugarloaf, or visit the new Te Ahu Pātiki conservation park in Whakaraupō/Lyttelton Harbour! Try out a digital ‘Our Stories’ walk in Lyttelton, follow in the footsteps of Akaroa’s Antarctic hero Frank Worsley, or join some ‘rock-hopping’ at Kaioruru/Church Bay with a well-known Canterbury volcanologist.

The great variety of walks offers something for people of all ages, abilities and interests. Whether it be history and heritage, botany or geology there is something for everyone with a guarantee of beautiful views and scenery along the way.

Each walk includes some fantastic insight from your local guide and are great value for money.

GUIDE AND TICKETS

Click the link below to access the full line up of walks available.

https://www.bankspeninsulawalks.co.nz/banks-peninsula-walking-festival/

A lot of walks have already sold out! The Banks Peninsula Walking Festival are expecting all tickets across the festival to sell out, so jump in quick to secure your space.

Tickets are being booked via Eventfinder which you can access here

 

BLACK CAT CRUISES SUPPORTS THE BANKS PENINSULA WALKING FESTIVAL

quail island banks peninsula walking festivalEach year we are really pleased to support the festival .We have given the festival access to discounted tickets to Quail Island. Details as listed on the festivals website are as below for this experience.

WALK 15 – DISCOVER ŌTAMAHUA QUAIL ISLAND WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF CONSERVATION AND TE HAPŪ O NGĀTI WHEKE

WALK – Wear sturdy walking shoes or boots. Bring lunch, snacks, water bottle, sunhat, sunscreen, weatherproof gear and hand sanitiser.

Start time: 9:00am – 1:45pm

Duration: 5 hour event. 2-3 hour walk for complete Island circuit (4.5kms)

Cost: Adult $25, Child $10 

Hop on the Black Cat Ferry to enjoy a family day out on Ōtamahua / Quail Island, taking advantage of these discounted Ferry tickets!

The main track circumnavigates Ōtamahua / Quail Island and can be walked in either direction. The loop track passes historic sites and offers beautiful views of Whakaraupō/Lyttelton Harbour. Discover the Island’s unique past as a quarantine station. See its historic stables and the ship’s graveyard. Try some bird watching, observe the Islands native biodiversity restoration project and ‘get back to nature’ in this beautiful setting. Te Hapū o Ngāti Wheke will be sharing interpretation of the island history and the pou whenua. Visit the barracks to view the interpretative displays illustrating the rich history of the island.

During your visit check out Ōtamahua Hut – the family friendly island accommodation, and get inspired to plan a future visit with family and friends to create your own overnight adventure!

 

This festival is brought to you by the Rod Donald Banks Peninusla Trust

The Rod Donald Banks Peninsula Trust has a bold vision to facilitate the restoration of Banks Peninsula to its traditional status as Te Pātaka o Rākaihautū – the storehouse that nourishes.

Proceeds from the festival support this fantastic Trust. If you’d like to make a donation towards the trust directly you can do so here. All donations over $5 are tax deductible.

Banner and map image are included courtesy of the Banks Peninsula Walking Festival website. Keep up the amazing work team!

School Holiday Fun! Quail Island Treasure Hunt, Kids Cruise Free in Akaroa and Ripapa Island

school holiday Christchurch activity

It’s all go these school holidays in Christchurch and Akaroa with Black Cat Cruises.

school holiday Christchurch activityThe school holidays kick off this Saturday, October 2nd and run until Sunday October 17th in Christchurch and we know just how important it is to find a fun and engaging activity that the whole family can enjoy. Choose from our daring pirate and treasure hunt happening daily on Quail Island, or jump in the car and head over the hill to Akaroa for a two hour nature cruise as kids cruise free during the holidays….and if that wasn’t enough we have also put on 3 limited space trips to Ripapa Island happening every Saturday.

Quail Island Treasure Hunt – Adults go at kids prices

Come and find the hidden pirates on Quail Island and we’ll reward you with treasure. Limited time only for the October school holidays. Choose from a morning, afternoon or full day trip when booking Quail Island.

Adults cost just $15 return – the same price as a child.

BOOK USING CODE: PIRATES21 

 

Kids Cruise Free in Akaroa

school holiday deal christchurch

Did you know 2 kids cruise for free (saving $80) in Akaroa in the October school holidays. Explore Akaroa harbour and discover majestic volcanic cliffs along with native wildlife such as the Hector’s dolphins and New Zealand fur seal. The cruise lasts for two hours and includes complimentary tea and coffee for mum, dad and the grandparents…along with a kids activity book on request for the little ones. There are two viewing platforms and a large inside cabin with a bar, seating and bathroom. We also offer a Hector’s dolphin guarantee. Did you know Hector’s dolphins are the worlds rarest and smallest dolphin…and only found here in New Zealand. The lucky thing for us is that Banks Peninsula is the home of the Hector’s and we get to see them every single day on 98% of our cruises which allows us to take you out again for free if you don’t see them 🙂

BOOK USING CODE: OCTHOLS21

Valid on our Akaroa Nature Cruise when accompanied by 1 adult paying full price of $95.

Ripapa Island

The little island with the big history is back for a limited time. Over the next 3 Saturdays once you’ve booked online you can jump on our boat in Lyttelton and cruise over to Ripapa Island for a fascinating morning of discovery. Check out the video below and if you haven’t yet been we highly recommend you take the opportunity to cruise over.

Ripapa Island

And remember under 5’s cruise and travel for free with us all year round!

We do recommend advance booking as spaces have been reduced to just 50 passengers per trip for Quail Island and our Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise.

You can book any of these experiences directly on our booking page here

Please note that these experiences will only go ahead in Covid alert level 1 or  2. At the time of posting we are currently in Level 2 which means our Quail Island and Akaroa experiences are limited to 50 pax per trip.

Kids Cruise Free in Akaroa

akaroa dolphins

Kids cruise free in Akaroa these April school holidays with us at Black Cat Cruises*.

We are setting sail every day, twice and day and you and the whole whanau are invited!

Join us in Akaroa for our multi-award winning Akaroa Nature Cruise. Cruise through a majestic extinct volcanic crater on board our large double decker catamaran.

As we cruise through this geological wonderland we’ll go in search of native wildlife such as the worlds rarest and smallest dolphin, the Hector’s dolphin, along with New Zealand Fur Seals, Little Blue Penguins, and many types of coastal birds. With unimpeded 360 degree viewing platform, a large inside cabin complete with free tea and coffee for mum and dad and coloring activities for kids, this is a wonderful way to spend a few hours of your holiday.

Each cruise lasts two hours, and we even offer a Hector’s dolphin guarantee. If you don’t see a dolphin you can cruise again for free!

Simply book directly with us online.

When booking use code FREEKIDS to receive your discount

*1 free child per full paying adult

april school holiday activity

 

April School Holiday Fun – Quail Island’s Big Beautiful Bird Trail

april school holiday activity for kids

School holiday fun is here on Quail Island!

If you are looking for a school holiday activity in Christchurch then look no further….
Best of all adults cruise at kids prices throughout the April school holidays ($15 return per person).
So what’s it all about?
Well, six native New Zealand birds are hiding around Quail Island.
These Big Beautiful Birds have been painted in watercolour by a local Lyttelton artist. Each piece of art has been blown up and printed on very large boards, so they look amazing and will be hard to miss. You will also be given a map to help you locate all of the birds. Each bird is accompanied by some facts to help teach our younger generation about our native wildlife.
So we invite you to come and explore Quail island and find them all, whilst learning about each bird.
Complete our fun fact sheet and we’ll reward you with surprise treats on your boat ride back to Lyttelton.
A boat ride, fresh air, education, exercise, nature and fun all rolled into one!
The April school holiday starts on Saturday April 17th and goes through to Sunday May 2nd, 2021
Boat departs twice daily from B Jetty in Lyttleton harbour.
Departures:
10.15am and 12.15pm
Return:
12.30pm and 3.30pm
Online booking is recommended which you can do right here

Booking Out Quick – Queens Birthday Special

akaroa harbour nature cruise hectors dolphins

Well i think it’s safe to safe we are all looking forward to a three day weekend where we can get out and #exploreyourplace in our beautiful backyard!

So we are pleased to let you know that we will be operating our Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise giving you the perfect excuse to take a day trip or long weekend in Akaroa. And for those staying closer to Christchurch we will be operating the Quail Island Ferry from Lyttelton on Saturday, Sunday and Monday #discoversomethingnewnz

25% Discount

We are offering a 25% on our Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise over the long weekend when you book online and use the code ‘UNITE’. As we are still operating with restricted numbers to give you extra space and peace of mind we highly recommend booking in advance #supportlocal

Under 5’s Travel Free

A reminder that under 5’s travel for free on our Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise and Quail Island ferry all year round regardless #familyfirst

Operating Times

Escape, relax and spend some time discovering a #purenz experience…..

The Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise will be operating at 11am and 1.30pm over these three days. Sat & Sun are fully booked at 1.30pm.

The Quail Island Ferry will depart Lyttelton at 10.20 am & 12.20pm, returning at 12.30pm & 3.30pm

Limited Capacity

We highly recommend booking in advance online as numbers are limited to ensure you have maximum space and peace of mind. Our 1.30pm Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise on the Saturday and Sunday are already fully booked Thank you to all of our customers helping to #backyourbackyard

You can view our booking calendar here. Simply select the product and date you wish you travel to check availability. From all of us at #blackcatcruises we hope to see you out there!

TIAKI PROMISE

TIAKI PROMISE

TIAKI PROMISE Have you heard of the Tiaki promise?

Well the Tiaki promise is a shared kaupapa (set of values, principles and plans which people have agreed on as a foundation for their actions) founded by New Zealand’s leading Tourism bodies and experts.

The Tiaki Promise is a commitment that both New Zealanders and visitors alike should follow. Most importantly this is in order to protect the country for our generation, and for the generations that are yet to come. What a beautiful concept we can all help bring to life…..

Tiaki In Action

The Tiaki Promise indicates how we can care for New Zealand, with five clear pillars for guidance as shown in this poster. tiaki promise poster

Such simple changes and small deeds can have a big impact. Therefore this might be as simple as…

  • Driving carefully on the roads
  • Being prepared for bad weather or a disaster
  • Showing respect to your peers and people you meet along the way
  • Protecting nature and your environment
  • Picking up litter

That great old saying of take nothing but pictures and leave nothing but footprints is a great way to describe an example of that!

Count Us In

We at Black Cat Cruises have proudly made the commitment to be a part of the Tiaki Promise. As a Kiwi eco-tourism operator since day one we will continue to search for ways in which we can better our environment and experience whilst respecting our surroundings and the wildlife within it.

Get Involved…

The coolest part is that the Tiaki promise is a call out for all Kiwi’s to become guardians of their home. By following this link https://tiakinewzealand.com/ you can find out a little more and show your support towards the Tiaki Promise and YOU can help by becoming a guardian of New Zealand starting today.

Feeling Inspired?

We’d love to hear what actions you already take and now plan to take to show your support. Leave a comment below and inspire us….

 

COUNTDOWN TO SEAWEEK

Seaweek is New Zealand’s annual national week about the sea. Hosted by the NZ Association for Environmental Education (NZAEE), Seaweek focuses on learning from the sea. It’s about exciting and inspiring all New Zealanders to renew their connections with the sea! Not just for children or those involved with formal education – it’s a time for all of us to get to know our ocean, its habitats, characteristics and inhabitants better.

AKAROA EVENT

25 February to 5 March 2017, daily at 3.40pm

Every day during Seaweek take up the offer of a discounted wildlife cruise on our large, spacious and modern catamaran. On the cruise you can view the natural wonders of Akaroa Harbour such as volcanic outcrops & caves, as well as White Flippered Blue Penguin, shags and the worlds rarest and smallest oceanic dolphin, the Hector’s Dolphin.

There’s lots of room on the two decks for unimpeded viewing and plenty of covered seating, for shade and shelter. Inside there’s a drink and snack bar as well as toilets. Our Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise is fully narrated by the skipper who has extensive knowledge of the nature, wildlife and history of the harbour.

50% off the normal Akaroa Nature Cruise price i.e down to Adult $37.50 & Child $15.00 – must book directly by phone 0800 4 DOLPHINS or in store.

LYTTELTON EVENT

Saturday 25 February and Saturday 4- Sunday 5 March 2017 from1.30-3pm departing from B Jetty Lyttelton

Enjoy a relaxing and informative 90 minute cruise of Lyttelton Harbour – this Lyttelton special harbour cruise is only available over both weekends of Seaweek.

A fantastic way to explore your back yard with friends or family for a very special one off price.

Cost: Adult: $30; Child: $15 – to reserve a space phone 03 328 9078 or email: lyttelton@blackcat.co.nz

SEAWEEK WEBSITE

For the full line up of Christchurch and Canterbury events and activities check out the Seaweek website

A SNEAK PEAK AT THE NEW JUCY SNOOZE HOTEL CHRISTCHURCH

 

Jucy hotel christchurch

It was only one week ago that we were meeting Rt. Hon. John Key, Prime Minister of New Zealand and Minister of Tourism at The New Zealand Tourism awards.

Fast forward 7 days and we’re back in his company at the official launch of the brand new (and first of it’s kind in NZ) Jucy Snooze hotel based at the Christchurch International Airport.

It’s the perfect place to spend the night when flying in or out of Christchurch, and of course particularly great if you have spent the day in Akaroa cruising or swimming with Hector’s dolphins and need to be back near the airport for your flight the next day / late evening!

The Jucy Hotel doesn’t open to guests until November so we thought you might want to have a little sneak preview. We even have a couple of behind the scenes shots from the night before the launch….step inside……

jucy hotel entrance christchurch

The Prime Minister of New Zealand, who is also the Minister of Tourism did a great job at the opening. It’s possibly the first time he has been to the unveiling of a pillow? Just another quirky Jucy touch….

Jucy Hotel John Key Christchurch

 

On the contrary to my little head popping out below there is nothing pokey about these pods. The Jucy pods are actually quite spacious, and really darn comfy. There’s room to securely store your luggage below, the blinds roll down to give you some privacy and there charging docks within your pod to satisfy any tech savvy traveller. Even the hammocks in the community area have charging docks.

Jucy hotel pods

Last but by no means least Jucy wouldn’t be ‘Jucy’ without some pretty cool touches and branding. We especially love the new ‘Pockets Of Awesome’artwork jointly comissioned by Jucy and Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism, along with the continuation of the indoor outdoor theme with these super deep and comfy pallet sofas and furniture!

jucy hotel decor

We say great job team Jucy! Will you be staying at the Jucy hotel? Let us know what you think below….

 

If you want to book a pod at the Jucy hotel simply visit www.jucy.co.nz

To rent a jucy car or camper (perfect for your trip to Akaroa!) then visit the Jucy website here

#AkaroaNZ A round up of Akaroa’s 1st ever InstaMeet

Last Saturday Black Cat Cruises in partnership with Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism and Kiwi Instagrammer Kyle Mulinder aka @barekiwi hosted Akaroa’s first ever instameet….and what a success it was!  We were overwhlemed with not only the wonderful mix of nationalites from Kiwi to Canadian that attended, but just how far some people had travelled! I mean seriously travelled…on planes, trains, automobiles and even a scooter all the way from Queenstown. All to visit our beauitful Akaroa, meet likeminded indiviudals whilst sailing out on the Black Cat to see and photograph the sunset over the pacific ocean. But before we go anyfurther i’m sure a few of you ( like we all did not too long ago) are asking the questions…..

What Exactly Is An InstaMeet?

”A group of instagrammers all meeting together to take photo’s, learn and network” – Plains Fm

In todays crowdsourced content culture Instagram has become one of the leading mediums driven by a passionate, dedicated and inspiring community. For us that means we not only get to share our beautiful slice of Akaroa Harbour and the surrounding wildlife, but allow our guests to create and curate their own content…..and we love it!

Plains Fm came along to report on the evening and created a fantastic podcast you can listen to here.

So what happens when you put an award winning eco-tourism operator, together with their regional tourism office, one of New Zealands most influential Instagrammers and over 70 inspirational and creative people on a boat….Take a look….

And The Result…

For us the Instameet has created a brand new tribe of inspirational advocates that have created stunning content that it still pouring through….

AkaroaNZ pics

To view all of the images use #AkaroaNZ on instagram

The Next Instameet

Visit www.christchurchnz.com/instameet to keep up to date with the future events