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

Category Archives: Tourist Information

13 THINGS TO DO IN AKAROA – ACTIVITIES

If you’re looking for somewhere to holiday in the South Island, Akaroa is a great place to spend a few days. In a post-earthquake Canterbury, Akaroa is unharmed and is a great place to go to get away from it all. Come try out the many Akaroa activities.

Banks Peninsula Walking Track

These walks are a great way to explore the Banks Peninsula area and there are different options for walkers of all levels. All tracks start and finish in Akaroa and trampers can choose a two or four day walk, staying in huts along the way. This sort of walking holiday is an ideal way to experience the remote sights of the Banks Peninsula.

banks-peninsula-track

Akaroa Harbour Cruise

Cruising the harbour is an ideal option if you want to see some beautiful scenery and experience some of the wildlife that Akaroa has to offer. Black Cat does daily cruises which give you a chance to see dolphins, seals and penguins among other things. They can also show you a bit of the area’s history by touring the volcanic cliffs and seeing some ancient lava flows.

03 304 7641
www.blackcat.co.nz

black-cat-cruises-akaroa

Kayak, Canoe and Boat Hire

If you want to have a bit of unscheduled fun, you can hire a range of water vessels and explore the Harbour in your own time. Kayaks, canoes, paddle boats, row boats and water bikes are all available and can be a fun and relaxing way to spend a day on the water.

kayaking-akaroa

Swimming with Dolphins

There is a lot of amazing marine wildlife in Akaroa and there are options to see some of it close you if you want to. Black Cat Cruises offer the incredible experience of swimming with Hector’s Dolphins. These dolphins are some of the world’s smallest and friendliest and will be an experience you won’t ever forget.

03 304 7641
www.blackcat.co.nz

swimming-with-dolphins-in-akaroa

Penguin Tours

Another option for those wanting to check out some wildlife is Pohatu Penguins. They offer unique sea kayak tours or scenic 4 wheel drive nature tours which visit a marine reserve in a coastal bay. This reserve is home to the largest Little Penguin colony on mainland New Zealand.

03 304 8552
www.pohatu.co.nz

akaroa-penguin

Pampering

There are a couple of options for spa’s in Akaroa which make it the perfect destination for relaxation and pampering. Akaroa Body Care or The Shunyata Retreat offer a range of services from day spas to retreats and are an ideal option if you’re looking for rejuvination and relaxation.

pamper-retreat

Wining and Dining

Akaroa is full of great little cafés and restaurants which are great experiences as well as serving a delicious range of food and wine. Whatever you feel like, there will be somewhere to suit your needs with each place offering something different to the next.

A Few Options:

 

    • L’Escargot Rouge-Deli to Go

 

    • La Thai

 

    • The Trading Rooms Restaurant and Pantry

 

    • The Little Bistro

 

akaroa-wine

Cheese Making

For a unique and delicious experience, Barrys Bay Cheese on the beautiful Banks Peninsula has something for everyone. Visitors can view traditional cheese making and watch a movie on the history if they want to. On top of this there are cheese tastings available and wines and condiments to complement the cheese available.

03 304 5809
www.barrysbaycheese.co.nz

barrys-bay-cheese

Farm Tours

For something a bit different, farm tours operate from the unique Paua Bay Farm. This is great if you’re looking for somewhere to stay or if you just want to spend they day. There are spectacular views and it is a unique experience of rural life on a traditional New Zealand farm.

03 304 7170
www.akaroafarmtours.com

paua-bay-farm

Shopping

You may not expect there to be much in the way of shopping in Akaroa but the area has a brilliant range of shops. Whether you’re looking for high fashion of something craftier, there are shops to suit. There are also jade, gemstone and crystal shops that are great places to look, and even better places to buy.

gemstone-shopping

Lighthouse

As the oldest town in the South Island, Akaroa has some amazing history and the buildings to go with it. One of these is the lighthouse which was relocated over twenty years ago and can now be seen in the Akaroa township. The lighthouse still has its original lighting equipment and is still lit on special occasions.

akaroa-lighthouse

Cooking School

A great place to go if you’re looking for something indoors is the Akaroa Cooking School. You can go in for private classes or hire it out for an event. This is a great idea for groups of all sizes and can be a fun activity if you’re looking to do something with a group.

021 166 3737
www.akaroacooking.co.nz

cooking-school-group

Treat Yourself to an Ice Cream

It’s the simple pleasures in life and what is summer without ice cream. Enjoying a couple of scoops of ice cream on the beautiful beaches of Akaroa will let you know that you’re really on holiday – no matter what age you are!

ice-cream

Image Credits

http:/www.flickr.com/photos/ajft/2217117159;
http:/www.flickr.com/photos/dipfan/617108181;
http:/www.flickr.com/photos/activesteve/5061201543;
http:/www.flickr.com/photos/nlcnet/4401722056;
http:/www.flickr.com/photos/chiotsrun/3715386044;
http:/www.flickr.com/photos/o5com/5824425017;
http://www.flickr.com/photos/ceosanna/3016737203/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/purecaffeine/6156284209/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/stijnnieuwendijk/5927337531/

THINGS TO DO IN CHRISTCHURCH POST-EARTHQUAKE

Here’s an updated list of what’s open in Christchurch after the earthquake – and also in the surrounding area. If you know other things please add them into the comments below so everyone knows!

Pop Up Mall

A revamped version of the Cashel Street mall was reopened at the end of October 2011. Temporary shops made from shipping containers make a colourful addition to city’s centre as it gradually reopens. The mall is home to 27 shops and is worth going to look at even if shopping is not on your agenda.

pop-up-mall

Black Cat Cruises

Stationed out in Akaraoa Harbour, the daily Black Cat cruise is a fantastic way to explore the area. There are cruises which are the best way to see the volcanic outer harbor and there is also the chance to see dolphins, seals and penguins in their natural habitat. There are also tours where you can swim with the dolphins. Just over an hour’s drive from Christchurch, Black Cat cruises are a perfect activity for all ages, and if you want to bring the kids along there are great rates for children.

black-cat-cruises

McLeans Island

This forest section of the Waimakariri River Regional Park almost does it all, just 10 kilometers from Christchurch. It’s a great location for activities such as picnicking, mountain biking, walking and running. On top of this, it is a great destination for recreation activities which includes golf, shooting, horse riding, vintage car steam and machinery club, paintball, tank rides and Orana Wildlife Park. Come and check out the giant playground for all ages.

mcleans-island

Surfing

The summer months offer a great opportunity for surfing some of Christchurch’s great beaches. Popular spots such as Taylor’s Mistake and Sumner Beach are great for surfing and offer the perfect way to spend the day.

taylors-mistake

Willowbank

Willowbank is the only place in New Zealand where you have access to such a wide range of wildlife. The reserve has natural bush surroundings and much of the wildlife is free to wander around so is able to be petted and fed. Willowbank also offers guided tours with knowledgable staff and a great cultural experience with their Ko Tane Maori Cultural Performances.

willowbank-kiwi

Ice Skating

Christchurch’s Alpine Ice Sports and Entertainment Centre is one of the best places to go ice skating in Christchurch. More than just ice skating, Alpine has light shows, music and games as well as a licensed bar and coffee lounge. Open all year round and offering group discounts and family passes, it’s a perfect way to spend the day.

03 3662213
www.alpineice.co.nz

ice-skating

Mountain Biking

If you’re looking for a great outdoor activity, Hanmer has some great tracks for mountain biking. These well maintained trails are a fun way to experience the Canterbury scenery.

hanmer-springs-mountain-biking

Hanmer Springs

Less than 2 hours drive from Christchurch lies the idyllic town of Hanmer. The towns biggest attraction is their natural hot springs and mineral pools. With lots of pools and awesome rides, Hanmer Springs is a great way to relax and have fun.

hanmer-springs

Tour Canterbury’s High Country

For something a bit different, check out 4 wheel drive tours of Canterbury’s High Country. This magnificent landscape is home of Lord of the Rings Middle Earth and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’s Narnia. This unique part of New Zealand is well worth exploring at any age.

canterbury-high-country

Antarctic Centre

For a family fun activity, visit Christchurch’s Antarctic Centre to experience a realistic glimpse of the Antarctic Region. As well as informative exhibits, visitors can ride in a hagglund and experience the snow and ice.

03 353 7798
www.iceberg.co.nz

antarctic-centre

What Else is Open in Christchurch After the Quake?

Here is a list which was updated on September 13th with other things that are open in Christchurch after the quakes. This has been provided by ChristchurchNZ.com.

4X4 ADVENTURES
03 314 2030
info@4x4adventures.co.nz

Akaroa Nature Cruises
03 328 9078
www.blackcat.co.nz/cruises.html

Action Karts Christchurch
03 377 3730
http://www.actionkarts.co.nz

Adrenalin Forest
03 329 8717
contact@adrenalin-forest.co.nz

Adventure Canterbury Ltd
0800 847 455
resv@adventurecanterbury.com

Air Force Museum
03 343 9508
marketing@airforcemuseum.co.nz

Alpine Ice Sports & Entertainment Centre
03 3662213
www.alpineice.co.nz

Alpine Jet
03 318 4881
www.alpinejet.co.nz

Beadz Unlimited
03 3795 126
www.beadzunlimited.com

Black Cat Cruises, Akaroa
03 304 7641
akaroa@blackcat.co.nz
www.blackcat.co.nz

Canterbury Aviation
03 359 8006
info@canterburyaviation.co.nz

Canterbury Leisure Tour
0800 484 485
info@leisuretours.co.nz

Canterbury Museum
03 366 5000
info@canterburymuseum.com

CanNZ Tours
0800 866 539
cannz@clear.net.nz

Christchurch Botanic Gardens
03 941 8999
christchurchbotanicgardens@ccc.govt.nz

Canterbury Trails
03 384 6148
trails@xtra.co.nz

Christchurch Casino
03 365 9999
www.christchurchcasino.co.nz

Christchurch Segway Tours
027 542 1887
g.g@paradise.net.nz

City Cycle Hire
0800 343848
info@cyclehire-tours.co.nz

Court Jesters
03 963 0878
jesters@courttheatre.org.nz

Discovery Travel
0800 372 879
info@discoverytravel.co.nz

Garden City Bowling
03 366 3323
www.amfbowling.co.nz

Glacier Explorers
0800 68 68 00
info@glacierexplorers.co.nz

Glacier Sea Kayaking – Tasman &Mueller Glacier Lakes
03 4351 890
mountcook@xtra.co.nz

GreatSights Sightseeing Tours
03 365 1113
info@intercity.co.nz

HELiPRO
03 3590470
christchurch@helipro.co.nz

Hassle Free 4WD/Jet Adventure Tour
03 385 5775
janet@hasslefree.co.nz

Hassle Free Alpine Safari Tour
03 385 5775
janet@hasslefree.co.nz

Hassle Free Lord of the Rings Tour
03 385 5775
janet@hasslefree.co.nz

Hiking New Zealand
03 384 3706
info@HikingNewZealand.com

Horse Power
03 342-9246
enquiries@horsepower.co.nz

Jet Thrills
0274 321 104
jstream1@xtra.co.nz

Ko Tane and Ko Tane free transport service
03 3596226
http://www.willowbank.co.nz/maori-culture-experience

Kowhai Tours
03 388 7899
kowhaitours@xtra.co.nz

Linden Leaves
03 339 8314
julietblair@lindenleaves.com

Maui – The Art of Maori Haka
03 366 0324
mauihaka@kol.co.nz

Orana Wildlife Park and Shuttle Service
03 359 7109
nathan@oranawildlifepark.co.nz

Pegasus Golf & Sports Club
03 920 3300
www.pegasusgolfcourse.co.nz

Pirates Island Adventure Golf
03 358 9250

Punting on the Avon & Antigua Boatsheds
03 366 0337
www.punting.co.nz

Rangitata Rafts
03 6963 735
info@rafts.co.nz

Rubicon Valley Horse Treks
03 318 8886
rubiconvalley@xtra.co.nz

She Chocolat
03 329 9222
enquiries@shechocolat.com

Swimming with Dolphins
03 328 9078
http://www.blackcat.co.nz/swimming-with-dolphins.html

Skydivingnz.com
03 302 9143
bookings@skydivingnz.com

South Pacific Motorcycle Tours Ltd
03 312 0066
office@motorbiketours.co.nz

Tanks For Everything
03 359 1007
info@tanksforeverything.co.nz

Terrace Downs – Discovery Jet, Golf, The Spa
03 318 6943
info@terracedowns.co.nz

The Inside Story Ltd (Tours)
379 8481
info@theinsidestory.co.nz

The International Antarctic Centre
Free transport on the Penguin Express
03 353 7798
www.iceberg.co.nz

Thrillseekers Adventures – Jet Boat, Rafting, Quad Bike, Bungy Jump
03 315 7046
www.thrillseekers.co.nz

Up Up & Away
03 381 4600
info@ballooning.co.nz

Waimak River Horse Treks Ltd
323 9064
smcstay@xtra.co.nz

Watford Grange Llama Park
03 347 4766
www.newzealandllamas.co.nz/home-page-xidc30375.html

Wild West Mini Golf
03 343 2055
www.wildwestminigolf.co.nz

Willowbank Reserve
03 359 6226
info@willowbank.co.nz
www.willowbank.co.nz

Yaldhurst Museum
03 342 7914
enquiries@yaldhurstmuseum.co.nz

If you know other things please add them into the comments below so everyone knows!

Also check out the What’s on Map http://www.whatsopen.co.nz/food-entertainment/1/recreational

Image Credits

http://www.flickr.com/photos/alberth2/2076322120/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/68386142@N07/6223680091/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/tk_five_0/5992802633/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/mdenhoedt/4391056383/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/annabelleny/5275800251/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/nzer/2937270600/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/caacrinolaas/6292877594/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/sagek/3336951247/

11 THINGS TO DO WITH KIDS IN AKAROA

I grew up in Akaroa so I’m really surprised when I hear people say there is not much for children to do in the town, and that the hot pools of Hamner are a better bet. Sure the pools are a must do but you can’t go there every weekend and Akaroa offers something different for families.

Now I have my own family, I can show them the hours of fun that can be had in and around Akaroa. Here are my top tips for entertaining the kids with Akaroa activities, many of these are free.

1. Cruise

Akaroa Harbour is just a fantastic place to explore, and on the daily Black Cat cruise around the harbour you will see dolphins, seals and penguins which are sure to delight kids of all ages; what kid doesn’t like dolphins?!

If you don’t own a boat, it’s the best way to explore the volcanic outer harbour. Black Cat has kid’s activity books and with kids under 5 free and 5-15 year olds at $25, its great value for money.

Children swimming with dolphins

Children swimming with dolphins

2. Walks

 

Walking

Walks to do with kids

There are lots of great places to walk and my favourite is a trek through the Garden of Tane. The ‘domain’ as it used to be known faces the harbour and you can find it easily by looking for Akaroa’s historic lighthouse on the waterfront and walking in land from there. The forest is teeming with native birds and trees and you will also discover the old cemeteries with some of the early settler’s graves. Bird spotting here is quite rewarding with fantails, tui, bellbirds and lots of others. There’s a huge birdsong each morning that’s sadly missing from many parts of New Zealand.

Garden of Tane

Garden of Tane, Akaroa

3. Go crabbing

About 800 people live in Akaroa but the beachfront is home to maybe millions of tiny crabs. All you need to do is go down onto the beaches at a mid to low tide and look under the rocks. Sure there is nothing much you can do with the crabs but its fun to look at the many sizes and shapes and the bravest will be able to pick them up by the tops of their shells.

Children crabbing

Crabbing with Children

4. Fishing

 

Fishing in Akaroa

Fishing in Akaroa

The days of pulling up ten cod off the end of the wharf are long gone but going fishing at the end of the wharf is still popular and you never know if you get the tide and conditions right you can still catch some fish.

Or for the older kids forget the fishing rods and try jumping off the wharf instead!

Jumping off the Akaroa Wharf

Jumping off the Akaroa Wharf

5. Take a rugby or soccer ball

..and have a kick about on the school grounds; they are about 2 minutes walk from the main wharf.

Akaroa Playground

Akaroa Playground

6. Adventure playground

OK it might not be the scale of the big playgrounds in Christchurch but there’s a neat little playground near Dalies wharf in town or try Le Mini golf. Again not the scale of the big city but a great way to burn up an hour and compete against each other.

7. Biking

The best place to go is probably from Akaroa out to the Onuku Marae which is somewhat flat compared to the rest of the peninsula. There is also a great walk from there through rolling farmland to Nikau Palm Gulley which as the world’s southernmost growing palm trees and a great little waterfall.

8. Beachcombing

You’ll have to go a little further afield to what is known as the outer bays. Jump in the car and go to Okains Bay or LeBons Bay. They boast enormous sand beaches. You may find you’ll be the only people there!

9. Hire a canoe or paddleboat

Don a lifejacket and get into one of the self propelled vessels. The boat hire jetty is just beside the main wharf.

10. Go to the Giants House

It’s a wacky playground of wild ideas all made from thousands of mosaics. Probably more akin to the sights of Vegas than Akaroa it shows what can be done with a little imagination and a dose of creativity. It’s a short walk from the Museum up Rue Balgarie.

Giants House

Giants House

11. Eat fish n chips!

Or dine at one of the many seaside cafes or restaurants. After all that exploring kids will be sure to have worked up an appetite and Akaroa is lucky to have lots of kids’ friendly menus and options.

Light house

Light house

BLACK CAT LEADS THE PACK IN ECO-TOURISM

Black Cat may be well known as a tourism operator, but did you know that we’re also a leader in environmental management?  From reducing energy consumption to donating a portion of every passenger fare to dolphin conservation, Black Cat takes extra measures to ensure the preservation of our environment.

New Zealand’s first eco-tourism operator

Established in 1985 as Akaroa Harbour Cruises, we can claim to be New Zealand’s first eco-tourism enterprise.  We launched with the intention of showing off Hector’s dolphins as well as the other creatures and scenery of Banks Peninsula.  Naturally, such a reliance on the natural environment encouraged Black Cat to foster a keen interest in maintaining the health and beauty of Akaroa Harbour right from the start.

Actions to protect the environment

Black Cat works hard to protect the environment.  First, we reduce our energy consumption (we aim for an annual reduction of 1% per person) through actions such as:

    • Maintaining our vessels for maximum efficiency
    • Encouraging our staff to walk or bike to work
    • Monitoring fuel usage
    • Using energy saving light bulbs and efficient heating

We also take care to minimise the by-products from the energy we do use.  By recycling and using biodegradable cleaning products, Black Cat is able to reduce the amount of waste resulting from our operation.

Education and advocacy

Black Cat takes pride in giving back to the environment and the community through advocacy, education and sponsorship.  Each year we donate at least $70,000 to programmes that support causes like marine mammal research and education, Quail Island restoration and penguin predator trapping.

We also provide sponsorship to projects that raise awareness of issues important to the community and the environment.  For instance, early in 2010 Black Cat supported Christchurch teenager Aescleah Hawkins undertake a 42km walk to raise funds for the endangered Hector’s dolphins, an event that gained national media attention.

Positive Feedback

Black Cat’s efforts to protect and preserve the natural environment have been recognised with a number of international eco-tourism awards including a Green Globe 21 Award and a Skal International Eco-Tourism Award.  With such positive response from the local and international community, we are confident that Black Cat will continue to set the standard for responsible engagement with the environment.

Book a place on a Black Cat cruise and see why we are one of top Christchurch attractions.

Top 10 Things to do in New Zealand

CD Traveller.com based in the UK has also named swimming with dolphins in Akaroa as one of their top 10 things to do in New Zealand.

 

    1. Swimming with dolphins in Akaroa

 

    1. Whale watch tours in Kaikoura

 

    1. Tucking into a Maori meal and cultural tour

 

    1. Partying up a storm in Wellington

 

    1. Heading to Hanmer Springs

 

    1. Taking a trip to Taupo

 

    1. Exploring Auckland – aka the ‘City of Sails’

 

    1. Thrills and spills in Queenstown

 

    1. Chilling out in Christchurch

 

  1. Catching the All Blacks in action

Red Bus Buys Akaroa Shuttle

Akaroa Shuttle is under new management! From 29th November the iconic daily shuttle service is now operated by Red Bus who are the major public transport operator in Christchurch. Marketing material will be refreshed.

At this stage the timetable and prices remains the same.

www.akaroashuttle.co.nz
Tel 0800 500 929