akaroa dolphins

What makes Banks Peninsula so special? Why visit? Why take time out of our busy lives to escape to this unique destination?

Our number 1 answer to these questions is simple really; We are the Home Of The Hector’s.

akaroa dolphins
Hector’s dolphins Photographed on Black Cat Cruises Akaroa Nature Cruise

New Zealand is a land full or rich culture, history, wildlife, landscapes and environments, and we have a special story to tell from where we, at Black Cat Cruises, live, work and play.

Hector’s dolphins are the world’s rarest and smallest dolphin. We head out in search of the world’s smallest dolphin that inhabits the worlds largest ocean. Reaching just 1.2m in length on average, and with their grey bodies, white tummies and rounded black ‘mickey mouse’ dorsal fin, they truly are iconic to New Zealand. Our ‘kiwi of the sea‘ as we like to call them!

A pod of Hector’s dolphins. Distinct in size, colour and shape.

They are endemic to New Zealand, meaning you will not find them anywhere else in the world. The only place you can encounter these magnificent marine mammals on any day of the year, is right here in our big beautiful blue back yard on Banks Peninsula. Pretty special right?

Yes, Hector’s dolphins appear around the South Island in NZ but in very small numbers. Banks Peninsula is the Home Of The Hector’s, where the majority of the population (around 1-2000) choose to inhabit. This means we encounter them on 98% of all our trips. Another reason to head over (!)

Akaroa harbour is the only harbour in the world that you can encounter dolphin’s every single day, and these are not just any dolphins – they are our New Zealand Hector’s dolphin!

Black Cat Cruises at Scenery Nook, just outside of the Akaroa heads on Banks Peninsula

And did you know that Akaroa harbour was created millions of years ago, and is now an extinct volcanic crater. So both the wildlife and the setting are second to none.

Imagine cruising along the jewel blue waters of Akaroa harbour as the sun hits your face, a breeze brushes your cheek, being surrounded by majestic volcanic cliffs, whilst you watch wild Hector’s dolphins playfully swim up to and around you.

You may also encounter New Zealand fur seals, Little Blue, Yellow Eyed or White Flippered penguins, Albatross and more – even Orca and Humpback whales on the rare occasion.

Whilst we get to see the Hector’s dolphins in Akaroa harbour on a daily basis they also happen to be an endangered species. Again, another reason, and a very important one at that, why this Home Of The Hector’s is so very special and must be protected.

A Hector’s dolphin surfaces in Akaroa Harbour

Since Black Cat Cruises was founded back in 1985 by the Bingham family we have and still do advocate for the safety and protection of the Hector’s dolphins. If you’ve read any of our previous blogs you’ll know how (spearheaded by second generation Paul Bingham) we have championed hard for changes to New Zealand’s Threat Management Plan which was reviewed earlier this year. A once in twenty years opportunity. Whilst the government took some steps forward which we are so thankful for, there is still much to be done to protect this endangered species. So will we continue to advocate on their behalf for their protection and for the generations that will follow. You can find out more on our dedicated webpage Protect the Hectors.

So if you’re curious to find out more about us and the experiences we offer in the Home of The Hector’s, check out our website, follow us on social media, or pick up the phone and give us a call!

You can also purchase Gift Vouchers. Delivered straight to your inbox and valid for one year.

You can encounter the Hector’s dolphins with us at Black Cat Cruises either on an Akaroa Nature Cruise or Swimming With Dolphins experience. Both offer a dolphin guarantee.

Akaroa itself ticks all the boxes; with it’s rich French and Maori history and culture, abundant wildlife, geological environment and breathtaking landscapes, we encourage you to see for yourself and visit, the Home Of The Hector’s…

Visit us: Main wharf, Akaroa

Email us: akaroa@blackcat.co.nz

Call us: 0800 436 574

Follow us: @blackcatcruises

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