Undoubtedly the biggest highlights of tours and cruises with Black Cat are the diversity of marine wildlife our passengers get a chance to encounter.

Did you know that the Hector's Dolphins (the world's smallest and rarest) are an endemic species. Meaning they can only be found in and around the waters of New Zealand.

Did you also know that New Zealand has the most diverse range of coastal birdlife than any other country on this planet?

From the up-close and personal experience of swimming with Hector’s dolphins, to the native penguins, fur seals, occasional whales and a wide range of impressive sea birds, experiencing the natural beauty of New Zealand’s marine wildlife is always impressive.

On these pages we have shared some facts about this fascinating collection wildlife – from an in depth look at the rare, NZ native Hector’s dolphin, through to an overview of the sea birds most commonly seen around the Banks Peninsula harbours

We are proud to follow the Marine Mammal Protection Act 1978 and the Marine Mammal Protection Regulations 1992.
These ensure the marine mammals of New Zealand are protected and that their conservation is a top priority.
Our interactions with marine mammals adhere to all regulations and our conservation focused tours, educate and raise awareness.


This appealing little dolphin was named in honour of Sir James Hector (1834-1907) who examined the first specimen. Born in Scotland, Sir James Hector was the first director of the colonial museum...

New Zealand is one of the major seabird centres of the world.  Because of the country's extensive coastline and many inshore and offshore islands, it is possible for the keen observer to see...

Humpback and Southern Right Whales live off the Canterbury Coast and are occasionally seen on Black Cat tours. Sometimes we’re lucky enough to see a few of them during our Akaroa Harbour Nature...

New Zealand fur seals are common on the coasts to New Zealand’s South Island, and are often seen sunning themselves near Seal Bay on our Akaroa harbour cruises.

Visitors to New Zealand are often surprised by the penguins in Akaroa Harbour. While the area doesn't look much like the snowy tundra associated with penguin habitats, we do indeed have penguins!