Akaroa has been one of my favorite places in NZ. Not far from Christchurch and based on a huge extinct caldera. The area is flooded with wildlife from penguins to Hector dolphins. On day 1 we arrived to find out our dolphin swim had been cancelled…what a surprise! So this left us to a chilled afternoon around the very pretty French settlement of Akaroa.
That night we stayed in Bon Accord Backpackers where we had a room in the garden… pretty much a summer house to sleep in, but was great. A friendly long-term group made for an enjoyable evening too.
The next day we started out Pohatu Penguins tour with a drive around Pohatu bay, seeing some great scenic views, before hiking down with a couple of stops at waterfalls to our farm stay for the night, completely on our own, with our own beach and bay! We celebrated by attempting a swim. As we were leaving the water, a seal popped up not far from where we were!
That evening we walked around to meet the tour guide to go penguin watching. As we were walking around, firstly a lamb ran towards me, then followed us… as we got further into the field more sheep and lambs came running towards us… I thought they were possessed, turns out it was just feeding time!
That evening we kitted up in some ammo gear and saw penguins in their nests and returning to the bay after feeding for the day and were provided a ton of information from a passionate guide.
As we were the only ones in a whole valley we had a bit of a restless night as we were scared someone would be outside… or a yeti! The next morning we went kayaking with a guide, just as enthusiastic about the protection of the wildlife and penguins as the previous day. We saw the Hector dolphins, seals, penguins, shags and so much more, it was a great sunny morning to finish the tour on!
We managed to rearrange out dolphin swim, the weather was lovely and there was a fishing trawler out which meant dolphins!! So we kitted ourselves in the thickest wet suits in the world and headed into the sea! And we swam with dolphins!! It was an amazing experience with a whole pod swimming around us whilst chasing the trawler. The dolphins were Hector dolphins, the smallest and rarest breed of saltwater dolphin in the world.