Drive/Fly Day Safari with Nature Cruise

A custom designed safari-style day tour with nature cruise. Our guests requested a totally private trip to experience the scenery and nature of Akaroa and Banks Peninsula. For them, as well as the high scenic drive and guided walks, we arranged a private guided nature harbour cruise and an exclusive, private scenic helicopter flight back to their Christchurch accommodation.

  • Tour Location
    South Island, NZ
  • Tour Type
    Nature, Scenic
  • Tour Activities
  • Activity Level Easy
    3/10
  • Group Size Small Group
    2
Drive/Fly Day Safari with Nature Cruise Overview

On this incredible day, you will travel via a high back country road over the dramatic and gorgeous Banks Peninsula (Te Pataka o Rakaihautu) to Akaroa. An exquisite café lunch is then followed by a nature harbor cruise where there is a great chance of sighting one of the world’s smallest ocean going dolphins – the Hector’s Dolphin. At the end of your day, your guide will transfer you to your private helicopter flight which will take you across the harbour and peninsula back to Otahuna Lodge.

The peninsula was formed by two giant volcanic eruptions millions of years ago, and harbours and bays radiate out from the peninsula’s centre, giving it an unusual cogwheel shape. Sighted by Captain Cook in 1770, the Peninsula was then inhabited by Maori.

In 1840 French settlers arrived at Akaroa, which had just been claimed under the Treaty of Waitangi by the English. Akaroa (Long Harbour in Maori) is the oldest colonial town in South Island and is famed as New Zealand’s sole French Settlement. This historic town is a highlight and descendants of the original French pioneers still reside here. The harbour was a safe haven for early whalers and sealers working in the wild southern ocean beyond its striking headlands.

Akaroa is a charming town that strives to recreate the feel of a French provincial village, down to the names of its streets and houses. It is a place to unwind, to wander and soak up times past. Explore the village streets on foot. A charming cottage, a picturesque church or an intriguing artefact will delight you at every turn.

Highlights of your day…

  • Travel over the beautiful Banks Peninsula to Akaroa via a high backroad summit route. This absurdly beautiful drive around the edge of one of the original craters gives glorious views of the Canterbury Plains, the distant Southern Alps, the remote bays and farmlands and of Akaroa Harbour which nurses Akaroa village.
  • Your nature / harbour eco-cruise is packed with highlights including the rare, NZ native dolphin – the Hector’s Dolphin, as well as penguins and other sea birds. You’ll also see giant volcanic sea cliffs and hear about Akaroa’s fascinating past.
  • Enjoy the quaint colonial style architecture and wander around the old charming French harbourside village of Akaroa with its museum of settlers’ history, art and craft shops and studios.
  • At the end of the day, delight in a private helicopter flight back to Otahuna Lodge with magnificent views of the harbour, the volcanic craters of Akaroa and Lyttelton Harbour and Christchurch city.

The beautiful harbour dominates the landscape and its sparkling waters and the waters around Banks Peninsula are home to Hector’s dolphin, found only in NZ waters. Also found in these waters are NZ fur seals, little blue penguins, orcas and a myriad of bird life.

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of the tour.
  • Travel by deluxe 4WD minicoach
  • Fully guided and escorted with informative commentary
  • High scenic drive with spectacular views
  • Delicious picnic morning tea
  • Cafe lunch in Akaroa
  • Eco-marine Harbour Cruise
  • Private helicopter flight from Akaroa returning to Christchurch
  • Depart Otahuna Lodge at 9.00am and return approximately 5.00pm