Cruise Ships

As the main port of call for the Canterbury region, Akaroa Harbour is the port for a number of cruise ships every October – April. Download this season’s schedule here.

Akaroa - Voted Australasia's Best Cruise Destination 2017

Akaroa - Voted Australasia's Best Cruise Destination 2017

Akaroa was named Best Cruise Destination in Australia and New Zealand in the Cruise Critics award for 2017.

Akaroa was named Best Cruise Destination in Australia and New Zealand in the Cruise Critics award for 2017. 

Akaroa has been named New Zealand and Australia’s top cruise destination in the annual Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice Awards.
The honour sees Akaroa voted ahead of all other New Zealand and Australian cruise destinations for the October 2016-April 2017 season in the review-rating based awards. Last year’s inaugural Cruisers Choice Awards’ top three were Sydney, Tauranga and Auckland, ahead of Akaroa in fourth. Cruise Critic, TripAdvisor’s cruise site, is the world’s largest online cruise review and planning resource. 

Port of Akaroa: An Overview
Sailing up the strait into the Port of Akaroa in New Zealand is a not-to-be-missed experience, with green towering hills topped with craggy rock from a long extinct volcano. It reminded us of a smaller version of the Norwegian Fjords -- simply stunning.

Akaroa is a Maori word that means 'long harbour'. The tiny town is a former French settlement that oozes Gallic charm, from its French street names to its pretty painted timber cottages that house an abundance of galleries, local crafts, coffee shops and restaurants.

Home to about 700 locals, Akaroa blossoms to a bustling 1,500 over the summer season.

There is something to suit all the family. Swimming with dolphins, sailing, fabulous nature walks, penguin encounters, motorbike tours and historical walks are just a few of the activities on offer.

If you are not one for tours just enjoy the quaint village, as you can happily explore Akaroa for an hour or so. Once that's done you are free to grab a coffee or glass of local wine, sit back and take in the picture-perfect vista of sparking harbour waters surrounded by green rolling hills.

To Cruise Critic

Read more

Tours & Transport for Cruise Ship Passengers


Tours & Transport for Cruise Ship Passengers

On Arrival in Akaroa:

You arrive off the ship tenders onto the main wharf. You then walk up the wharf where you come across the Akaroa i-Site - Akaroa Adventure Centre Cruise Information Cabin kiosk. It is a small kiosk on the right. The friendly staff offer a FREE booking service for ALL the tour products for the day and provide a FREE and comprehensive information service.  Phone 03 304 7784. To email go HERE.

Once you are on the main wharf in Akaroa you are in the Akaroa township. You are at the southern end of the town ship. From there it is a 15 minute walk to the northern end of the town. The beach is on the middle. 

Akaroa maps will be handed out to all passengers on arrival in Akaroa. 

To view the Cruise Ship arrival video click HERE. 

For any Tours and Activities click here: Activities & Nature 

To view Boat Tours click here  Activities & Nature 

To view more information regarding Tours and Transport click on the plus tab 

Tours & Transport Available for Cruise Ship Passengers:

This information is about Vehicle & Transport Tours

Buses to Christchurch:

Akaroa French Connection. Christchurch & Banks Peninsula Tour:
$70.00 per person return. $40.00 Children. Departs from main wharf at 10.30am.
Travel by luxury coach via the Scenic Summit road with stunning views of Akaroa Harbour, Lyttelton Harbour and Christchurch City. Experience local history surrounding Banks Peninsula which is home to two extinct volcanoes with informative commentary from your driver. Stunning views of Christchurch and the Canterbury Plains, Botanical Gardens, Canterbury Museum and the Container Shopping Mall. Returns into Akaroa by 4.30pm. Book by clicking HERE or book & pay directly at the main wharf when you arrive in Akaroa.

Local Sightseeing Tours:

Akaroa French Connection. 2 Hour Local Sightseeing Tour:
$40.00 per person return. $20.00 Children. Departs from main wharf at 11.30am. Returns at 1.30pm. Travel by coach for panoramic views of the Akaroa Harbour and the local bays including Duvauchelle, Barry’s Bay, Robinsons Bay and Takamatua. We visit the Barry's Bay Cheese Factory where you can sample some fabulous award winning cheeses. Then we make our way up to the Historic Hill Top Tavern with more photo opportunities and refreshments. Learn Akaroa’s local history and how the Akaroa harbour and surrounding Banks Peninsula were home to 2 extinct volcanoes with informative commentary from your driver. Book by clicking HERE or book & pay directly at the main wharf when you arrive in Akaroa.

Eastern Bays Scenic Mail Run:
Experience the magnificent natural beauty and isolation of the Eastern bays, valleys and coastline. Travel 120km, weaving in and out of 10 bays from sea level to the crater rim delivering mail to farms and settlements. 5 days a week (Mon- Fri) 5 hour tours. 9am departure. Tours operate all year round and are $80 per person. For reservations please phone the Akaroa i-SITE/Akaroa Adventure Centre on 03 304 7784. Email: or Book DIRECT. On cruise ship days ALL passengers meet the red mail van at the Akaroa Main Wharf for pick up at 9am. On cruise ship days this is a very popular tour so book early. This is a scheduled service and we guarantee that passengers will be back in Akaroa with plenty of time to check out the town before departure. Web listing HERE.

Tour South Fully Escorted Tours:
Quick-fire Akaroa & Bays 3 hour tour – 1st tour leaving @ 10:00 am – returning @ 1:00 pm, second tour leaving @ 1:30 pm returning @ 4:30 pm. - Cost $70 p.p. Children aged 4-14 $50.00. p.p.  Email:  Robinsons Bay Lookout Point, Okains Bay Beach, Little Akaloa Church, Summit Road, Hill Top Look Out, Tikao Bay Ship Lookout. Book now or on at Main Wharf on arrival into Akaroa.  

Vintage Car Tours:
Unleash the charm and beauty of Akaroa by enjoying a memorable ride in an open vintage car for up to four passengers. The village is acclaimed to have one of the best seascapes in the world. On tour is a stunning wide-angle view of the harbour at height, a must for best photos. Comment from Rod & Maria, Bundaberg, Queensland, “Without a doubt your tour in the open Ford Tourer around Akaroa was the highlight of our recent trip to New Zealand”. Half-hour Tour at $70 N.Z. (GST incl) for 2 people, additional passengers $15 each. (Australian and U.S. currency accepted.) Longer tours by arrangement. Jack Porter is available from the end of the main wharf on all cruise ship days, even rainy ones as he now has a closed car as well. 

V8 Trikes:
Experience the thrill and exhilaration of a ride on our V8-powered trike. Our trike is classed as a "car" in NZ, so you'll have the added peace of mind of a seatbelt, but you won't need a helmet – giving you uninterrupted views of Akaroa's breathtaking panoramic vistas. Whether it's a short blast or a longer drive along Akaroa's famous Summit Road, from just $49pp we've got you covered. And there's always time for photos. Let V8 Trikes make your visit to Akaroa truly memorable! Operating from the Akaroa Main wharf taxi stand on cruise ship days. Website:  Email: , Faceboook: HERE. Mobile: +64 21 985 306. Marty. 

Adventure Motorcycle Hire: 
Half and full day adventure motorcycle tours. We take out the hassle and come to you with all the gear ready to ride away from the wharf.  Let us take you straight out onto the less travelled sealed and unsealed roads on a late model Suzuki DR650 and see the sights only you and your few tour mates will experience.  Tours are 3-4 hours and you have a choice of Akaroa Heads, Northern Bays or Southern Bays routes. If you want a full day select both a morning and afternoon tour, and we will also provide you a classic kiwi fish’n’chips lunch.  Want to go somewhere else altogether?  We are happy to take you anywhere you wish to go, get in touch with your wish list. Tours are $NZ290.00 incl GST all inclusive per rider.  Pillions can also be catered for at $NZ75.00 each, however if selecting this option we recommend sealed roads only, the rider be very experienced and the rider/pillion combination be under 150kg. For more info see the web site. 

Akaroa Tours & Charters LTD
Akaroa Tours & Charters invite you to take one of their tours of Akaroa and Banks Peninsula. You will be escorted by local and experienced Hosts John and Noeline. The tours take in the sights of beautiful Akaroa, which was voted by Cruisecritic 2017 best cruise destination for Australia & New Zealand. Choose a 2 – 3 hour tour scheduled either morning or afternoon or customise your personalised VIP tour. The tours visit the Okains Bay Maori & Colonial Museum and the Historical Maori settlement on the Onawe Peninsula as well as the bays of the Akaroa Harbour. Stops for light refreshments and photo opportunities.  Phone John +64 210 854 8185 or Noeline +64 221 607 741. Booking page: HERE. 

Call Jeeves Local Tours:
Volcanic Peninsula and Bays Day Tour. Summit Road to Okains Bay, Little Akaloa, Hill Top, Options of visit to Sheep or Alpaca Farm, Maori Museum, Little River, wine tasting at French Peak. Full day tour. Private Tour luxury Mercedes Benz mini-coach $750.00, max of 6 persons. Leaving 10am-10.30am and back at 4pm-4.30pm.  Prebook by emailing HERE. Or see us on the wharf on arrival in Akaroa. For a detailed list of the cruise tours go HERE. 

Independent Tour Operators to Christchurch:

Canterbury Leisure Tours:
Full day tours. All tours leave at 10.30am and back into Akaroa at 4.30pm. Canterbury Leisure Tours has over 20 years experience in offering high quality tours and activities to International Visitors. All tours guarantee to get you back to the ship in time. Tours offered: CLT65CS Banks Peninsula Christchurch City Sights Tour. Duration 6.5 hours. Cost $85, $45 children. CLT66CS Banks Peninsula Christchurch City Sights (central city only) with International Antarctic Centre. Duration 6.5 hours. Cost $145, $80 children. CLT66ACS Banks Peninsula Christchurch City Sights (central city only) with Willowbank Wildlife Tour. Duration 6.5 hours. Cost $140, $75 Children. CLT67CS Banks Peninsula Christchurch City Sights (central city only) with sheep farm tour. Duration 6.5 hours Cost $150, $80 Children. CLT68CS Banks Peninsula Christchurch City Sights (central city only) with Jet Boating on the Lower Waimak. Duration 6.5 hours. Cost $175, $90 Children. Ph: +64-3-384-0999 Fax: +64-3-384-0996, FREE PHONE 0800 484 485 Web: Click HERE.

Canterbury Trails -  'Gourmet Tour':
Specialising in small group guided tours for over 19 years Canterbury Trails offers a day trip to Akaroa from Christchurch.  We also offer cruise ship tours from Akaroa wharf which visit a number of Canterbury wineries, Christchurch city sights and scenic drive over Banks Peninsula.  Full details of all our tours can be found on our web site - Email or contact Irene on 03 384 6148 or 021 384 614. Or Book HERE. 

Call Jeeves:
Call Jeeves Tours specialise in bespoke (tailor-made) tours using a range of small luxury high class vehicles complete with driver/tour guide services. Our tours do not run to a restricted itinerary. Our friendly and flexible range of tour options are available at a number of New Zealand ports and are ideal for small or larger groups. Our vehicle and driver may be exclusively yours for the entire duration of your tour. Call Jeeves Tours are very experienced and established operators in providing private small group tours from the sea-side holiday resort village of Akaroa, and from the ports of both Lyttelton and Timaru over the summer cruise ship season. Throughout your tour you will be accompanied by our experienced driver/guide to ensure a memorable day. All vehicles are fully licensed Passenger Service Vehicles with the drivers being an approved holder of a Passenger Service Licence. Prebook by emailing HERE. Or see us on the wharf on arrival in Akaroa. For a detailed list of the cruise tours go HERE. Web site HERE.

Discovery Travel:
We are a boutique tourism business specializing in private fully-guided tours, for just you and your travelling companions.   Let us tailor-make a tour with just you in mind.  Come and experience the beauty, history and scenery that make our region unique.  We have an extensive selection of options available for you to experience in Christchurch  - the International Antarctic Centre; New Zealand's national icon, 'The Kiwi' at Willowbank Wildlife Reserve; delicious wine and cheese tasting; Airforce Museum; farm tours; punting on the Avon River; Botanic Gardens and the Canterbury Museum; jet boating and more. We have a range of modern fully air-conditioned vehicles available and we can cater for any number of people. Why join 40 others, when you can enjoy an affordable private excursion. Tel +64 275578262 262 Email:  Website:  or direct to cruise shore excursion page Click Here.

English and Spanish Driver Guide - Chofer Guia en español.
Visitas totalmente guiadas desde Akaroa, que le permiten experimentar la belleza, la historia y el paisaje que hacen que nuestra región sea única.
Excursión de un día a los pasajeros de cruceros a Christchurch
Pintoresco Balneario Sumner: visite el pintoresco pueblo costero de Sumner, aquí tendrá tiempo para explorar la playa mientras disfruta de las hermosas vistas del mar hacia los Alpes del Sur.
Port Hills / mirador de Takahe: suba por Port Hills para ver Takahe y disfrutar de impresionantes vistas de la ciudad de Christchurch, las llanuras de Canterbury y los Alpes del Sur.
Centro de la ciudad: paseando por los jardines botánicos, el río Avon, la galería de arte, la catedral de Christchurch y la catedral de cartón  Email: or phone 0211864133

ES Tours: 
Join Dermot (or local guide Nick) on a small, personal, friendly tour...max 11...$110NZD p.p. with others...or a flexible PRIVATE HIRE for your group. E S Tours is highly rated on Trip Advisor (Bravo Award 2016....26/26 5* reviews)....owner/operator with over 20 years experience. Christchurch/Akaroa/Banks Peninsula Tour (6 hours) is our cruise ship specialty with scenery (volcanic rim, Canterbury Plains, Lyttelton Harbour Summit Road in good weather). Detailed commentary on volcanoes, local/NZ history and earthquakes (Christchurch rebuild tour included). Our Ford Transit Minibus has air con. and a clear PA. To book email Dermot on or go to the web site: HERE.

Tour South Fully Escorted Tours:
2. Premier Share Tour – Akaroa & Christchurch – Six hour tour leaving @ 10:00 am approx. – returning @ 4:00 pm – Cost $110.00 p.p. Children aged 4-14 70.00 p.p. 
3. Elite Private Hire Tour – Six hour tours to suit – Exclusive private use of an appropriately  sized vehicle and driver for a full day tour = 1 to 5 Pax. = $650 – 6 to 11 Pax. = $950. 
Let our Tour South team of vastly experienced driver/guides take you on a fully escorted tour of Akaroa, Christchurch or the wider Banks Peninsula area, to discover some of the dramatic scenery and fascinating history of this very special part of New Zealand.  Email: Book now or on at Main Wharf on arrival into Akaroa.

Garden City Helicopters Scenic Flights & Adventure Tours:
A helicopter flight from Akaroa to Christchurch takes just 15 minutes! Quick and convenient, leaving you more time to explore Christchurch City and attractions but also offering an incredible scenic flight over Banks Peninsula and the City itself.  Our pilots are some of the most highly skilled and experienced in the country but are also excellent narrators and will entertain and inform you with commentary along the way.  Other options include flights to Mt Cook, Heli-jetboating, heli-golf packages or why not fly to an award winning  winery, and experience NZ’s finest superb cuisine and wines. Email or phone 03 358 4360 or 0800 359 424 for more info. TO BOOK or book at Main Wharf on arrival into Akaroa. 

Rental Cars: 

Outclass Self Drive Tours:
Treat yourself to a luxury self-drive tour while in Akaroa, tailored exclusively for cruise ship passengers like you. Hire one of our classic cars, drive yourself around Canterbury and experience the sights, shops, food and culture all at your own pace. Our full day (up to 7 hours) tours offer a great variety of GPS coordinated destinations, hand-picked for varying interests and travel types; shopaholic, arts & culture enthusiast, foodie, nature lover and sightseeing fanatic. Much more personal than a coach tour and you can visit what you wish, when you like, for as long as you like. Pickup from 8:00am from the convenience of Akaroa Wharf and drop off up until 6:00pm. Email: or phone 0800 OUTCLASS (0800 68825277). Web page HERE. 

Animal/Farm Tours:

Alpaca Farm Tour Akaroa
“Alpaca heaven on earth” - tripadvisor. Alpacas are beautiful and mysterious animals with a long and fascinating history.  Frank and Anya, who own over 130 alpacas, will share this story and their experience with you. After an interactive presentation you will have the opportunity to handle alpacas and appreciate the unique qualities of their amazing ultra fine fleece. Walk an alpaca among our herd while these majestic animals graze with their young, then feed them by hand.  The memorable views over Akaroa harbour are breathtaking. Afterwards, browse the Alpaca Shop where a selection of luxurious, dye-free alpaca knitwear exclusive to Shamarra is for sale and beverages and home baked cookies are served. Tours:  Pickup from the Main Wharf Akaroa at 11.30am returning 1.30pm -   Price: $50 per adult/$30 per child. Bookings essential.  (03) 304 5141 or 

Akaroa Farm Tour:
Tours 10am & 1.30pm. Duration 2.45hrs. Min 6. Visit unique Paua Bay Farm. Sheep Shearing, working dogs & family history. $85 adults. $60 children (5-12 yrs). Tickets available at Info Centre & Wharf cabin. Pick up at Wharf & Info Centre. Book by emailing or book and pay at the main wharf when you arrive in Akaroa.

Pohatu Penguin Tour:
Pohatu penguin colony is the largest Little Penguin colony on mainland New Zealand.
2 hour tour will take you on one of the most scenic roads on Banks Peninsula to beautiful Pohatu Bay where you will be guided into the penguin colony to view Penguins. Your hosts are 4 time winners of conservation awards for protection of penguins and other biodiversity and are Department of conservation approved operators.  Prices: $65 Adult, $35 child. Tours depart at 11am & return at 1pm, and again at 1.30 returning into Akaroa at 3.30pm. 
4 hour tour: Full Scenic nature safari or 4 hour Scenic Nature tour by 4 WD mini-van. You will take part in our monitoring program of nesting sites allowing you see penguins up close and in season chicks. Pohatu/Flea bay is a working sheep and cattle farm, so sheep to feed by hand and to photograph. Complimentary drinks and muffins or cake are provided at the bay. Great for the keen birdwatcher or photographer. This 4 hour tour runs from 12.00 pm to 4.00 pm. $105 per person. $65 child under 15 years. 
Book by emailing or book and pay at the main wharf when you arrive in Akaroa. 

Akaroa Seal Colony Safari
Enjoy this nature experience to visit the New Zealand Fur Seals on a small group tour. Your local guide has more than 20 years experience. Beginning in Akaroa your guide will pick you up and take you on a unique journey up over the rim of an extinct volcano, past spectacular farmland and ocean views, and down eastern slopes to the Pacific Ocean. There, at the foot of one-hundred-metre cliffs, you will encounter an adorable colony of New Zealand Fur Seals, swimming and sun bathing amongst 8-million-year-old volcanic deposits. Safaris run at 9:30am and 1:00pm and take between 2.5 to 3 hours. To book:, +64(0)33047255 or +64(0)27494 2070 or go direct to the web page: HERE. 

Photo Tours:

PHOTO TOURS by Maja Moritz Photography
Individually realising the best possible tour meeting your interests with as many stops as you want for photo opportunities. Enjoy professional tips and advice for better images! Receive a fun one-on-one tuition while you are indulging in the magnificent scenery and views. Discover - See - Experience. Upskill included. We take you through the breathtaking landscape of the Banks Peninsula (Half Day Tours of 3 or 4 hours) and also for a look around in Christchurch (Full Day Tours of 5 or 6 hours). Delight in an exclusive tour experience in a Land Rover Discovery Sport with max 4 passengers. Email: Phone 027 4210424, Web site: HERE. Web Site Listing HERE. 


Akaroa Golf Course:
Fantastic Scenic 9 or 18 hole course. Book with Information Centre team on the main wharf on arrival or pre-book directly with Akaroa Golf Club. Cruise Ship Packages: Walking Package- $95.00 NZD per person, Includes:-Meet & Greet at designated time on Akaroa Wharf, Return transfers from Akaroa Wharf to Golf Course, Course information briefing & equipment set-up, Clubs, Balls, Tees, Trundler Trolley, Pick-up and return to Akaroa Wharf at designated time. Ride on Cart Package- $130.00 NZD per person, OR $220 NZD per couple, Limited number of carts available, bookings essential, Includes:– Meet & Greet at designated time on Akaroa Wharf, Return transfers from Akaroa Wharf to Golf Course, Course information briefing & equipment set-up, Clubs, Balls & Tees, Ride on Cart, Pick-up and return to Akaroa Wharf at designated time. MORE INFO HERE.

Local Wine Tour: 

Akaroa Unique Vineyard Tour: 
One Hour Meniscus Winery Tour. Enjoy a visit to the stunning winery in Akaroa. Pick up from the Main Wharf and brought to the vineyard. Email David to book for this. $40pp. Children also $40. From 10am. Min: 2, Max: 5.  

Banks Peninsula Wine Tour:
Spend an afternoon ‘A la French’. What a better place to taste wine and cheese than in the most French village of New Zealand! Explore Akaroa harbour and visit our local award winning vineyards. Learn about our French history and the geology of the area creating unique wines. Taste some of our local cheeses; you drink, we drive; and as we go it makes for an afternoon delight. 1.30pm to 4pm. Price: $115 per adult. info@bankspeninsulawinetour Phone number: 021 082 68 911. Book HERE or at Main Wharf on arrival. 

Akaroa Winery Tour: 
Akaroa Winery situated in Takamatua valley overlooks the beautiful local harbour. Akaroa Winery is Akaroa's first and only certified Organic Vineyard and Winery Estate. Tour the vineyard and modern wine making facility. Taste some of the many wine vintages available while touring the amazing grounds and see the "dirt to bottle" experience first hand. Complimentary Shuttle Service available. Open daily 11am to 4pm. Private Tours and Tastings can be made by appointment. Contact Allan for more information on 03 304 8990 

Hop on-Hop off Bus Around Akaroa:

Akaroa All day Hop on-Hop off Shuttle: 
The $15 hop on hop off bus runs every 25 minutes, stops at main wharf, lighthouse, museum, recreation ground, Giants House. $15 per person for an all day ticket. 

Read more

FAQ for Akaroa Port

FAQ for Akaroa Port

Have a question about your arrival in Akaroa or about picking up passengers? Go here.

FAQ-Frequently Asked Questions
Akaroa CRUISE Port

Q. We have friends arriving in Akaroa by cruise. Where should we arrange to meet them and where is the best place to park?

A. Arrange to meet them by the cannon at the start of the main wharf. Park behind the Akaroa Village Inn, or anywhere you can find a park behind there.
Note there is a Traffic Management plan in place for the wharf area.

Q. What is the process when I arrive on the wharf in Akaroa?

A. You arrive off the ship tenders onto the main wharf. You then walk up the wharf where you come across the Akaroa i-Site - Akaroa Adventure Centre Cruise Information Cabin kiosk. It is a small kiosk on the right. The friendly staff offer a FREE booking service for ALL the tour products for the day and provide a FREE and comprehensive information service. 

Q. We will be arriving in Akaroa by Cruise Ship. Would you please tell me what options I have to get from the cruise terminal to the downtown/sites of Akaroa? 

A. Once you are on the main wharf in Akaroa you are in the Akaroa town. You are at the southern end of the town ship. From there it is a 15 minute walk to the northern end of the town. The beach is on the middle.

Q. What is the length of the pier in Akaroa?  My husband uses a cane and it would be helpful to know the length of his walk.

A. The length of the Akaroa wharf is approx. 100 metres. It is a historic wooden wharf and it has raised wooden parts where vehicles drive over it. So take care, it is uneven.

Q. I will visit Akaroa by cruise and I would like to visit many places of interest while visiting Christchurch on the same day.  The cruise will arrive Akaroa at 8 a.m. and leave at 6 p.m. May I have your advice on whether I can rent a car (self-drive) or if there is any shuttle bus or public transportation that I can travel on that day to fit my schedule? 

A. It is possible to rent a car in Akaroa so you have the freedom to go where you want. 
Buses or small tours are a cheaper option and there are many tours and transport options available. Also the drivers have good local knowledge.
All the options are listed on this page here: 

If you see a tour that fits what you want to do, then you can book it advance, otherwise a self-drive car would be a good option.

Q. What are the arrival and departure times of the cruise ships?

 A. The rules of Akaroa harbour are the ships cannot arrive into the harbour before sunrise and they must leave the harbour before sunset. So depending on day light saving hours, this can vary slightly over the summer. Usually they anchor between 7am and depart at approx. 7pm.
If there are weather conditions that may cause them concern, then they can leave earlier.

The first passengers (mostly the ones that have booked on the shore excursions) arrive on the wharf at approx. 7.30am-8am and usually the last tender leaves Akaroa Wharf at 5.30-6pm. 

Q. What is the timetable of the tenders from the wharf back to the cruise ship? We have to be onboard by 07.00PM.

A. The tender boats are the small boats that shuttle passengers (approx. 100 per boat) backwards and forwards all day from the ship to the main Akaroa wharf. It is a 20 minute ride. They usually start at 7.30am and finish at 6pm but this can vary depending on the ship and the weather. Most people go back across to the ship at 4.30pm-5pm. The last buses are usually back on the wharf by 5.30pm. 

Q.  I'm interested in booking a bus for 4 adults from Akaroa to Christchurch. Looking at the 9.30 bus. Can we book on the day or better in advance?

A. There is usually plenty of spaces on the buses and booking on the wharf on arrival is fine. And sometimes is better because if your ship doesn’t make it in because of weather etc. then you don’t have the hassle of trying to get a refund. Also because they let the Shore Excursion passengers off first, sometimes the independents struggle to get off by 9.30am. A 10.30am bus to Christchurch is fine too and avoids the stress of trying to get on shore in time when you are pre booked.
Of course you can pre book, but my advice would be to just wait on the day and book on the wharf on arrival.
If you are booking a tour with a small private operator, then that is different, and my advice would be to book in advance. The 10.30am Cityline tour to Christchurch has plenty of spaces usually and can be booked on the wharf on arrival.

Q. Thank you for our information on  We are interested in transportation only from the cruise ship pier to Christchurch.  Where would we be dropped off in Christchurch?  Friends who live there will pick us up.

A. If you buy a ticket to Christchurch off the wharf, this is where the buses drop you off. In front of the Canterbury Museum, right in the centre of Christchurch.

Q. My family will arrive Akaroa via Norwegian cruise. The departure time is 5pm. We planned to visit Christchurch by buses. However both French Connection and Akaroa shuttle will be back to Akaroa at 4:30pm.  Do we have enough time to go back to ship as the tender will take about 20 minutes? Do you know what time the last tender boat is?

The last tender leaves at different times every cruise day and every ship. We usually find out on the day and the last tender time is posted on a sign on the wharf. These buses mentioned are tailor made buses for the cruise ships, and if they hear that the ship is leaving earlier, they will have an earlier departure. You don’t have to worry about getting back in time, as you will get back in time. 


Read more