The Hector’s dolphin is the smallest and rarest in the world…and we’ll arrange for you to see and swim with them on this one-of-a-kind extension. The two-day outing includes a leisurely chance to explore Christchurch. Out on the scenic Banks Peninsula, we’ll also visit a French-style vineyard and join our naturalist friend for an informed, up-close encounter with the dolphins in their home waters of Akaroa Bay. It’s an experience that’s nothing short of amazing!
Picture Yourself...
  • Winding your way through historic and charming streets of Christchurch
  • Walking past vineyards with views to the sea
  • Having lunch at a French Farm Winery
Itinerary at a glance
Founded in 1850, Christchurch was a planned Church of England settlement and is often called "the most English city outside England". While our guide tells us personal stories and historical anecdotes of the original settlers and local history, we wind our way through the historic and charming streets - past striking Gothic architecture, stone buildings, lush green parks and flower- filled gardens.

As on all Classic Journeys, the special nature of our visit allows us to see through the eyes of a local, who brings the history to life. We walk beside willow trees on the grassy banks of the Avon River, and even indulge in a wonderfully local custom—a chance to punt on the Avon. As we relax and enjoy a glass of bubbly in historic wooden boats, gliding along the river and propelled by our punter (oarsman), we often cross paths with the Christ College school boys in their black and white uniforms and straw boaters as they bicycle home from school. This evening we transfer to Akaroa.
A traditional English breakfast fortifies us for a fascinating exploration to the Banks Peninsula, just east of Christchurch. Along the way, we first skirt Lake Ellesmere, then wind around the bays of Akaroa Harbor onto the peninsula, formed by the eruption of two volcanoes. The craters make up the harbors of Akaroa and Lyttleton with smaller bays indenting the rest of the coastline.

Akaroa is one of the oldest European townships in Canterbury, settled by French immigrants in 1838. A scenic walk along the peninsula leads us past vineyards with views to the sea and flocks of sheep grazing on the rolling hills. Our walk culminates at the lavender lined fields of the traditional family- owned French Farm Winery for lunch and a tasting of their acclaimed chardonnay and pinot noir wines.

This afternoon we have the wonderful opportunity to swim with (or just watch, if you prefer) the world's smallest and rarest dolphins—the Hector's or New Zealand Dolphin. Our enthusiastic friend Christie and fellow resident naturalists provide us instruction on how to approach the dolphins, so we can concentrate on interacting with these special creatures in the crystal blue waters of Akaroa Bay. After our refreshing swim, we stop to enjoy a warm cup of hot chocolate before transferring back to Christchurch.
Dolphin Experience
2 Days / 2 Nights
Starting Point: Christchurch - 2:00 PM, lobby of the George Hotel

Ending Point: Christchurch - approx. 6:00 PM, lobby of the George Hotel

Let us create a special departure or itinerary just for you.
Guest Reviews
“Classic Journeys has turned out to be a fantastic company to travel with - one I highly recommend. I truly feel as if I have been on vacation this past week.”
Marcia B.

“Traveling with Classic Journeys is the ideal way to see and immerse oneself in the local atmosphere.”
Nancy R.

“Classic Journeys excels in providing exceptional guides familiar with the local area.”
Bert and Jo Ann E.

“I have never been disappointed with the Classic Journeys guides. I continue to be impressed.”
Susan L., Mystic, CT

Dolphin Experience
2 Days / 2 Nights

We are running this trip privately for individual groups this year. If you would like us to organize a private trip for you, your family or friends, please call or email us to discuss your details.
Dolphin Experience
2 Days / 2 Nights
New Zealand’s seasons are the reverse of the Northern Hemisphere. The South Island normally has a temperate climate. The temperature is generally very comfortable. In the summer (our winter) during our trips, the region does not have very significant temperature extremes. However it can be cool in the morning as well as the evening. Rain is always a possibility. It is a good idea to prepare for the chance of chilly weather by packing some warm layers.

Beaufort House Akaroa

Built as a private home in the 19th century, this gracefully restored residence sits amid beautiful flower gardens. Furnished in classic English style, each of the unique rooms offers creature comforts such as pillow-top beds.

The George Christchurch

A member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the Wold, The George tops the list of Christchurch hotels. The stylish interior flows out to a generous outdoor area with fire tables. The rooms are designed with luxury amentities and the is service impeccable.

Dolphin Experience
2 Days / 2 Nights