How long does it take me to drive to Akaroa?
  • Allow 1.5 hours from Christchurch. Last 50 minutes into Akaroa is on a well-maintaned, but hilly and windy road.
What are the cooking facilities like?
  • Fully equipped communal kitchen with 2 electric cooking ranges with stoves and ovens, refridgerator, microwave, kettle, toaster, running water, cutlery, pots and pans, etc.
  • A communal BBQ with 2 hot plates, a grill and a side burner
Is kayaking suitable for children?
  • It depends.
  • We arrange the trip depending on the aptitude of each clients’ ability.
  • Typically, we prefer children 11 years of age or older.
  • All clients are placed in sturdy double kayaks, if you have children, one adult must accompany the child.
  • No experience necessary.
Can I join the Full Scenic Nature Safari or the Sea-kayaking Safari if I come on a shuttle or bus?
  • Of course! We often run trips with clients needing to board the 4:00pm bus or cruise departure.
  • Tell your guide at the start of your tour of your time restraints and we will ensure that you’re back on time!
Where can I leave my car?
  • Akaroa is very safe village with free overnight parking. You may leave your vehicle next to our office or, if you prefer, at a private property that we may shuttle you to and from at no additional cost.
Can I drive myself to where the penguins are?
  • You can do either a self-drive tour option or drive to the bay on your own. You must have a 4WD as the road to Flea Bay is a steep, narrow, windy, gravel road.

If I can drive myself for free; then why book a tour?

  • Although, you may access the bay you will not see the penguins as all of the conservation work and main colony is within private property. In addition, camping is not allowed nor may you be within the area during or after sunset.
How many penguins will I be able to see?
  • If we operate Evening Penguin Tours that is because there are penguins in the area in which you will be guaranteed to at least see them in their nesting sites. During the breeding season there is a very high chance of seeing penguins coming ashore. Please refer to the Evening Penguin Tour probability table for more information.
  • PLEASE NOTE: The Nature Tours will continue to run when penguins are not in the area as these tours offer additional sites and wildlife.
When is the best time to see penguins?
The best time for penguin viewing is the breeding season between end of August to December. You can see moulting adults in January and February, but starting the end of February through early April we do NOT have penguins. There are also some windows of excellent viewing opportunities from mid April to September when the birds return periodically from sea.
Please get in touch if you would like to find out what is happening in the colony or visit the table mentioned above.
I know that the Evening Penguin Safari departure time depends on sunset but what is the approximate departure time?
  • Typically we depart 2.5 hours before sunset. This will vary depending on the time of year. See below for departure time ranges.

These times are rough estimates. Please call ahead to confirm departure time.

January 7.30 - 7.00pm   July 3.00pm
February 7.00 - 6.15pm   August 3.30 - 4.00pm
March No tours   September 4.00 - 4.30pm
April 4.00pm   October 4.30 - 6.00pm
May 3.30pm   November 6.00 - 7.00pm
June 3.00pm   December 7.00 - 7.30pm

I am on a cruise ship, will I be back on time to board the ship?
  • Yes, you will have plenty of time to have a full tour and get back into Akaroa.
  • We will pick you up and drop you off from the main wharf where your tender boats dock. Our latest tours come back between 4.00 and 4.30pm, typically last cruise ship tenders leave from 5:00 – 6:30.
Is the Early-Bird kayaking an option for cruise ship passengers?
  • Unfortunately it is not; cruise ship tenders do not arrive early enough to make our 8:00am departure time from the Pohatu Office.  
If I'm on a cruise ship, where can I meet you?
  • Meet us 15 minutes before your tour at the end of the main wharf (where the tenders drop you off). Please check in with a Pohatu Guide before jumping in our vans!
What if it rains?
  • When living in an island nation like New Zealand, the weather us hard to predict and can quickly change; sunny one minute then pouring with rain the next and this even in the middle of summer.
  • Offering outdoor activities, we may sometimes get rained on. We do not cancel our tours due to rainy days; it is just part of experiencing this wild country.
  • In saying that, all of our best wildlife viewing is usually when it's raining, especially on our Evening penguin tours.
  • Just remember to always bring a rain coat to New Zealand, just in case. We all hope for a beautiful sunny day but rain or shine our guides will give you an authentic New Zealand experience.
Things to do in Akaroa.
  • Our beautiful little French town offers a variety of holiday options!
  • If you’re looking for a relaxing, weekend getaway take the 1.5 drive from Christchurch enjoy our fabulous sea-side cafes and restaurants, peaceful walks and breathtaking scenery.
  • If you’re in need of accommodations there is a variety of historical cottages, bed and breakfasts, motels and hostels that you may choose from. (See link below for a comprehensive directory).
  • If you’re keen for some walking check out the various day walks or our famous 2 or 3-Day Banks Track.
  • Last, but not least, although we think we offer the most unique tour in town, Akaroa is host to various wildlife, farm and adventure tours. Inquire more about our beautiful village at the local I-Sight!
For recommendations on things to do around New Zealand
Pohatu Penguins pohatu.co.nz - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA