Business is booming in Akaroa since the earthquake in Christchurch. There are many choices now to tour the harbor, and we chose Coast Up Close.
There's a lot to like about Coast Up Close, but a couple of disappointments. Let me start with the negatives. Tony, the skipper, has no mates and no help. He pushes off, steers, and gives the tour by his lonesome. Much of the time you will be drifting, with nobody at the wheel. We came close to hitting a stone wall when a 12 year old kid said " Tony, I think we're too close to that stone wall." Tony grabbed the wheel and steered out of danger.
Secondly, there is no PA system. When I questioned Tony about it, he said he would rather give information on a personal basis, but unfortunately, unless you are within 6' of him, you won't hear it. I'd rather hear everything he has to say over a PA.
But you will get in close to the action. You will see seals, you will see dolphins, and Tony has a sharp eye for birds in the area. The boat is small, so it won't be overcrowded. In addition, Tony is rather personable, and just seems like a nice guy.
I think you would be better off with Tony than on a large boat like the Black Cat. Also, you will spend 2.5 hours in the harbor instead of 2 hours with the big boats. Keep in mind, though, that the bigger boats are faster, which may explain the 1/2 hour difference.
Whatever you choose, Akaroa harbor is a nice place to spend a few hours.
If you own or manage Coast up Close, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.