What should I bring? You should bring sunglasses, sunscreen and a hat (with a string), and a camera with plenty of memory. The Fox II has extra coats on board if it should get cold. But you should bring a jumper or jacket. There is seating inside with
a full (heated) cabin if you want to escape the weather.

What wildlife will we see? Akaroa Harbour is visited by Hectors dolphins, Little-blue/white-flippered penguins, and New Zealand fur seals from Dec-May. For the past 3 seasons we have seen dolphins on every trip! We have the highest success rate at spotting dolphins of any boat, because of our slower speed and we are quieter. Dolphins come and swim alongside the Fox II. We also have the longest viewing encounters. We venture out into the Pacific Ocean outside the heads where the dolphins are 30 percent of the time. Dolphins are wild animals and we respect that fact, we do not stop, chase or harass the dolphins in any way. We now feel confident to offer passengers a dolphin guarantee. We guarantee that you will see dolphins. If you don't you are entitled to a 100% REFUND or a free trip! No other boat in Akaroa offers (or can offer) this guarantee. We also see New Zealand Fur Seals on all of our trips, there is a seal colony outside of Akaroa Heads that we visit. Typically during the day, penguins are swimming in the harbour and return to their nests at sunset. We see penguins and albatross on 90% of our trips. There are a myriad of birds including petrels, mollymawks, gannets, sea gulls, and terns. Whales come to Akaroa once or twice a year, but it is extremely rare to see these.

Why should I feel good about choosing the Fox II over the other dolphin boats?
The Fox II is eco-friendly. The Fox II uses wind most of the time as opposed to the other operators who rely on diesel, which means we do not pollute as much or use up limited natural resources. We sometimes have to use the engine however it only uses 5 litres of diesel an hour.
2. The Fox II is the least invasive boat to the wildlife. Because of our slower speed and quiet approach, dolphins come right up to the Fox II and even swim along side. You will feel a part of nature when you see how they play along side.
3. The Fox II is conservation minded and donates a portion of the money received for each ticket towards dolphin conservation research. The owners of the Fox II actively support conservation efforts being made in the harbour and have petitioned to make more marine reserves and higher fishing restrictions.
4. The Fox II is used part of the year exclusively for a charitable trust to help Canterbury children experience sailing. We train over 1500 children from all backgrounds every year in the basics of sailing to help promote sailing to New Zealand children aged 8 to 16. The Cansail Charitable Trust has been focused on helping children with special needs as well as children from lower decile schools around Canterbury.
5. The Fox II is a classic gaff-rigged vessel built in 1922 in Auckland. This boat is New Zealand's oldest working gaff-rigged ketch. It is New Zealand made from the best New Zealand boat timber, Kauri. It has authentic rigging, 2 wooden masts, 6 authentic handmade tanbark sails, real copper fastenings, authentic wooden blocks. No winches or gears on this vessel, and it is sailed the traditional way. The Fox II is a part of New Zealand's history.
6. The Fox II is privately owned. The Fox II is owned and operated by an individual, not some huge corporation. The skipper has a personal stake in the business. The skipper truly cares about his passengers, and wants to make sure they have the best time and service. Crew are picked by their experience and friendliness, and the Fox II has a rigid training program for crew to ensure passenger safety.
7. The owners are community minded and of good character. The owners of the Fox II are involved in the Akaroa township and volunteer with different organizations and several committees. The skipper is a trained volunteer fire-fighter and ambulance crew. When he is not working on the Fox II, he is helping community members. The skipper has a true love of Akaroa and New Zealand and is knowledgeable about its history. He enjoys researching and sharing his knowledge along the journey.
8. The Fox II is licensed by the Department of Conservation. There are a few unlicensed operators in Akaroa Harbour. DOC does not have the resources or the time to enforce its license requirements. Part of every ticket purchased on the Fox II goes towards funding the DOC marine mammal viewing permit. This pays for DOC employees that help save endangered animals, it also pays for education material and signs that tell boaters how to behave around endangered wildlife, not to mention all the conservation that DOC does around New Zealand. These unlicensed operators are sometimes charging the same or more per ticket than licensed operators. They do not pass their savings on to passengers, so it is important to make the right choice. Look for DOC approved operators.
9. The Fox II is affordable. The Fox II has kept the price of its tickets low in order to ensure that everyone can enjoy a trip. Trips are limited to 30 passengers, but only average about 10 to 15 per trip. We discount trips for children. There is enough comfortable seating for everyone as well. You won't be crammed in.
10. The Fox II is intimate and unique with some quality extras. Everyone gets to feel close to the wildlife on the Fox II. You won't be on a "water bus" packed with 100 passengers on a platform 4 metres from the water. You get quality complementary fresh brewed coffee, tea or homemade hot chocolate. You will be served some complementary biscuits. Drinks are not expensive and we offer a variety of wine, beer and soft drinks at reasonable prices. You can borrow a clean/warm coat if you get cold, have free sunblock, binoculars are available to borrow. Tell us if it is a special occasion and we can make it more special.

What else will we see? As far as geography, Akaroa is the crater of an extinct volcano. The scenery is spectacular. There are 1000 foot sea cliffs, waterfalls, caves and amazing rock formations.

What if I get seasick? It is rare that passengers feel seasick on the Fox II. Because of her long keel and with the wind in her sails, she cuts through the waves making for a steady enjoyable trip. Most of the trip is in the protected harbour of Akaroa, but we do venture out into the Pacific. If you should feel seasick, ginger tablets or biscuits are provided on board, which will cure about 90% of seasickness. We do not offer any prescription or pharmaceutical remedies, just natural ones.

How long does the trip last? The trip lasts approximately 2½ hours. We will definitely be back by the afternoon bus if you are not staying over in Akaroa. Please let us know if you have a bus to catch.

How many people can the boat hold? The Fox II is licensed to hold 30 passengers; there is enough seating for everyone. There is enough room in the cabin below decks for all passengers if necessary.

Do you actually sail or just motor around the harbour? A typical trip includes motor sailing and real sailing (with the motor off), if the winds are right. There are 6 sails, so there is always a sheet to be pulled or a halyard to hoist if you are keen, we can even give you a go on the wheel. As we leave the heads of Akaroa, there are Easterly winds that make for an enjoyable trip. Because we have a schedule to keep and a certain amount of distance to cover we may use the motor from time to time to augment our propulsion.



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Trips are planned according to tides and weather. Specifically wind and sea conditions determine routes. Most trips go out to the end of the Akaroa Harbour and into the Pacific. Private charters and evening cruises typically stay in the inner harbour.

Is the Fox II Safe? The Fox II is safe. The Fox II has one of the highest safety ratings of any boat in the South Island. The Fox II is surveyed every year to meet the high standards of Maritime New Zealand. Rigging is checked/replaced annually, the boat hull is tested and inspected out of the water every year. The Fox II is re-painted every year, and all safety equipment is checked to make sure they are in date. Life saving apparatus is tested and inspected. Crew are trained weekly on safety drills, and there are typically 2 to 3 crew members in addition to the skipper. The Fox II has the highest crew to passenger rating of any boat in the harbour. The secure/high railing and safe layout of the boat, ensures that adults and children will not accidently fall overboard. The booms on the sails are higher than average height of a person so there is minimal chance of getting hit by the boom. The boat does not list excessively like racing boats and its long keel ensures a smooth ride.

What kind of boat is the Fox II? The Fox II is a 100 year old wooden gaffed rigged ketch. This is one of the oldest and most traditional styles of sailboat. Still operated and run the traditional way with block and tackle.

Why is the Fox II the best boat trip in Akaroa Harbour? The Fox II is the only sailboat in Akaroa Harbour that does public charters. The Fox II is an intimate, relaxed and quiet way to see the harbour and its wildlife. It’s informative, with a narration on the history of Akaroa Harbour and the wildlife. It is the closest way to experience nature and is the most environmentally friendly of all the boat trips. It is not just a sailing cruise on the harbour, it is an experience you will remember the rest of your life.


Such as superb trip, great company, eco-tour, nature and views of the wildlife.
Richard Herbert, Swansea Wales, UK

Wow! What an amazing day with you guys, thanks heeps!
Lisa and Glen Mackay, Morrisville, NZ

Lovely trip, wonderful animals.
Dortje Knap, Germany

Great fun, great at explaining stuff, loved the jumping dolphins...
Janelle Weissman and Kalp Sieberer, Colorodo, USA

Fantastic sail, saw dolphins, seals, penguins and even a wondering albatross!
Warrick, Carolyn, Amy Gibbs Riverhead, NZ

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