Have a question about one of our tours or ferry crossings? Check out some of our most frequently asked questions below. If your question hasn't been answered, feel free to give our team a call - we'll be more than happy to help!
Is there EFTPOS available onboard?
Yes, we can now accept EFTPOS payments onboard.
Please be advised that when using tap to pay, or credit card, there are surcharges that apply. These do not apply with EFTPOS transactions however.
What if the weather is bad? Will my cruise be cancelled?
We very rarely need to cancel a cruise due to bad weather. Because our 'bad weather' conditions are often created by a combination of the wind and the tide direction, we sometimes offer passengers to come a little earlier or slightly later than the originally booked time, to allow the tide to change in our favour. This means a smoother trip. We have a cosy heated cabin with large windows, so the cold, rain or chilly wind is never a problem. We heat the cabin to between 18-25 degrees, depending on passenger requirements.
The skipper will never take the vessel out if they are in doubt as to the safety of the passengers or vessel due to the weather conditions. If we need to change a trip due to rough weather, we will contact passengers as soon as possible to arrange a transfer of time. If this is not possible we will refund your trip.
How many passengers can the boat take? How many people will be on my tour?
We are surveyed for 20 passengers and will can fill to capacity for short ferry trips across the harbour. However we usually limit numbers to around 12-14 passengers, for comfort and space, on longer cruises such as the Wildlife Cruise. If the group requests it and are travelling together, we are happy to extend those numbers a little to accommodate.
Are there toilet facilities onboard?
Yes, we have a modern and heated toilet/bathroom onboard.
Is there food onboard?
We sell water bottles onboard. On some cruises we offer sweet treats such as biscuits.
What if my cruise ship is late? Will the tour wait for me?
Because of the flexible nature of our tours and the speed capabilities of our vessel, we are able to accommodate a late arrival in some instances. Our small, fast vessel can use many different locations on the harbour for picking up passengers, meaning we may able to utilise these for a late arrival to get you on board our vessel at a slightly later time, at a wharf closer to you, so you wont miss the tour. If we are not able to, it will be at our descretion as to whether we can refund or reschedule your cruise.
What if we don't get back to my cruise ship on time?
This has never occurred on our tours. We plan our trips carefully and operate well inside the arrival and departure times. Because we operate close to the port and the vessel is fast, even if the departure time were to be brought forward, we can get in to drop you off quicker if we need to.
Why is there an infants price on some cruises and on others they are children?
If you are on a ferry trip, or a special trip which can be booked to capacity (20 passengers) we charge a child rate for an infant because the infant still takes up a passenger seat, for our legal survey requirements.
When on a wildlife cruise, or a cruise where we have chosen to limit the numbers for comfort, we can charge a lesser rate for an infant because there will still be empty seats (for survey), so we can be more flexible and charge less.
Where do we go and what will we see on a wildlife cruise?
We travel the length of the shipping channel from Port Chalmers to Taiaroa Head nature reserve. We expect to see albatross, seals, sea and harbour birds, shags and cormorants. We usually also see penguins, and sometimes sea lions and dolphins. There are many other animals too that pop up. We usually see between 11-16 species of animal. You will receive a wildlife sheet to take home with the animals you have seen.
Because we pass the main port, we often also see ships, tug boats, fishing vessels and sometimes pilot boats and other workboats.
Throughout the cruise we point out navigational markers and other interesting things. You will get a full commentary over the P.A. system from the skipper.
When going from Portobello, we pass the quarantine stations on Quarantine Island, viewing the shipwrecks here.
What is the best time to see the wildlife?
There is no quaranteed 'best time' to see the wildife. Because there are many different species that we look for, they move around, interact with each other and feed as they feel like it. And in response to other things like season, weather and tides. (Wet or cold weather DOESNT mean no viewing! Sometimes it can actually be better!) The marine conditions at the time, swell and forecast, can also affect the animals and the areas we use to to view. Its potluck!
But rest assured, you are in the hands of the most experienced operator here, (Rachel has been conducting these types of tours in this area for 18 years +. Longer than any other person on the Otago Harbour) and if there is wildlife to be found, you'll find it with her!)
Can I be picked up from Port Chalmers or do I need to find transport to Portobello?
You must meet us at the departure point which is at 39 Peninsula Beach Road, Port Chalmers. We do not have a shuttle service.
If you are arriving on a cruise ship and are unable to walk, please check with us to see if there might be a transport option we can help you with, such as taxi or shuttle bus through another operator.
Can I bring a pram or a wheelchair?
Fold up prams are fine, however we do have restricted room and so wheelchairs are not able to be stored onboard. Passengers will need to step down 30 cm into the vessel, so if you have very limited mobility please call us to discuss whether this trip is suitable for you.
How far is Back Beach from Port Chalmers if I wanted to walk from the cruise ship terminal building/main street of Port Chalmers?
Back Beach is a 5-10 minute walk from the main street of Port Chalmers (Beach Street). Walk east, away from the shopping area, past the logging yards. In less than one kilometre you will reach the large carpark of Back Beach, outside the Port Chalmers Yacht Club. There are two floating pontoons here which we use.
How do I book a cruise?
You can book through our online booking system here, or by giving us a ring or sedning an email.
Am I able to be picked up from my accommodation?
We currently do not offer pick ups from Dunedin. The public bus service offers busses to Portobello or Port Chalmers. Approx 5-10 minutes walk from the nearest bus stops.