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Harbour Hopper Halifax – What You Need to Know

I am a big fan of a partially submerged tour. Particularly those duck-related ones where they ask everyone to quack. Everyone needs a good quack every now and then.

The amphibious tour in Nova Scotia is called the Halifax Harbour Hopper and is Atlantic Canada’s number one tour. It is well worth doing and good value for money. Here’s how it all works.

Planning a trip to nova scotia? Here are my Nova Scotia Itinerary 6 Days to help with your planning and check out my post on 25 fun things to do in Halifax.

The Halifax Harbour Hopper on the water!
Harbour Hopper Nova Scotia

Planning your Harbour Hopper Halifax Tour

The place to buy tickets (or pick them up) is the brightly coloured Harbour Hopper tours office on the halifax Harbour. The Harbour Hopper departs and finishes just behind the Amos Pewter store in the waterfront carpark.

Harbour Hopper Tours office on the Halifax Waterfront
Halifax Harbour Tours hopper home on the waterfront

This is a popular tour so you are best to book it ahead of your visit.

Save Time & Buy Your Harbour Hopper Ticket Here

Do bring an extra layer of clothing as it can get cool on the water.

Looking for other interesting and different things to do this side of Canada? Check out the Viking Trail in Newfoundland

Halifax Harbour Hopper Tour dates and times

Harbour Hopper Vehicle
Ready for a Halifax harbour cruise – here’s the Hopper!

The tour runs on the Halifax Harbor and land from late May to the end of October. Depending on the time of year there can be anywhere from 6 to 20+ cruises per day.

The largest number of cruises are during the peak season of June-August and on the weekends. These Halifax Nova Scotia tours tend to leave on the 15-minute marks of the hour eg 00, 15, 30, 45 The tour lasts for 55 minutes.

If you’re looking for Halifax Harbour Hopper coupons there aren’t that many available. There is a thread on tripadvisor about this and sometimes there are Halifax Harbour Hopper Groupon deals. 

The Halifax Harbour Hopper Tour

The tour starts on firm ground in the car park behind the waterfront office. It covers the streets of downtown Halifax before it heads into the harbour so you get both a Halifax city tour and harbour tour.

The Harbour Hopper route covers the Citadel Hill National National Historic Site (I have no idea how it actually managed to make it up and down this tight hill), the Victorian Halifax Public Gardens, St Pauls Church and Halifax’s main drag Spring Garden Road.

The Halifax harbour hopper about to go into the harbour
The tour guide tells us we are about to head into the harbour!

The tour then heads downtown and into Halifax Harbour. The boat heads past George’s Island Lighthouse, the Halifax Harbour Boardwalk, the stone buildings of Historic Properties and much more.

One of the highlights (although that is probably not the right word) of the tour for me was learning about the 1912 Halifax explosion which took place in the harbour. This is still the biggest non-nuclear man-made explosion in history.

I had never heard of the Halifax explosion prior to visiting Halifax. It occurred in December of 1917. A Norweigan vessel collided with a French ship in the harbour and the cargo of the French ship was ignited.

Halifax church downtown
Spire of Halifax Church

Unfortunately, the explosion happened after impact. Many Halifax residents had made their way to the harbour after hearing the noise of the collision. More than 2000 people were killed in the explosion.

Many more suffered from terrible injuries – particularly to their eyes as people were watching the port when the explosion happened. A terrible tragedy.

The Harbour Hopper tour guide will also take you through the history of the harbour and its role in World War 2.

The harbour hopper on the halifax harbour with the city behind it
On the water!

The tour then heads into the water. You will head along the waterfront (well not quite along as you’ll be in the middle of the harbour but you get what I mean).

This is where you are likely to get your best photos – particularly of the stunning Macdonald Bridge that leads into Halifax. This is also the best angle for photos of the historic buildings along the waterfront.

The tour will take you past the key sites including the Maritime Museum (which I highly recommend you go to on your Halifax visit).

halifax maritime museum
The Halifax Maritime Museum – one of Halifax’s top tourist spots

The Harbour Hopper leaves the harbour the same way it came in and then returns to the car park where you began the tour. Our tour guide was brilliant. He was very knowledgeable which you would expect but also rather amusing which is always appreciated!

Click here to buy your Harbour Hopper Ticket

halifax bridge
The Halifax Bridge

Other Halifax Tours You Might Like

There are loads of great Halifax Canada tourist attractions. Why not take a Segway Tour of the Harbour? The Annapolis Valley is absolutely stunning and can be visited as a day tour from Halifax.

And don’t miss seeing Canada’s iconic Peggy’s Cove and lighthouse. 

Lunenburg is a must not miss and you can combine it with lovely Mahone Bay for one of the best one-day nova scotia tours from Halifax. Read more about it in my post Top 16 Things to do in Lunenburg and around Lunenburg.

Downtown Halifax as seen from the waterfront
Halifax waterfront, one of the key Halifax ns points of interest

Things to do around the Harbour Hopper Tour

The pickup and drop off points for the Harbour Hopper Tour are virtually halfway along the Halifax waterfront. This means you are extremely close to some of the best activities to do in this fantastic city.

halifax street art
Waterfront street art!

I enjoyed a fantastic lunch at the Bicycle Thief restaurant after my tour. It is located on the waterfront. The Bicycle Thief, of course, specialize in seafood. I had an amazing seafood pasta.

halifax waterfront office and boat
Another scenic boat and building on the Halifax waterfront

The Maritime Museum of Halifax is also only a short walk. This museum is full of fascinating remanents from the Titanic including an actual deck chair.

I certainly didn’t know until I visited Halifax that it was the biggest port close to where the Titanic sank. The bodies of those who didn’t survive were brought to Halifax for identification. Visiting the Maritime Museum is a must-do Halifax experience.

Seaport Farmers Market, North America’s oldest farmer’s market is also only a 5-minute walk away. The market is open every day but the biggest days in terms of stallholders and visitors are on the weekend. It is a brilliant market and I highly recommend you visit.

Read my post on Halifax Farmers Market for everything you need to know.

Shop for pewter – I got some great earrings I have worn loads at Amos Pewter. Or grab some rum cake at the Rum Runners Rum Cake Factory. Or go on a Segway tour. Or rent a bike

Harbour Hopper Halifax – How to get to Halifax and how to get around

Halifax is an international airport and the main airport for Atlantic Canada. It contains pre-clearance for US customs which is super helpful.

Flights to Halifax

You won’t need a car within Halifax itself as most of the key things to do are within walking distance. However, if you want to go beyond Halifax (which you totally should as there are loads of fab day trips) either look at a tour (see below) or hire a car.

Don’t forget to get take out travel insurance before you go – here are some great deals on travel insurance.

halifax church downtown
Halifax church

Boutique Hotels in Halifax

Halifax is a little light on the ground when it comes to the full-on boutique hotel movement. But that’s ok as my gosh it is a town with a lot to offer in terms of food, wine, views and things to do. And there are quite a few very nice hotels with good thread counts available.

Harbour Hopper Halifax Tours office
Entrance to the office for the Harbour Hopper Tour

I stayed at the Delta Halifax (thanks for sponsoring my stay guys!). I had a lovely stay. The staff is super friendly and the location is great. And the food!!! I must confess I was a little snobby going in when it came to the food at the Delta Halifax and boy did I get it wrong.

I had a fantastic seafood dinner at the Delta Halifax (and thanks to George for the introduction to Digby scallops) and they have a great local wine list.

The breakfast is also sensational – a choice of a la carte or a fantastic buffet breakfast menu.

Read more Reviews on TripAdvisorBook Now

Salty's restaurant on the Halifax waterfront
The well-titled Salty’s restaurant on the waterfront

On my second visit to Halifax, I stayed at the wonderful Prince George Hotel. This is not exactly a boutique hotel – more a general high-end hotel.

But the Prince George Hotel Halifax is very stylish and the rooms were fantastic. It also has a lovely big lounge area that I hung out in and got some work done.

Read reviews on TripAdvisorBook Now

My lovely room at the Halifax Prince George Hotel

If you’re looking for somewhere romantic to stay in Halifax check out historic boutique Hotel the Halliburton

Read Reviews of the Halliburton on Trip Advisor Book Now

Or go 3-star boutique hotel with the Waverley Inn

Read reviews of the Waverley Inn on Trip Advisor Book Now

Or enjoy a nautical theme at your boutique hotel at the Seawatch B&B

≥ Read reviews of the Seawatch B&B on TripAdvisor Book Now

Halifax has some quite good shopping -, especially in the downtown area. If you are wondering what to buy check out this great post on Best Souvenirs from Canada

Amos Pewter store on Halifax waterfront
The Amos Pewter shop on the Halifax waterfront

Who Paid for What in this Post

My trip to Nova Scotia was hosted by the tourism board. This means they covered the costs of my accommodation, most meals, tours and hire car. I paid for my own flights and bits and pieces. As always, my opinions are my own.

Also, if you click through on the links in this post and make purchases I will make a small commission. Just wanted to make sure you knew!


Related Posts:

Most beautiful cites in Canada

Fun Facts about Canada

Things to do in New Brunswick

Sunset in Ottawa

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The Harbour Hopper Halifax is No 1 for good reason - here is your advance planning guide to having a fantastic time on this great tour

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