Dolphin Encounter Kaikōura

Canterbury, Kaikōura
All year round

Snorkelling with the pod has often described as a life-changing experience

You will create some magical memories. It is something incredibly special that wild animals choose to stop and engage 1:1 with swimmers in the water.  Dusky dolphins are probably the most interactive dolphin species; no one knows why, and this sense of mystery makes the engagement with them all the more extraordinary! This bucket list activity is very sought after and often sells out in the summer months so we recommend advance booking to avoid disappointment. Watchers and swimmers travel on the same boat, so if some of you want to watch and some of you want to swim, this is not a problem as you will still be together. It’s fascinating to witness the interaction between swimmers and wild dolphins from above too.



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Dolphin Encounter Kaikōura



There are a few restrictions due to the nature of the experience and the limited space on the vessels. Generally they are unable to take wheelchairs on board, but they can accommodate passengers who are able to sit unaided. Swimming with the dolphins is a physically demanding activity which requires a reasonable degree of personal fitness. Participants must also be able to wear a wetsuit, and move themselves onto and off the boarding platforms at the stern of the vessels without assistance. The Kaikoura coastline is an expansive area of deep water open to the Pacific Ocean. In order to maximise your experience swimming with the dolphins they recommend that previous snorkelling experience is an advantage, along with a good level of water confidence. Being an experienced swimmer is helpful, but it is not essential, just so long as you are confident in the water. They do have flotation devices like kickboards and buoyancy aids if a little extra assistance is needed. Please note that the crew do not enter the water on tours. Contact Customer Service Manager at about what they can do to help facilitate the best possible tour experience for you and they will always try their best to assist.


Kaikōura is located on the east coast of the South Island between Christchurch and Picton. Christchurch, 180km (2.5 hours drive) to the south of Kaikōura has an international airport and Picton, 160km (2 hours drive) to the north, is the entry point for travellers coming to the South Island by ferry from Wellington in the North Island. The Tranz Coastal train is a beautiful way to travel from Picton to Christchurch and stops in Kaikoura twice daily.

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