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Dusky Dolphins - Kaikoura Coast Boat Trip
Dolphin Photographic Opportunities from Boating Acitivity in Kaikoura
Dusky Dolphin Encounter Swimming with Dolphins Kaikoura
View of Dolphins at the Bow Kaikoura
Dolphin Encounter Swim with and watch Kaikoura's Dolphins

Dolphin Encounter - Swim with or watch Kaikoura's Dusky Dolphins

Kaikoura is one of the best places in the world to both view and swim with wild dusky dolphins. With a very high success rate The Dolphin Encounter tour provides a unique opportunity to either swim and interact with wild dolphins whilst snorkelling, or to remain on board and watch the dolphins from the comfort of the boat. The vessels are all purpose built for marine mammal watching with "walk around" decks and access to the bow to enjoy the best views of one of the most accrobatic dolphin species.


NZ$ 115

per person


  • Kaikoura is among the best locations in the world to encounter interact with wild dusky dolphins

  • Dusky dolphins are regarded as the most acrobatic and curious of all dolphin species

  • Pod sizes vary depending on the time of year but can sometimes range from 50-1000 dolphins

  • Tours operate daily and all year round, weather permitting, except for Christmas Day

  • Swimmer numbers are limited to 16 passengers per boat so advance booking is recommended


Full Description

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to swim with wild dolphins in the open ocean?  Have you wanted to see a pod of dolphins in their natural environment; displaying their acrobatic talent or bow riding at the front of the boat?  

Dusky dolphins are superb entertainers and the pods that are found along the Kaikoura coast, all year round, are simply awe-inspiring.

Energized, yet graceful and so beautful, the dusky dolphins are the super stars of the local ocean environment. They are guaranteed to put a lasting smile on your face.

Dolphin Encounter tours have been in existence since the summer of 1989/1990 and have become regarded as a "must do" experience for visitors to Kaikoura.  The ocean environment along the Kaikoura Coast supports massive diversity of marine life due to a very deep canyon system close to shore which also stretches for a distance off shore as well.  This is one of the key reasons that marine life flourishes here and enables tours to operate with such reliable and consistent sightings.

Operating up to three tours a day, the opportunity to swim with these amazing creatures in the open ocean environment is incredibly unique. The sheer numbers of dolphins can be mind blowing and their acrobatic prowess which includes very high leaps, somersaults, and displays of side slaps and tail slapping, is delightful to see.  Watchers and swimmers travel on the same boats so if swimming is the preferred option for some but not others in your group, everyone is able to travel together.

 Allow 3.5 hours for this tour.  If swimming, previous snorkelling experience is recomended but not essential






Complimentary information pack

Prescription masks available on request

All equipment supplied for swimming with the dolphins

GoPros and accessories available for hire

Meeting Point

The meeting point for all tours is the Encounter Kaikoura operating base located at 96 Esplanade, Kaikoura 

Additional Information

Swimmers should bring a swimsuit, a towel and a small bag to accommodate their clothing which will be taken on board the boat. Swimwear and towels are available for rent and bags available for purchase.

All passengers should bring warm clothing, sun screen and a bottle of water. Please note - all passengers are required to complete a medical disclaimer via an online check in link prior to the tour.

Cancellation policy

Full refund if cancelled up to 24 hours before activity starts.

Good weather is required for this experience. If we need to cancel due to poor weather, you'll be offered a different date or a full refund.

There is a minimum number of travellers for this experience. If the minimum isn't met and we need to cancel, we will offer a different date/experience or a full refund.


Whilst there is an exceptionally high success rate, working with wildlife and nature, tour success is not guaranteed. In the event that a tour is not fully successful a partial refund will apply. Sea sickness is not grounds for seeking a refund.

Our Products/Services


NZ$ 115

per person

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Dolphin Encounter - Watching the Dusky Dolphins

Dolphin Encounter - Watching the Dusky Dolphins

Passengers joining the tour to watch the dolphins travel on the same boat as the swimmers, but do not have the option to...Show More
Adult: $115
Child: $75
(3 - 14 years)
Not suitable for Infants.
Duration: 3.5 Hours
Dolphin Encounter - Swim with the Dusky Dolphins

Dolphin Encounter - Swim with the Dusky Dolphins

The opportunity to snorkel alongside wild dusky dolphins in the open ocean. Operating on the dolphins' terms this ethic...Show More
Adult: $230
(15+ years)
Child: $215
(8 - 14 years)
Not suitable for Infants.
Duration: 3.5 Hours

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