Water activity

Kaikoura: Dolphin Encounter Cruise

Activity provider: Encounter Kaikoura

Kaikoura: Dolphin Encounter Cruise

Activity provider: Encounter Kaikoura

From US$ 71.42 per person

Experience wild dolphins close-up on this cruise of the Kaikoura coast. Choose to watch their acrobatics from the boat or enter the water and swim with the dolphins.

About this activity

Free cancellation
Cancel up to 24 hours in advance for a full refund
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Covid-19 precautions
Special health and safety measures are in place. Check your activity voucher once you book for full details.
Duration 3.5 hours
Check availability to see starting times.
Live tour guide


  • Encounter the Dusky Dolphin species in the wild
  • Enter the water and interact with the dolphins
  • See the breathtaking scenery along the Kaikoura coast
  • Observe dolphin acrobatics from the boat
  • Snorkel in the ocean
Full description

Cruise along the scenic Kaikoura coast as you watch for dolphins. During the cruise, you'll be able to swim with the dolphins in their natural habitat or watch their antics from the comfort of the boat.

Kaikoura is one of the best places in the world to encounter the Dusky Dolphins in their natural environment. The Dusky Dolphins are some of the most interactive and acrobatic species of dolphins, making them thrilling to watch and interact with. 

  • Dolphin watching cruise
  • Swim with the dolphins (if option selected)
  • Wetsuit with jacket, snorkel, mask, and fins (if swimming option selected)
  • Safety briefing
  • Commentary from expert guide
  • Souvenir information pack to take home
  • Food and beverages (available for purchase at the local partner's base)
Not suitable for
  • Children under 3 years

Select participants and date



Meeting point

Check-in at the reception desk on arrival

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Important information

What to bring

  • Warm clothing
  • Hat
  • Swimwear
  • Change of clothes
  • Towel
  • Camera
  • Sunscreen
  • Charged Smartphone
  • Motion sickness prevention
  • Face mask or protective covering

Not allowed

  • Drones
  • Touching marine life

Know before you go

  • In the summer months, the water temperature rarely rises above 19 degrees Celsius
  • In the winter months, the water drops to around 8 degrees Celsius
  • All boats used for swimming with dolphins have deck showers available
  • It is advisable to wear warm clothing and sensible footwear when checking in for the tour
  • All swimmers will be supplied with a well-fitted wetsuit
  • Hot showers are available in the changing rooms at the local partner's base after the tour
Customer reviews

Overall rating

5 /5

based on 43 reviews

Review summary

  • Guide
  • Transportation
  • Value for money
  • Service

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Star rating:

Very enjoyable experience from the smooth booking process to the time out on the water. The guides were knowledgeable and passionate about the animals and really made everyone feel comfortable even if the water was rougher than we expected. We saw a range of wildlife from Albartross to Dusky dolphins and the elusive pilot whales.

January 17, 2023

Incredible experience and highlight of the month we spent in New Zealand! We were able to swim amongst so many dolphins and couldn't believe how close they get and how playful they are. The crew on board the boat were really helpful and the warm shower onboard afterwards was appreciated. Overall a very professional and well-run tour and you could see there was no negative impact on the marine life. Would definitely recommend!

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January 17, 2023

This dolphin encounter was such a special experience, we saw what felt like a hundred dolphins, who were very playful and swam close to the boat. The cruise is run professionally, and all staff involved did such a wonderful job. They were warm and friendly, and consistently checked on the passengers to make sure everyone was happy and comfortable.

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January 4, 2023

Product ID: 408805