Bucket List Must Do: Swim with dolphins in New Zealand

Watching dolphins, whales, and porpoises

There’s something really fascinating about Dolphins that has kept human race very interested and inquisitive about these animals. It’s magical to their playful nature and free spirit. If you have been one of those enthusiasts from your childhood, here’s your chance. New Zealand is known to be one of the hotspots for watching dolphins, whales, and porpoises in the world. 

Over 35 of 80 species of Dolphins and Whales are found here giving it the reputation of a favorite playground for dolphins. There are many travel agencies offering dolphin tours Paihia in Northern Island of the country. For excellent lodging in northern Island, Te Koha Lodge at Te Ngaere Bay hovering around beautiful beaches of Cavalli, Motueka, and Wainui giving you a chance to watch beautiful dolphins.

Some of the lucky whale watchers have also caught a glimpse of planet’s largest animal - the mighty blue whale. There are other species of biggest dolphins such as the orca and the smallest Hector’s dolphin that are only to be found in New Zealand. The orcas are known to be specialized in hunting rays and sharks. The Hectors are found near to the shore and are considered as one of the rarest water dolphins in the world. Though dolphins are all over New Zealand, there are only quite a few spaces where you can jump in and swim with these dolphins. 


The east coast of New Zealand’s South Island, Kaikoura is home to most famous cetacean watching location. Here you can find Sperm Whales, Humpbacks, Orca in different seasons of the year. If you stay longer, you can also see some acrobatic style of dusky dolphins in Kaikoura. The group of 100 to 1000 whales and dolphins flock to unique underwater of Kaikoura landscape giving them perfect feeding space. For a closer look into the marine world of these beautiful dolphins, you can go on a cruise boat offering the opportunity to swim with dolphins. 

Bay of Islands

Another ultimate destination with the sunny climate and sparkling water is Bay of Islands that offers huge population of whales and dolphins. It’s an ideal place for getting on a cruise boat on any dolphin tours Paihia beach has to offer and swim with the dolphins. The standard short-beaked dolphins with tan or white flanks are seen leaping and cruising in the group of thousands. Some of the species like Northland bottlenose and Orca abound are seen flocking in the water in any of dolphin tours Paihia offers. 

There are daily and weekly dolphin tours Paihia offers which is across the nearby channel from the historic capital of Russell. During the autumn and summer, the bottlenose dolphins prefer to roam around the Bay of Islands while rest of the time they stay towards the shoreline and even closer than other common dolphins. The visitors can also watch passing whales like the humpback, blue, sei, Bryde’s and minke. The most famous ones are whale and dolphin tours Paihia bay offers to give you plenty to explore and encounter. 

Best time For Dolphin Tours Paihia

Due to modern and mild climate, the playful pods are always in the water near to the coastline. However, for the comfortable and sure experience, it is recommended to visit New Zealand during warmer months by the end of spring season or start of autumn. The sea breeze and water can get really chilly during the winter season.

How safe is it to swim with Dolphins?

Dolphins are friendly folks like humans, but it’s similar to visiting your friends and family. You need to respect them while entering their premise. There are a couple of simple rules when swimming with wild dolphins. If there are caves around, you should not get in as they are very protective towards their children. Also stay clear during their feeding time. Don’t touch the dolphins as this may end up frightening them or make them feel really threatened. However, when you are swimming with a professional, you will be fine. 

How to swim with Dolphins?

The safest and best way to swim alongside the dolphins is to go on a boat cruise with dolphin tours Paihia operators. They are aware of all the secret spots and rules to enjoy the swim with these friendly water buddies. When the expert finds the pod and asks you jump in, you can swim in a group at a safe distance. 

Where to find wild dolphins?

In New Zealand, animal welfare is really important, and that’s why they are proud to say that the only place where you can see dolphins in the wild is in New Zealand. The calm water of Kaikoura, Bay of Islands and Akaroa are inviting to Common, Orca, and Bottlenose. While looking for dolphin tours, Paihia bay has a number of travel operators giving you good deals on dolphin tours Paihia trips in the sea.

There are also heaps of wildlife encounter in New Zealand. From dolphin tours Paihia watching to seal colonies and night walks to look for endangered Kiwi, a holiday in the Hobbiton land is a perfect way to connect with nature. New Zealand is the world’s leading place in swim-with-the-dolphin tours, giving you wild meet, free dolphins in its natural habitat. This way the Dolphins have a choice to interact, not forced to.