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“Very hit or miss” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Auckland Whale & Dolphin Safari

Auckland Whale & Dolphin Safari
Viaduct Harbour, Auckland 1010, New Zealand
+64 9-357 6032
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Ranked #34 of 159 Activities in Auckland
Type: Tours, Adventure
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Owner description: On Auckland’s doorstep, the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park is considered one of the most biologically and geographically diverse marine parks in the world. Dolphins are viewed on over 90% and whales on 75% of trips. Listen to interesting commentary about culture and history of this amazing maritime park while cruising on our luxury purpose built catamaran.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
2 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Very hit or miss”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 7, 2012

We went on a windy day - seas were choppy and we didn't see a single whale or dolphin. We did see half of our fellow passengers get seasick.

Visited December 2011
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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116 reviews from our community

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English first
Auckland, New Zealand
Top Contributor
55 reviews 55 reviews
11 attraction reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
“amazingly close to whales and dolphins (and the occasional shark too)”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 21, 2011

Wow, what a fantastic afternoon!

Dolphins - saw 3 pods of them, 2 of which ended up swimming alongside our boat. at one point we counted 15 common dolphins right in front of the boat, including some baby ones.

Saw one Bryde whale - he was about 20 metres from the boat but close enough to admire the size of his head and tail and watch him splashing about.

Also saw about three hammerhead sharks, one swimming right beneath the boat.

Amazing afternoon and the young crew were clearly very passionate about what they do (two of them were marine biologists and very knowledgeable).

At $160 this is probably one of the more expensive things to do in Auckland but it was well worth it. They can't give you a money back guarantee but if you don't see anything you can come back for another visit for free. So if you are from out of town, try not to do this tour on your very last day. But as long as you are going out in reasonable weather your chances of seeing something are pretty good. And the crew will try to to find some wildlife to look at.

Make sure you put on sun screen (the crew have some if you don't) as the NZ sun is very fierce particularly on the water. At the end of the afternoon some of the tourists were looking rather pink! Bringing some water or snacks may not be a bad idea either, though you can buy drinks and some food on board (quite reasonably too - $3 for soup, $3 for chips...).

Visited December 2011
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
13 reviews 13 reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“Lovely Day Out But No Guarantee You'll See Many Marine Mammals”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 22, 2011

How can anyone say No to a Whale and Dolphin Safari? I certainly couldn't on my last day in Auckland. Mind you, it is one of the more expensive excursions from the Harbor. There are a bevy of choices for much less than the 160 NZ Dollars I had to shell out for this approximately 4 hour expedition. The weather was just beautiful and the crew were knowledgeable, friendly and amazingly welcoming. All contributing factors to a fantastic day out - the only problem was there was hardly anything to view. A handful of dolphins came to race by the boat as they often do. However, it is a sight I could certainly have seen back home at any number of islands around Malaysia. Unless you count a few poofs of air in the distance a whale sighting, I am afraid to say I was sorely disappointed seeing as I genuinely want to write a nice review for the great people running this show. So, my advice is if you have time to spare, heaps of money to spend and are willing to take a bit of a gamble, come and support this research vessel. However, if like me, that 160 NZ dollars was the last of your currency, I'd have to say it would be better spent on a Harbor Discovery Cruise and a nice dinner out in town.

Visited September 2011
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Auckland Region, New Zealand
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Fantastic trip - saw whales and dolphins”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 16, 2011

Great trip - brought tickets on Grabone for half price. But, this trip was worth paying full price. Saw lots of dophins and it was not looking like we were going to see a whale. On the way home they spotted one and asked if everyone was ok will being back to the port a little late so we could see the whales. They were amazing!! We got close enought to have a good look without disturping them.

Visited April 2011
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
27 attraction reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
“Awesome! Worth the Price!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 13, 2011

I thought only South Island has the Whale & Dolphin Safari but I found this by chance in Tripadvisor and of course I go for it!

They don't offer refund if they don't manage to find any whale/dolphins, but re-visit. Skeptical huh? Now that I'm back and I can assue you that they are not trying to con customer's money. They say it and they mean it.

During our trip, the captain went extra miles (about an hour extra) to look for the dolphins & whale just to not lett customer down! No wording can describe how excited was we when we finally saw the dolphins!

If you are wildlife lovers, I would suggest you go for it! The ship is clean & tidy, with snacks & drinks available at cost.

Visited May 2011
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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