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Fullers or Dolphin Discovery?

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Langley City, Canada
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684 posts
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Fullers or Dolphin Discovery?

Just trying to decide on which company to go with for our Hole in the Rock/Dolpin Discovery and wondering if anyone knows which company is better?

We really want to see dolphins (don't need to swim with them though), go out (and hopefully through) the Hole in the Rock, and spend an hour or so at Urupukapuka Island.

Both tours seem to be the same price with the same itinerary, so just not sure which to choose.

Melbourne, Australia
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1. Re: Fullers or Dolphin Discovery?

We went with Fullers and had a great day. It was June so only about 40 people on the boat! We saw heaps of bottle nosed dolphins and one passenger went swimming with them. Went through the Hole in the Rock, but that depends if there’s a swell as the boat is quite high & just makes it through. On the way back we spotted a juvenile humpback whale and a pod of orcas came & swam beside the boat for about 10 minutes. Another tourist boat alerted the Fullers boat as to the presence of the orcas so they work well together to give people the best experience. We were very lucky to see all three on the one trip. Unforgettable!

Edinburgh, United...
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2. Re: Fullers or Dolphin Discovery?

Went with Fullers on the Hole in the Rock trip in late October. Boat was busy due to there being folk from a cruise ship. Great morning out seeing dolphins galore and going through the 'Hole in the Rock'. On the way back we stopped for almost 1.5 hours at Urupukapuka Island. Rather than heading off to the cafe or lookout, my wife and I headed for a remote beach we spotted on the way in (Sunset Bay) and had almost an hour away from the 'madding crowd'.

Cant speak for Dolphin Discovery though the craft they used looked really sleek.

Paihia, New Zealand
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3. Re: Fullers or Dolphin Discovery?


They are both reputable companies, so you will more than likely have just as enjoyable trip with either.

Have you had a read of their reviews in the 'tours in Paihia' section? That may make your decision easier.

Have a great trip.


stratford upon avon
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28 posts
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4. Re: Fullers or Dolphin Discovery?

Try to go with Fullers. If in doubt see my report on Dolphin Discovery

Kerikeri, New...
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5. Re: Fullers or Dolphin Discovery?

As mentioned, they pretty much have identical trips, differing only by which islands they may pop into for a quick break stop. During the cooler months, they may be combining the 'swim with the dolphins' with the 'Dolphin 'Discovery/hole in the rock' tours because numbers are lower. The biggest determining factor is the bay conditions: if the swell is too big then they may not allow you overboard for a 'swim' (if that's your intention) because its unsafe to climb back aboard. Also if there are baby dolphins they may not allow you in. The PODs are closely monitored, and the amount of human interation time limited, but overall they do well. Determining factor? Dolphin Discovery (Explore NZ) boats are a bit groovier, and claim to run on green fuel. Fuller's boats are smaller and a (very little) bit older, but they are both fine for purpose, and run on the same schedules. One thing I WOULD suggest: leave it until the last moment to book, so you can gauge sea conditions. And you may avoid disapointment if it's too choppy to go all the way out to the hole in the rock.

Virginia Beach...
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6. Re: Fullers or Dolphin Discovery?

We are going to be in Paihai from Dec 7-14 and would also like to take this cruise. I do get seasick if the seas are choppy - so would like to wait to see what the weather forecast is for the next day before booking. Given the time of year, should there be a problem with availability?

Are there certain days to avoid because cruise ships are in port and there are large crowds?

Thanks for your help.


Kerikeri, New...
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66 posts
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7. Re: Fullers or Dolphin Discovery?

Hi Timesharequeen, you should be OK for these dates - the real full on summer season starts a week later when our summer school holidays begin just before Xmas. Cruise boat passengers tend to do land content, not more cruises but it may be a factor. The two companies have plenty of capacity though, and split their tours into extra boats in the high season so I'm sure you'll be fine to leave it late to book. Good plan too, inner islands the waves are quite smooth, but its unavoidable to spend a bit of time in rough seas even if they try and avoid it on bad weather days.

8. Re: Fullers or Dolphin Discovery?

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