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“Incredible!”
Review of Dolphin Encounter

Dolphin Encounter
Ranked #1 of 27 Tours in Kaikoura
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Owner description: Swim with the dolphins in their natural environment or watch their acrobatic displays form the comfort of the boat.
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities, Activities for older children
Reviewed October 6, 2012

First things first - my husband and I had a mini vehicle crisis on the way to Kaikoura and I won't go into the details but the staff at Dolphin Encounter were absolutely incredible in the practical help they gave us as well as the sympathetic / supportive welcome and kind assistance that we received. I have never experienced such kindness and helpfulness from a team of people - ever. Thank you so much!! You know who you are (and we are!!). On to the dolphin swim.....the experience of swimming with Dusky Dolphins is absolutely out of this world and I cannot recommend it highly enough. I also swam with Hector's Dolphins out of Akaroa two days earlier and can say that both experiences were very rewarding but in very different ways. The Hector's Dolphins were very shy and so the visual contact with them - above and below the water line was very limited - no more than fleeting glances. The Dusky Dolphins at Kaikoura are completely different and the experience is just beyond words - words cannot do justice to the experience of swimming with these dolphins and the mental images are firmly imprinted in my mind forever. As someone who is very conservation / environmentally aware, I was very comfortable and happy with the emphasis placed by the Staff Team on not touching the dolphins / respecting that they are wild mammals and being generally conscious of the marine environment. The staff worked very hard to ensure that the experience was as rewarding and memorable as possible whilst strongly respecting the dolphins in their environment. They took us in / out of the water three times to maximise our time with the dolphins in close proximity. Exceptional :)

2  Thank Houstie H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DolphinEncounter, Front Office Manager at Dolphin Encounter, responded to this reviewResponded October 9, 2012

Hi there
We do know who you are :-) and thanks for taking the time out to post your review we love it! I've made sure all the team have had a read and you've made our day...thanks!

We were more than happy to help you out and we are delighted that you had such a great time thanks to the amazing dusky dolphins! :-) Our ethos is totally that swimming with the dolphins here is a priviledge not a right and we're delighted the dolphins were out in force for your tour to create some awesome memories for you!

We do hope the rest of your travels are mini-crisis free and that you enjoy the rest of your time in NZ!

Best regards from all the Encounter Crew :-)

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784 - 788 of 1,046 reviews

Reviewed October 6, 2012

An amazing trip, a highlight of our time in NZ. Very smoothly run operation, friendly, professional staff, simply incredible. In order to avoid the risk of missing out due to bad weather spend two or three days here, its a beautiful place, plenty of areas to explore, beaches to wander along and fish and chips to eat, if the weathers bad and your trip gets cancelled they will normally get you on one later that day or soon after.

Thank TravellingWilburys4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DolphinEncounter, Front Office Manager at Dolphin Encounter, responded to this reviewResponded October 9, 2012

Hi there, thank you for taking time out to post a review we really appreciate it! We're stoked you loved the trip! :-) Great advice about being in town for a few days as the weather gods aren't always kind to us... Great that you enjoyed our beautiful town too - we like it...especially the fish and chips!!! :-)

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Reviewed September 30, 2012

We swam with literally hundreds of dusky dolphins and they were close and around us constantly. Unforgettable experience!!! Will definitely go back to do this again. It was freezing but who cares? It was worth being a bit cold for. Staff were extremely friendly, experienced, safety-conscious and helpful. Forget bungy jumping - this is a million times better!

Thank Sandy S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DolphinEncounter, Front Office Manager at Dolphin Encounter, responded to this reviewResponded October 9, 2012

Thanks for taking the time to post a review! Fabulous to read you had such a great trip and we'd be pleased to welcome you back anytime! :-)

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Reviewed September 24, 2012 via mobile

Just did this amazing tour! We swum with around 300 wild friendly dolphins. They came so close up wanting to play. About 45 min in water was perfect. It was very cold but excellent equipment wet suit etc. warm showers on board. Staff were so friendly and fun. Was DEFINTELY worth the money. An in forgettable experience. Highly recommend.

Thank Jgsyd85
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DolphinEncounter, Front Office Manager at Dolphin Encounter, responded to this reviewResponded October 9, 2012

Thanks for your review great to read that by braving the cold you had such a great experience! :-)

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Reviewed September 8, 2012

This was one of the MANY highlights from my trip to New Zealand. We booked in advance, a good idea in hindsight as the boats were full. When you arrive the first step is to get outfitted in wetsuits and scuba gear. The staff were very helpful and they offer a wide array of sizes to fit everyone. You get suited up and sit down for a safety video. The staff then talks about what to expect and make sure you know there is a chance of not seeing many dolphins because they are wild and conditions change. From there you board a bus and are transported to the dock. We filed on the boat and set out to sea, they have to take the boats out far for the best chance of seeing a pod. Even if you don't get sea sick normally, I would recommend taking meds just in case. The waves can be wild and the boat small. The staff were great with dealing with sick customers and had all necessary supplies. We were on the boat for about 45 minutes before spotting the pod of dolphins. As soon as the boat is in position, the swimmers line up on the back of the boat and jump in. Our boat moved three different times to ensure close proximity to the dolphins and allow for great photos.

Swimming with the dolphins was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Nothing can prepare you for swimming in the wild ocean and having dolphin after dolphin come up and look you in the eye! The staff tell you to make noises to attract the dolphins and it really works! There were even baby dolphins just learning to flip and jump, painfully cute! Swimming in the ocean and hauling yourself in and out of the boat is an intense workout, so make sure you are ready. Per regulations people can only be the water with the animals for a certain amount of time, but after that our boat captain followed the pod so everyone could take pictures. The pod of 500 followed the boat and put on an amazing show, leaping and flying and surfing off the wake. So beautiful.

The experience is expensive but well worth it. Some of my family members did not swim but sitll thought it was a great experience. I commend the company on running a great and rewarding business. Such a once in a lifetime experience.

3  Thank traliz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DolphinEncounter, Front Office Manager at Dolphin Encounter, responded to this reviewResponded September 14, 2012

Thank you so much for your review! Reading it gave me goospbumps...you are spot on about the experience... We are so lucky here and we are so stoked that the incredible dolphins we share Kaikoura with provided you with such a highlight!
Great recommendations about booking ahead and sea sickness meds, thank you.
You are also spot on regarding those baby dolphins...great description with "painfully cute!!" They are absolutely all that and more hey?! :-)

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