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“Kaikoura must do”
5 of 5 bubbles 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
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Kaikoura must do”
Reviewed March 13, 2014

We tried to book a day before we wanted to go on the swim but could only book the 0530 hour tour. Getting out of bed at 0430 was worth it. We were fitted out in wetsuits, flipper, hood & goggles - even provided a prescription goggles for me. Safety briefing and the the short trip to the boats - 3 boats went out. We found the dolphins quickly and it was still before sunrise. We waited until it was light - so the guides could watch us & we went for 5 swims - as the dolphins move away the boats follow them and 'drop' you again. The water was murky so underwater photos were not the best but we got amazing photos and videos of over 200 dolphins.

Things to consider- communal changing out of wetsuit on the boat - BIG towel for modesty; the local pharmacy makes then 'kaitoura cracker' to minimise seasickness- this was well recommended on the boat after my husband became ill. We were told it works in 99% of cases.

Hot chocolate & ginger bickies to have while spending some time after the swim taking more photos.

I would probably recommend the effort for the early booking as I cannot think of a better way to see a sunrise than sharing it with dolphins playing

Visited March 2014
Thank Donna S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Level Contributor
245 reviews
44 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 204 helpful votes
“Outstanding in every way”
Reviewed March 12, 2014

We were in Kaikoura at the start of February and went on this trip. The sea was pretty rough...to give you an idea the whale watching had been cancelled as had the first trip of the day. The second trip was successful and we set out on the lunchtime trip. It was a journey of almost an hour and a half to the dolphins which were at the very edge of the area in which operations took place. This we were told is unusual,.....it was certainly rough and several people on board were seasick. I was very impressed by the safety briefings and the care of the staff. Neither my wife or I get seasick so we were lucky! What is not totally clear is that this is not really swimming with dolphins but bobbing around with them! It is a strength exercise and on a rough day i was slightly alarmed to find myself 150 metres off the back off the boat in what seemed like seconds when we started to swim. Due to the distance travelled there were three swimming opportunities with a huge pod and as there were only two boats we more or less stayed in one place. The viewing under the water and above the water was amazing and very worthwhile. Confidence in the water is the big thing....you will not sink...the boat will come and get you if you drift away....it is a case of relax and enjoy the spectacle and not worry about the water. The staff are checking and counting all the time to make sure they have everyone....it is very impressive both in terms of professionalism and as an exciting experience. I am in my late 50s a confident and regular swimmer and it was challenging. My wife chose not to swim but got the most amazing views. Even if it was a rough as this again I would not hesitate to go once more. Also don't be in a hurry we were out for almost 5 hours and I thought great value for money.

Visited February 2014
Thank Robinhood1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
41 reviews
22 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“Dolphins everywhere!”
Reviewed March 11, 2014

Price a bit steep, although everything in NZ seems a bit on the pricier side compared to other destinations, but it was a good trip with lots of dolphins sighted. The trip started with donning wetsuits in the office and a short rather humorous video about what to do on the boat and how to attract dolphins, and then a bus ride to the dock. Once we found the dolphins, we all slid into the water and had 35 minutes of swimming with the dolphins. Afterward we were able to watch the dolphins from the boat, and we also found Hector's dolphins, a blue penguin, several albatross, and a fur seal. I would recommend taking precautionary measures against seasickness, as the water can be rough and you swim in circles to see the dolphins which exacerbates the feeling.

Visited February 2014
Thank AlsoLovesTravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Timbuktu, Mali
Level Contributor
39 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Dolphin Encounter”
Reviewed March 8, 2014

WOW - we swam with Dolphins in the wild! Great outfitter and the guides were helpful - we would recommend this encounter with wild dolphins.

Visited December 2013
Thank John N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Perth, Australia
Level Contributor
81 reviews
44 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 77 helpful votes
“Book early to secure a place.”
Reviewed March 3, 2014

Awesome experience to be in the ocean while hundreds of dolphins swim past you- some even check you out if you can dive down a bit. Cold water but you get used to it quickly. Loved it!

Visited January 2014
Thank Mikel123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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