Dolphin Discovery Tour

A dolphin discovery tour in the 'Bay of Islands' is one of the 'must dos'.

Staying in Russell we arrived just in time for the launch at the landing. The catamaran coming from Paihia had already landed. Dolphins are exciting mammals with exceptional abilities that let them entangle every now and then in a heartfelt story. Some became popular through series on television or movies like 'Flipper' or 'Dolphin Tale'. Now, we had the chance to meet wild dolphins in their natural habitat.

Bay of Islands - Hole in The Rock

Dolphin Discovery

Swimming with dolphins is dependent on weather conditions on the sea, the time of year and on the individual dolphin or the pod of dolphins. Bottle-nosed dolphins visit the Bay of Islands all year round usually daily. During the months February to March their visits can be lesser. Other species are sometimes present like Common Dolphins, Orcas and Bryde’s Whales.

Soon we met a pod of bottle-nosed dolphins, that is the most extensively studied group. Without any hesitation, they delighted their spectators with joyful and elegant jumps singularly or in small groups. Mother dolphins and their calves swam inseparable side by side.

From the crew, that guided our dolphin discovery tour we learned some facts about these aquatic mammals. Their overall size ranges from 1.9 m to 3.9 m and depends on gender and the region they live in. The dolphins body size rather than their age defines their maturity and with that their first breeding time. Gestation is for up to 12 months. A dolphin calf will suckle for 2 to 3 years. In relation to the nursing period, the intervals between births range from three to five years. Undisturbed female dolphins reach an age of up to fifty years while the age of their male counterpart ranges between forty and forty-five years.

As mammals, dolphins can drown. They return every 2 to 4 minutes to the water surface for exhalation and inhalation. Offshore this sequence can be longer. The affect on their sleep is that the brain is organised in two sections taking turns to rest. This prevents a dolphin from suffocation.

Lucky for us that animal rights activists and consumers refused to accept the high numbers of drowned dolphins in tuna nets. For this reason, tuna canners were encouraged to can only shipments of fishing fleets that protect dolphins.

Watching on this dolphin discovery tour the pod's peaceful and social interaction clearly communicates why traditional Maori carvings of these ocean mammals symbolize friendship, harmony and playfulness.

Leaving the pod behind the catamaran cruised to the Hole in the Rock and the lighthouse on Cape Brett. The hole forced by the power of swell and tide into the stone, and opens a passageway through the rock. Thanks to favourable sea conditions, we were able to observe how the skipper skilfully steered our boat through.

The historic 'Cape Brett Lighthouse' marks the entrance to the Bay of Islands.

Bay of Islands

Cape Brett 'Hole in the Rock' Cruise

Bay of Islands Tour, hole in the rock

This is the most popular cruise in the Bay of Islands. The modern high speed catamaran cruises in comfort around the Bay the famous 'Hole in the Rock' and the Cape Brett Lighthouse. The plentiful islands offer a multitude of landscapes with marine wildlife encounters like dolphins and penguins.


Dolphin and Whale Watching Cruise

Auckland dolphin discovery tour

Go on a half day long cruise, departing from Auckland, to watch out for seabirds, dolphins and whales in the pristine waters of Hauraki Gulf. It is just a short boat ride from Auckland’s Viaduct Harbour. Expert guides share fun facts and informative commentary about the frequenting sea mammals while cruising the waters of the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park.

From Christchurch

Kaikoura Whale and Dolphin Overnight Tour

whales and dolphins

Experience all in one, watch whales and swim with dolphins, on this journey from Christchurch to Kaikoura. This is an overnight delight in a small coastal town for all those who wish to take part in an unmatched marine experience. Dive into the oceans and swim next to these amazing mammals.


Swimming with Dolphins in Akaroa

Akaroa, swimming with New Zealand dolphins

Make a date with the worlds smallest, rarest and friendliest dolphins only on Akaroa Harbour. There is only one place on the planet where you can swim with Hector Dolphins also known as the New Zealand Dolphin and that is the beautiful sheltered Akaroa Harbour.

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