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Dolphin Encounter Kaikoura - Swim with Dolphins Cruise

Get ready for the experience of a lifetime, swimming and interacting with playful Dusky Dolphins in their natural environment off the coast of Kaikoura.

Departing from Kaikoura in your comfortable, purpose-built vessel, which boasts plenty of cover if the weather takes a turn for the worse, head out to the Pacific Ocean and keep your eyes peeled!

Dusky Dolphins inhabit these coastal waters all year round, offering wonderful views, envy-inducing photo opportunities and, of course, the chance to join these incredible mammals in the water.

Once the friendly crew have located your new swimming buddies, don a wetsuit and snorkel (equipment provided) and take an unforgettable swim.

Depending on the dolphin's behaviour, you will usually spend 20-40 minutes in the water as the creatures playfully interact with the group and swim among you.

What's more, other marine mammals such as orca (killer whales), pilot whales, New Zealand fur seals, and Hector’s dolphins are occasionally spotted on the voyage while a full guided commentary is given throughout keeping you in the loop.

Please note - if you do not wish to swim with the dolphins but would still like to see these amazing creatures in their natural environment, please see our Kaikoura Dolphin Watch Cruise for an ideal non-swim option.

Experience Includes

  • Incredible opportunity to swim with dolphins
  • A chance to see dolphins and other marine life in their natural habitat
  • Modern boat complete with hot showers and toilets
  • Wetsuit, snorkel, mask and fins (extra floatation aids available on request).
  • Complete guided commentary and helpful, informative crew
  • Light refreshments on board
  • Complimentary information pack on return from the tour

Experience Excludes

  • Hotel pick-up and drop off
  • Food
  • A fuel surcharge may apply (payable locally)
  • Optional gratuities


Daily year round. Does not operate on 25th December.

Departure location

Dolphin Encounter Office based at Encounter Kaikoura venue on 96 Esplanade.

Start times

8.30am or 12.30pm. There is an additional 5.30am departure from November to April.


Approximately 3.5 hours.

Terms & Conditions

  • Please follow the instructions on your voucher.
  • IMPORTANT: You must be a competent swimmer and be able to swim on your front without the aid of a life jacket. You will, however, be provided with a wetsuit which will aid buoyancy.
  • A reasonable level of snorkelling experience is required.
  • The minimum age for swimming is 8.
  • All tours are dependent on suitable sea and weather conditions.
  • Management of Kaikoura Dolphin Watch reserve the right to restrict the age limit of those participating on the tour if sea conditions are such that it is not suitable for young children to participate.
  • The skipper for the Kaikoura Dolphin Watch may decide on the day of your tour that sea conditions are unsuitable for a child to be on board. Kaikoura Dolphin Watch is unable to provide this information earlier than at the tour time and there is no charge for the cancellation of your reservation if Kaikoura Dolphin Watch deems it unsafe for the child to be on board.
  • Seasickness is not grounds for seeking a refund for the tour.
  • All swimmers participating in the Dolphin Encounter tour are required to complete a medical disclaimer form before joining the trip.
  • If you are asthmatic or have a respiratory condition and are prescribed an inhaler, you will be required to have your inhaler with you on the day in order to participate in a tour.