Today's Weather

Updated 2:21AM 06 March, 2021


Clear sky
Light breeze at 11.52km/h

Today's Scheduled Trips

Book Now
Book your Encounter Now

Watch the Dolphins

in their own environment

Play Video
COVID-19:  New Zealand, excluding Auckland, is at Alert Level 2 and WE ARE OPERATING in line with government and public health guidelines.

Watching Kaikoura's dusky dolphins has a uniqueness all of its own.

The opportunity to join the tour as a watcher provides spectacular viewing of these acrobatic and energised dolphins. Also witnessing the interaction between swimmers and dolphins is a fascinating experience and could quite accurately be described as the most incredible dolphin show you are likely to see.

Watchers and swimmers travel on the same boat so if someone in your group prefers to watch rather than swim, this is not a problem as all guest will travel together.

The boats are specifically built with optimum viewing in mind and have upstairs decks as well as walk around bows to enable you to capture the perfect images.


The acrobatic displays of the Dusky dolphins will captivate your heart and put a smile on your face.

How to get the Most from your Dolphin Watching Experience

If you have decided that swimming is not for you, watching the dolphins and the people swimming with them has an appeal all of its own.

The displays of acrobatic behaviour, the leaps and somersaults and the peculiar repetitive displays of jumps and tail slapping, provide the most incredible oceanic dolphin show on earth. Not to mention the strange mix of singing and “dolphin-like” sounds that the swimmers are encouraged to make to attract the dolphins’ attention, is hilarious to see. The images you can capture by staying on board and taking in the entertainment all around you is something delightfully unique and unlike anything you will have seen before!

Learn More

What do others say about their encounter?

""Totally unforgettable.""
""Bestest boat experience ever.""
""The highlight of our whole trip to New Zealand.""

When you encouter the dolphins, you leave transformed. Share the experience.

Kaikoura Dolpins

The types of dolphins you can expect to see.

Learn More


Photos and videos from previous tours!

Dolphin Conservation

Protect our very special environment.

Fantastic Local Fare

Coffee and dining at our café, right on the waterfront

Key things to know before your tour

Check out our top tips before the adventure!

Learn More

Kaikoura is renowned for an abundance of wildlife and we do have a very high success rate of locating the dusky dolphins. If for some reason we are not successful in locating the dolphins (due to such things as deteriorating weather conditions) you will receive a refund. All our tours are subject to a minimum operational cost.


The Dolphin Encounter tours are approximately 3.5 hours duration and the time spent on the ocean will be approximately 2.5 hours.The length of time spent swimming with the dolphins can be up to 40 minutes but this depends on the travel time to the dolphins, the sea conditions of the day and the dolphin behaviour at the time of the tour.

Tours operate daily at 5.30am (sunrise tour), 8.30am and 12.30pm

Three tours per day operate in the high season (November to April) (please note these tours are not regularly scheduled for the 2020/21 summer season due to reduced demand) and two tours per day operate in the low season (May to October). The optimal time of day to do the tour is in the morning if possible. The reasons for this are that the sea conditions tend to be calmer earlier in the day and the dolphins can be more interactive, but the number of dolphins does not usually vary too much from tour to tour.

Contact us for further details or click below to make a Dolphin Encounter reservation

We look forward to welcoming you aboard!

Dolphin Encounter Swim



15 years and upwards



8 years to 14 years inclusive

Dolphin Encounter Watch



15 years and upwards



3 years to 14 years inclusive (Note: Ages are subject to sea conditions of the day and restrictions can apply)

* (Please note this pricing is valid to 30 September 2021)

Dolphin Encounter Tours operate daily at 8.30am and 12.30pm. Find information and tips on how to prepare for your tour.

Check availability or BookPurchase Gift Voucher

Caring for Our Natural Environment

Caring for Our Natural Environment

We are privileged to have the abundance of marine life here in Kaikoura and we don’t take this for granted. In 2009 we established the Encounter Foundation specifically to support organizations and groups that are actively working on projects that result in improving the health of the natural environment through conservation, education and research.

We donate a portion of each customer fare to the Encounter Foundation to support worthy projects which make an impact on ensuring our environment is preserved and treasured for future generations.

Thank you for enabling us to do this – your support of our business is making a difference in a very positive way.