There is not much that can compare to swimming side by side with dolphins. Dolphins are one of the most social species of animals in the world, and possibly the friendliest non-domesticated animal. New Zealand has so much to offer to tourists, but nothing is as quite as intimate and memorable as swimming with dolphins. Located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, New Zealand is home to plenty of locations that offer tourists the opportunity to swim with these friendly creatures. The top five locations for this unique experience range up and down the coasts of both the North and South Islands.
Number Five: Bay of Plenty. Leaving from Tauranga, voyages don’t have a set course, but rather travel to find dolphins. Those interested in interacting with the dolphins get towed behind the boat via swim line, while the friendly marine animals splash around you. Participants will see a wide range of wildlife, courtesy of the nearby marine sanctuary off the coast of Motiti and Major Islands.
Number Four: Akaroa. While swimming in Akaroa Harbour, you will enjoy the once in a lifetime experience of swimming with Hector’s dolphins, as this is the only place in the world you can swim with the smallest and most rare species of dolphin. Akaroa Harbour is sheltered by volcanic cliffs, and is situated in Banks Peninsula.
Number Three: Marlborough Sounds. Within the sheltered sounds, swimmers will have the unique experience of swimming with five different species of dolphins! This open ocean experience provided by E-Ko allows swimmers to actually interact with dolphins in calm waters. Once the swim is over, E-Ko provides warm drinks and cookies for participants.
Number Two: The Bay of Islands. In the warmest waters in New Zealand, participants have the opportunity to swim with dolphins year round. Learn about the historical significance of these secluded islands while experiencing the dolphins and other wildlife, including baleen whales, orcas, seals, and penguins.
Number One: Kaikoura. Kaikoura’s own Dolphin Encounter was at the forefront of swimming with dolphins, opening in 1989. Dusky dolphins live in these warm waters year round, so tours are offered every day.
Each location and tour is dependent on the weather on that specific day. Companies provide wet suits and snorkeling equipment, but visitors are warmly reminded to bring a towel and clothes to change into after the journey concludes. Don’t forget to bring your camera or mobile phone in order to document this once in a lifetime opportunity! A friendly reminder to check the website of the company you choose for any additional fees that may apply. Happy swimming!