Auckland Whale & Dolphin Safari

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Considered one the most biologically and geographically diverse marine parks in the world, the Auckland Whale & Dolphin Safari takes you out on the beautiful Hauraki Gulf where whales and dolphins can regularly be seen all year-round.

Our guide to Auckland Whale & Dolphin Safari

Considered one of the most biologically and geographically diverse marine parks in the world, 22 species of marine mammal have been identified in the Hauraki Gulf, almost one third of the entire world's population of species. 

Departing from Viaduct Harbour, board the 20 metre luxury high-speed catamaran and head out into the picturesque gulf.

You'll never know what you're going to see around these waters but it might be the bottlenose dolphins that are frequently spotted playing around the boats or seabirds such as Australasian gannets, petrels, shearwaters, white-fronted terns, and penguins..

Wherever the most exciting whale and dolphin activity is, your captain and expert guides will try to find it for you while also showing you some of the most significant cultural and historical parts of this amazing maritime park and providing informative commentary.

While specific wildlife viewings cannot be guaranteed, dolphins and whales are often swimming around the waters - please note, in the event that you do not see any marine mammals during your trip, you can go again another day at no extra charge.

Terms and conditions

Terms and conditions for Auckland Whale & Dolphin Safari

  • Please check in for your trip 15 minutes prior to departure.
  • Exact routes vary depending on tidal and wind condition.
  • For the safety of the passengers Auckland Whale and Dolphin Safari Ltd reserve the right to cancel any trip due to wind, weather, or sea state. If there are less than minimum passenger numbers or unexpected issues arise on the boat the trip may also be cancelled.
  • If you do not see any marine mammals, you can cruise again for free until you do. This complimentary voucher is valid regardless of how long it is until you visit again and is not transferable. Dolphins are spotted on over 90% of trips and whales on over 70% of trips, so your odds are really good!
  • Auckland is a micro-climate that is notoriously changeable. One moment it’s hot and the next minute it’s, well…not! So it’s best to be prepared and bring layers, like a light wind jacket or vest and a warm top. It’s also useful to have a sun hat (with chin strap – you don’t want it blowing away), sunscreen, sunglasses, camera and binoculars. Lastly, please bring flat soled shoes. Anyone wearing heels will be asked to remove them.
  • The trip generally takes about 4.5 hours, but this can change depending on conditions. It is the skipper’s call to return early, which they may make if the sea and wind conditions deteriorate. Passenger's safety and comfort is always the first priority (and being seasick is no fun). No cash refunds will be given if the Dolphin Explorer has to return early. Some trips may be slightly longer than the scheduled 4.5 hours (normally by 15—30 mins) if the boat finds something special on the way home. Agreement from all of the passengers on board will be sought to spend additional time on the water, and there is no extra charge.
  • Cancellation Policy: Free cancellations for bookings cancelled prior to your holiday departure date. No refunds are given for cancellations made post departure.

FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions for Auckland Whale & Dolphin Safari

  • What should I wear?
    Auckland is a micro-climate that is notoriously changeable. One moment it’s hot and the next minute it’s, well…not! So it’s best to be prepared and bring layers, like a light wind jacket or vest and a warm top. It’s also useful to have a sun hat (with chin strap – you don’t want it blowing away), sunscreen, sunglasses, camera and binoculars. Lastly, please bring flat soled shoes. Anyone wearing heels will be asked to remove them.
  • How long does the trip last?
    The trip generally takes about 4.5 hours, but this can change depending on conditions. It is the skipper’s call to return early, which they may make if the sea and wind conditions deteriorate. Passenger's safety and comfort is always the first priority (and being seasick is no fun). No cash refunds will be given if the Dolphin Explorer has to return early. Some trips may be slightly longer than the scheduled 4.5 hours (normally by 15—30 mins) if the boat finds something special on the way home. Agreement from all of the passengers on board will be sought to spend additional time on the water, and there is no extra charge.