Kaikoura Dolphin Watch Cruise

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Full details

Seeing the dolphins frolicking in their natural environment was the highlight of our trip...

Dusky Dolphins inhabit these picturesque coastal waters all year round as you'll discover on this inspiring cruise. Don't for get your cameras as these playful mammals like to perform for their audience!

Our guide to Kaikoura Dolphin Watch Cruise

This tour will give you the opportunity to learn about the dolphins that flock to the stunning coastal waters of Kaikoura in pods of up to a thousand as well as taking some stunning photographs.

Departing from Kaikoura in your comfortable, purpose-built vessel - don't worry, there's plenty of cover if the weather takes a turn for the worse - head out to the Pacific Ocean and keep your eyes peeled.

This is the home of an abundance of wildlife including whales, seals and a wide range of seabirds. However the focus of this trip is the local population of Dusky Dolphins.

Once the expert crew have located these playful creatures, the action begins as these good-natured mammals somersault, leap around your boat and play with the swimmers!

Why not enhance your experience by swimming with the dolphins? Please see our Kaikoura Swim with Dolphins Cruise option for more information.

Throughout the trip, full-guided commentary from the onboard experts will keep you in the loop.


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

Start times

8.30am and 12.30pm. There's an additional 5.30am departure from November to April.


3.5 hours.

Terms and conditions

Terms and conditions for Kaikoura Dolphin Watch Cruise

  • Please follow the instructions on your voucher.
  • 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 deem it unsafe for the child to be on board.
  • Seasickness is not grounds for seeking a refund for the tour.
  • Dolphin sightings or sightings of other specific animals can not be 100% guaranteed.
  • Cancellation Policy: Free cancellations for bookings cancelled prior to your holiday departure date. No refunds are given for cancellations made post departure.


Frequently Asked Questions for Kaikoura Dolphin Watch Cruise

  • What should I bring with me?
    You should bring a bag to take your all your warm clothes, hat and sun glasses. Don’t forget your camera (with full battery) and lots of memory space for those fantastic photo opportunities. Video cameras are also a good option.
  • Is there a dolphin season?
    Dusky dolphins can be seen all year round in Kaikoura, however the water temperature does change seasonally. In summer the temperature can reach 190 C and go down as low as 80 C in winter.
  • Is there a better time of day to do a tour?
    Generally we recommend the morning (5.30am and 8.30am) tours as sea conditions can be calmer and dolphins can be more interactive, but the number of dolphins does not vary too much from tour to tour.
  • Am I guaranteed to see dolphins?
    As we are dealing wild dusky dolphins, we are never able to guarantee their presence. However, Kaikoura is renowned for its abundance and consistency of wildlife and once on the water there is 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 tours are subject to a minimum operational cost.

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