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Updated 10:55PM 28 November, 2021


Light air at 3.6km/h

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Welcome to Dolphin Encounter

Where a whole world of marine adventure awaits, come and explore it all with us.

It's your choice at Dolphin Encounter Kaikoura

Dolphins are some of nature’s most extraordinary and captivating creatures. And they’re even more amazing close-up. Immerse yourself in their world with Dolphin Encounter Kaikoura, an unforgettable experience in one of New Zealand’s most breath-taking destinations.


Swimming with dolphins is a life-changing experience

Imagine: you’re in the open ocean, the stunning Kaikoura coast in the distance, the cares and concerns of the world even further away. Then... you are surrounded by wild Dusky Dolphins.

Kaikoura is one of the best places in the world to encounter dolphins in their natural environment!

Dusky Dolphins are known to be one of the most interactive and acrobatic species of dolphin. Thrilling to watch, magical to interact with and here it's all on the dolphins’ terms.

With one of the highest success rates in the world; this bucket list experience is one you will never forget! Don’t hesitate book now and join us aboard!

Book your Dolphin Swim

Choose dolphin-watching from the comfort of the boat

Cruise the stunning Kaikoura coastline, enjoy incredible photographic opportunities, and observe one of the world’s most acrobatic species of dolphin!

The curious Dusky Dolphins are often as interested in the boat and those swimming as we are in them!

Our purpose built vessels allow ample space to take in the spectacle. It is not unusual to see large numbers of dolphins; and their antics both above the water and in it with the swimmers create one of the best wildlife shows you can see anywhere.

Book now. Don’t miss the opportunity to encounter these incredible mammals!

Book your Dolphin Watch
“Simply Awesome!”

“Simply Awesome!”

“Totally unforgettable.”
“The highlight of our whole trip to New Zealand."

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

Kaikoura: A wonder of land and sea.

Kaikoura: A wonder of land and sea.

Kaikoura is a place of extraordinary natural beauty and rich history. Emerging from mountains and lush farmland, the Kaikoura Peninsula is a stepping stone to the world’s greatest marine playground.

Dolphin Conservation: It’s up to all of us.

Dolphin Conservation: It’s up to all of us.

We’re committed to protecting Kaikoura’s dolphins, environment and other marine life. Our tours are designed to operate with the least impact possible. When you swim or tour with us, you can be confident the dolphins and the environment won’t regret your presence.

New Zealand’s original dolphin tours

We’ve been sharing unforgettable dolphin encounters with people from all corners of the globe for over 30 years.

Dolphin Encounter Kaikoura is New Zealand’s first company to offer swimming with dolphins. Since then we have built up a wealth of experience, knowledge and insight interacting with the dolphins and other wildlife found here. We are well versed in the best ways to encounter the dolphins in safe, humane and environmentally-friendly ways (not to mention exciting and fun ones!)

We are proud to have introduced many thousands of visitors to the uniqueness of our local environment, with the abundant and diverse marine life that inhabits this very special part of New Zealand.

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Get a closer encounter

Get a closer encounter

You'll be amongst friends.

See More!

See More!

Dolphins, seals, pelagics and more.

The trip of a lifetime

The trip of a lifetime

That doesn't take all day

We Care!

We Care!

Learn how to help the wildlife

Refund Guarantee

Refund Guarantee

We have a very high success rate

Kaikoura’s Dusky Dolphins

Social. Acrobatic. Delightful. Kaikoura’s dusky dolphins are show stoppers that you’ll remember forever.

They are one of the most acrobatic of the dolphin species, so be ready for the finest dolphin show on earth-because Kaikoura is one of the best places on the planet to encounter them in their natural habitat.

Meet the Kaikoura Dolphins

The Dolphin Encounter tours operate from the Encounter Kaikoura site which is located at 96 Esplanade in Kaikoura. The building is clearly visible and has a large customer car park available for your vehicles to park safely while participating on our tours.

There is also a café which makes it quick and easy to grab a bite to eat and a drink while waiting for the tour to depart and also a gift shop to browse through too. The outdoor courtyard has plenty of seating available and is a pleasant place to spend some time taking in the beautiful views of the ocean and the Kaikoura mountain range beyond.

The Encounter Kaikoura site is a short, 5 minute walk from the town centre and is close to many of the waterfront accommodation providers on the Esplanade.

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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.