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Updated 10:18PM 24 October, 2021


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About Us

We've been sharing unforgettable dolphin encounters with people from all corners of the globe for nearly 30 years

Encounter Kaikoura is owned and operated by three partners; Lynette Buurman, Dennis Buurman and Ian Bradshaw.

Encounter Kaikoura History

The novel idea of swimming with dolphins became a reality in 1989 and was the brain wave of Ian Bradshaw and Rik Buurman. It soon became apparent that the concept had appeal and the tour became a popular option for visitors to Kaikoura. As the business grew it was re-branded to Encounter Kaikoura and in 2004 moved to a larger premise on the Esplanade. This enabled a café and a larger retail space to be added to the tour experience. At the heart of the business lies a commitment to best practice and environmental sustainability and this along with a great love for the marine environment, motivates us to share this passion with our customers in a meaningful and resolute way.

Encounter Kaikoura is recognized as a company which values the environment and not only talks the talk but also puts this commitment into action via its commitment to the objectives and aims of the Encounter Foundation.   The company has successfully achieved the highest level of recognition within the Qualmark accreditation programme, which is gold level achievement, since joining the programme.

Previous to participating in the Qualmark programme, Encounter Kaikoura was a member of EarthCheck and it was this commitment that taught us basics of environmental sustainability and how to measure our performance in a number of key areas within the business.  

We first obtained benchmarking status in 2003 and then proceeded to achieving certification level from 2004 until 2008. We then moved our environmental commitment to participation in Qualmark which was the recognized quality assurance programme for tourism businesses in New Zealand.  Since joining Qualmark we have successfully achieved gold level recognition year on year, of which we are very proud.

The Kaikoura community continues to participate in the Earth Check programme led by the Kaikoura District Council and it is this vision and commitment that has enabled Kaikoura to have achieved the accolade of New Zealand’s only Platinum certified community.  EarthCheck is the world’s leading scientific benchmarking, certification and advisory group for the travel and tourism industry and it is to be applauded that Kaikoura has continued along this pathway for so long and remains committed to the value it brings.


Easy to find, and just a 2.5 hour drive north from Christchurch

Albatross Encounter is based at our Encounter Kaikoura venue, located on the beachfront at 96 Esplanade, Kaikoura, within easy walk of all the central township accommodation.

Kaikoura is Located on the east coast of the South Island of New Zealand.

70 1 1 7 1 1 1 1 KAIKOURA CHRISTCHURCH Kaiapoi Woodend Leithfield Waipara Cheviot Culverden Waiau Parnassus Blenheim Cook Strait Picton Amberley WELLINGTON

Use the + and - tools on the map below to zoom in and out of the Kaikoura streets.

Café Encounter

With spectacular views of the ocean and Seaward Kaikoura Mountain range, our fully licensed cafe provides the perfect setting to enjoy great coffee and cuisine.

Our menu is simple and delicious and along with our well stocked cabinet, beautiful salads and freshly baked items, there is sure to be something that takes your fancy.

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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.