Insider's Guide to Christchurch

Major attractions, tips and our top things to see and do.

Get the
Inside Scoop

Privacy Policy

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 21 Reviews

5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
  • Location:Akaroa, New Zealand
  • Duration:3 hours (approx.)

Swimming with Dolphins in Akaroa

Swim with dolphins at Akaroa Harbour, where Hector’s dolphins — found only in New Zealand — ply the waters of the Banks Peninsula. Cruising the sheltered harbor by jet-powered catamaran so you can swim up close, you’ll learn from the highly trained crew how to interact safely with the world’s smallest and rarest dolphins. Just 10 passengers are permitted per vessel, ensuring an intimate experience in a small group. Wetsuit, masks and snorkel are provided, along with a hot shower on board.


  • Swim with the rare and beautiful Hector's dolphins on this once in a lifetime experience
  • Enjoy a 2-hour cruise by a heated jet powered catamaran
  • Receive a 30-minute briefing on how to interact with the dolphins before spending 1-hour with these beautiful creatures
  • Includes wetsuit, mask and snorkel equipment
  • Small and intimate experience, only 10 swimmers permitted per vessel

What You Can Expect

Swimming with Dolphins in Akaroa

Swimming with Dolphins in Akaroa

Start your swim-with-dolphins tour in New Zealand’s South Island by climbing aboard a jet-powered catamaran at Akaroa Harbour — the flooded crater of an extinct volcano surrounded by awe-inspiring volcanic cliffs. During a briefing and instruction on how to interact with the curious and playful Hector’s dolphins, learn what to expect prior to your water adventure. Then don your provided wetsuit, mask and snorkel, and slip into the tranquil harbor to observe these magnificent marine mammals up close.

Your highly trained crew ensures your safety on a memorable dolphin swim during this 2-hour tour, popular due to the limited number of passengers permitted per departure. The covered vessel has no propellers, making it safer for you and the dolphins.

After your dolphin swim you can warm up quickly in the heated cabin or take a hot shower, available on board.

This tour operator was the first cruise boat company in the world to get the coveted Green Globe 21, an international program to ensure best environmental practices.

Customer Reviews

Georgina T

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2016

The guys from Black Cat were amazing. We had such a great time. Swimming with the Hectors Dolphins a once in a lifetime experience Awesome

Amit P

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2016

Took this tour on Dec 26, 2015. It was one of the best activities we did on South Island. My kids didn and #39;t swim with dolphins but afterwards were whining for missing the best part. The staff was super friendly and polite.

They provide swim suit which keeps warm and float.

Heather M

5 star rating: Highly Recommended December 2015

Such an amazing experience. I love the fact that this is based on the conservation of the dolphins, they do not feed or make sounds to encourage the dolphins but rather leave it up to the natural curiosity of them to some check out the humans floating in their waters. The crew was great, very knowledgeable and ensured we had a fabulous time.

Florian B

5 star rating: Highly Recommended March 2015

Incredible expierience! I love it!

Megan A

5 star rating: Highly Recommended March 2015

We had a great time on the harbour. The dolphins were about. The swimming was fine and the wet suits warm.

Andrew S

5 star rating: Highly Recommended March 2015

This tour was amazing!


5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2014

The drive was pretty to the small town of Akaroa. We arrived, and it was an overcast drizzly morning. By the time we got out on the water, the sun came out and the clouds cleared away. We sighted 10-15 dolphins, and were able to get out of the boat twice. The second time, the dolphins were more interested and started swimming through the group. It was fun vocalizing in the water through our snorkels to attract the dolphins. When we got back to the dock, the clouds came back and it started raining hard. We had the perfect window to go out. And the entire staff was very friendly and knowledgeable. I highly recommend the hot water poured into the back of our wetsuit! :-)

Jennifer F

5 star rating: Highly Recommended March 2014

Very friendly and interesting staff. We would recommend the company to anyone wishing to experience the dolphins.

Sheldon W

5 star rating: Highly Recommended February 2014

Great if you like - I mean, really like - dolphins. The trip went well, staff were proficient and competent in explaining the natural history of these dolphins. They emphasized that, as wild creatures in their natural environment, guarantees of behaviour could not be made. In the event we had only limited contact with these mammals and, although this met the terms of our booking, they voluntarily provided a partial refund. If you like dolphins this firm presents itself as knowledgeable and of high integrity. I strongly commend and recommend them.

Mandy M Australia

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2014

I found this tour very interesting. The staff were very friendly. We saw several dolphins close to the boat but unfortunately none of them stayed close by so we couldn't actually swim with the dolphins. We got refunded $50 because of that which was great. On the way back we also got some hot chocolate. I'd go again if I was ever in the area again.

From USD $ 58.40

View price calendar

Low Price Guarantee

Select Travel Date

Flexible Date Guarantee

Enter Total Number of Travelers

What's this, and can I change it?

Please note: After your purchase is confirmed we will email you a link to your voucher.
What's this?

Tour code: 3661SWDS_SWDW


Viator uses cookies to improve your experience on our website. Learn more about how we use cookies and how to change your cookie settings | Close message