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4.5 star rating: Recommended 9 Reviews

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  • Location:Christchurch, New Zealand
  • Duration:12 hours (approx.)

Kaikoura Swim with Dolphins Tour from Christchurch

Be enchanted on a Kaikoura dolphin swim during a 12-hour day trip from Christchurch. Travel via the rolling hills of North Canterbury to the rugged Kaikoura coastline, a whale-watching paradise where you’ll board a sightseeing boat and dive into the Pacific Ocean with a provided wetsuit and snorkel. Swim alongside dusky dolphins in their natural habitat and learn from your guide how to encourage interaction with one of nature’s most graceful and curious sea mammals. 


  • 12-hour dolphin swim day trip to Kaikoura from Christchurch
  • Travel through scenic North Canterbury to coastal Kaikoura, where the mountains meet the sea
  • Enjoy free time to explore Kaikoura at your leisure
  • Head out onto the ocean waves with your guide and keep an eye on the water for Kaikoura’s famous Dusky dolphins
  • Leap into the waves and enjoy an up-close encounter with the dolphins in their natural habitat
  • Your tour includes all snorkel gear including wet suit, plus hotel pickup and drop-off from centrally located Christchurch hotels

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What You Can Expect

Kaikoura Swim with Dolphins Tour from Christchurch

Swim with friendly Dusky dolphins during your tour to Kaikoura from Christchurch

Kaikoura is the perfect place to view sperm whales, dusky dolphins, seal colonies and flocks of albatross that are attracted the nutrient-rich waters of the South Pacific year-round. Begin your Kaikoura dolphin swim tour with morning pickup from your Christchurch hotel, and settle in aboard the coach for a 2-hour drive north. 

After a scenic journey through North Canterbury, you’ll arrive in the coastal town of Kaikoura. Enjoy lunch at the Craypot Café and Bar (own expense) or use your free time to explore the seaside town on foot.

When it’s time for your dolphin swim, climb into a warm wetsuit and listen to an informative briefing. It’s a short bus journey to the harbor, where you’ll hop aboard a boat and cruise out into the deep ocean.

Listen to your captain’s commentary about methods used to attract New Zealand’s dusky dolphins as you keep an eye out for the tell-tale leaps and splashes of these playful and curious creatures. With the engine cut, strap on your mask, snorkel and flippers, and jump into the sea for an unforgettable dolphin swim.

You can dive down to the depths below or bob about on the water’s surface. Marvel at the grace of these inquisitive and intelligent mammals as they swim energetically around you.

When your time is up, it’s a short boat trip back to Kaikoura where you’ll return via coach to your Christchurch hotel.

Customer Reviews

5 star rating: Highly Recommended August 2015

It was just the 3 of us booked onto the tour over the winter season so we were picked up by Des in his car and had our own ersonalised tour experience which was great! He kept us well informed of many sights along the journey from christchurch to kaikoura, unfortunately the dolphin swim was cancelled, however we swapped to go on the albatross tour which was great and viator refunded the difference in cost. Gary the skipper was a great host and even found us some dolphins! As we had time to kill before the tour, Des took us and showed us the seal colony and done other bits in kaikoura. All in all a great experience and would definitely recommend :

5 star rating: Highly Recommended March 2015

Great tour, well organised, tour guide was very helpful, Encounters Kaikoura were excellent, dolphins were amazing, would highly recommend!

5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2014

Excellent experience with close to 300 dolphins who were very friendly and playful. The guide and equipment were good. It wasn't nearly as cold as I expected (wet suits kept us warm).

5 star rating: Highly Recommended December 2013


5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2011

Totally amazing. Best thing I did in New Zealand and I did a lot! Really really good. Dolphins everywhere, great interactions, beautiful animals. Do it!
Word of warning: at the moment (May/June 2011) Christchurch isnt very busy so this tour may not happen at all, or not on the day you want it to. My 2 dolphin swims got moved around to fit in with numbers so you may need to be flexible.

Maciej B

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2008

Most amazing experience ever! Very personal, friendly tour connecting with the Dolphin Encounter in Kaikoura, which is a one-of-a-kind experience in the world. You can't miss out on this one!!

5 star rating: Highly Recommended August 2008

Amazing, great experience and good staff.

3 star rating: Worth doing March 2013

The dolphin encounter itself was an amazing experience. We got 5 swims and during the first 2 we had dolphins everywhere, swimming in groups all around us. I loved the fact they are wild and there by their own free will, not encouraged or fed. I would not want to swim with dolphins in a captive, artificial environment. I did get sea sick but to be fair they did put out a sea sickness warning and luckily it was after the swims.
My only complaint was the transfer itself, the driver was awful. I've never met a more grumpy, miserable man in all my life. He insisted on picking us up from the boat so we had to lug all our stuff around with us rather then leave it onsite and didn't get a chance to eat after. We were starving after the 3 hour drive back to Christchurch, especially after the seasickness!!

Peta B

1 star rating: I do not recommend this August 2008

The whole day was a debacle. We didn't end up swimming because of weather but this was known before we got on the bus and wasted an entire day. The refund portion we got back would not cover even the entry to the dolphins. Not impressed.
From USD $ 234.04

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Tour code: 2950CLT09


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