5 Best Places to See Dolphins in New Zealand
Have you heard the fact about Dolphin intelligence? Research and observations in recent years have revealed that whales and dolphins not only have the ability to learn as individuals, but those individuals can then pass their new knowledge onto others. This is a rare intelligence in the animal kingdom. Just by knowing these, doesn’t that make them extra extra adorable?
Today, we’ll be gathering a list for the 5 Best Places to See Dolphins in New Zealand!
Watchers and swimmers alike are almost guaranteed to come across friendly dusky dolphins (pictured) and hector’s dolphins, whether they were looking for them or not. It is also possible to see the common dolphin and bottlenose dolphin all year round. There’s no need to travel far to have a world-class wildlife adventure. With over 1/3 of all marine-mammal species seen here, Auckland is the perfect place for that once-in-a-lifetime encounter you’ve always dreamed of.
There are more opportunities to see common and bottlenose dolphins, along with killer whales, and occasionally even something as magnificent as a baleen whale. Their tours take you out past Mount Maunganui into the Bay of Plenty. For example, some way beyond the Mount, there’s this huge, tiara-shaped rock formation rising out of the sea like Ursula at the end of The Little Mermaid – I really enjoyed sailing by that.
Akaroa is the place to see Hector’s dolphins, though it’s a charming village in itself. Conveniently located near Christchurch, it was originally settled by French immigrants so, of course, you get the whole culture of fancy food and wine. Although, if I remember correctly, when my family visited Akaroa in our New Zealand campervan, we ended up going to a Thai restaurant. What a waste.
You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to dolphin tourism; operators in the Bay of Islands are no exception. You go out on a ferry, sail around a bit until you find dolphins, and hope they’re attracted to your bow wave. They usually are. It’s apparently marvellous fun for them to swim in. Then, if the dolphins don’t have any calves with them, you’re allowed to get in the water. Sometimes, the dolphins will come right up to you.
A town famous for its whale watching: here, you can see sperm whales, humpback whales, and even sometimes a blue whale. There are opportunities to swim with dusky dolphins all year round in Kaikoura. This species of dolphin is known for its acrobatic ability, so swimmers could be in for bonus entertainment. There does seem to be a greater variety of dolphin species hanging around the South Island rather than the North.
Pro Tip: If you’re planning to visit the 5 Best Places to See Dolphins in New Zealand, make sure to do your research first; also try looking to book your flights using online travel agencies as they tend to, on average, reduce airfare costs by about 43%, a few good ones being Flighthub.com, Travelocity.com, JustFly.com or Expedia.com.