The Dolphin Encounter tour is an open ocean experience and for maximum enjoyment participants need to have swimming ability and a good degree of water confidence. A reasonable level of snorkelling experience is an advantage but not essential. Swimming with the Dolphins is an exertive activity and demands a reasonable level of physical fitness for those wishing to participate. . The entire tour is approximately three and a half hours in duration and very often we observe other marine life on the tours such as the New Zealand Fur Seal, Albatross and occasionally Orca.
All snorkelling equipment as well as wetsuits are provided for swimmers on the tour. You will need to bring a swimsuit, towel, warm clothing, daypack and a camera.
The swimming component of the tour is limited by way of Department of Conservation permits. These permits allow only 14-16 swimmers in the water at one time per boat. Demand for swimming is high so it is necessary to make reservations well in advance, and this is why we do not have open date tickets to avoid disappointment. There is adequate room for spectating and space for this option is not as limited.
All tours are subject to suitable weather conditions. The sea conditions can change very quickly along the Kaikoura coast at little notice.
Full body wetsuit with hood and snorkelling equipment are provided for swimmers on the tour. Prescription masks are also available on request.
To swim on the tour you must be a confident swimmer as this is an OPEN OCEAN activity. No special conditions apply to watching.
Our vessels are purpose built and fitted with hot showers and toilets. The cabin is heated and blankets are available on board each vessel.
All children wishing to swim must be 8 years old or older. To watch on the tour children must be 5 years or older however in perfect conditions the skipper may allow 3 and 4 year olds. Children on the tour are always at the skippers discretion on the day.
Reconfirmation and Reporting Times:
Reconfirmation of all reservations is required the day prior to the tour by 4.00pm. Failure to reconfirm will result in cancellation of the reservation.
Cancellations or changes by customers must be received by the very latest 4pm on the day prior to the tour. For any change or cancellation after this time a full fare penalty will apply.
As our tours take place out on the open ocean, seasickness can occur. It is recommended that those affected procure medication in advance of the tour. Seasickness is not cause to seek a refund at the completion of the tour.
We have three dedicated Dolphin Encounter vessels with capacity ranging from 14 to 35 passengers.