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Kaikoura Swim with Dolphins Tour from Christchurch

star-4.510 Reviews
Christchurch, New Zealand
Kaikoura Swim with Dolphins Tour from Christchurch

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Free cancellation
Up to 7 days in advance. Learn more
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Safety measures
icon12 hours  (approx.)
Pickup from select hotels
Mobile ticket
iconOffered in: English
Good for avoiding crowds


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
Saved to wishlist!
Local guide
Air-conditioned vehicle
Hotel pickup and drop off
Swim with Dolphins
Use of snorkel equipment including wet suit
Fur seal colony viewing

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7:30 AM
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.
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Children must be aged 8 years and over to swim with Dolphins.
  • Customers must declare any pre-existing medical conditions. A basic level of fitness is required. Customers will be floating in the open ocean and will be required to swim to and from the boat - distances up to 50 meters (150 feet) at a time.
  • Once the tour has commenced only the unused portion of the tour will be refunded should the Dolphin boats not sail. If due to Dolphin sightings or weather conditions the boat offers a partial refund, this refund will be passed on to our customers
  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Stroller accessible
  • Service animals allowed
  • Near public transportation
  • Infants must sit on laps
  • Transportation is wheelchair accessible
  • Most travelers can participate
  • Collapsible wheelchairs with removable wheels can be accommodated providing the passenger is accompanied by someone who can assist them board and disembark
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 50 travelers
  • OPERATED BY Leisure Tours
You can cancel up to 7 days in advance of the experience for a full refund.
  • Any changes made less than 6 full days before the experience’s start time will not be accepted.
  • For a 50% refund, you must cancel 3–6 full days before the experience’s start time.
  • If you cancel less than 2 full days before the experience’s start time, the amount you paid will not be refunded.
  • Any changes made less than 2 full days before the experience’s start time will not be accepted.
  • For a full refund, you must cancel at least 7 full days before the experience’s start time.
  • Cut-off times are based on the experience’s local time.
  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund.
  • This experience requires a minimum number of travelers. If it’s canceled because the minimum isn’t met, you’ll be offered a different date/experience or a full refund.

Learn more about cancellations.


10 Reviews
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Reviews by Viator travelers

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Showing 1-9 of 10 reviews
, Dec 2019
An amazing opportunity to get up close and interact with dolphins in the wild. The water had gotten choppy in the morning, but after putting our group on hold for a bit the waves calmed down. We got four drops and saw dolphins at all of them. Most of them aren't interested, so you need to be quick to swim near them before they swim past. That being said, one dolphin at our second drop swam in a couple circles with me, which was one of the most magical experiences ever!
icon Response from Host , Dec 2019
Thank you for the great review for your Kaikoura Swim with Dolphins Tour and for sharing your experiences in the water. I'm really happy you had such a nice time. I did this tour myself several years ago with similar conditions (slightly rough weather) and it was really amazing. As I'm sure you were reminded by the guides, we are the dolphins entertainment - they are not ours - so making noises, diving, splashing, etc, can help you better interact with the dolphins and ensure you get more of those magical moments and experiences. Thanks again for the detailed review of your swim with dolphins tour and I hope you get to visit Christchurch and Kaikoura again soon!
, Feb 2019
Worth all the money in the world, pricey I guess but the experience made it all worth it big time...
It was just the 3 of us booked onto...
Frances R
, Aug 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 :
Great tour, well organised, tour...
Jonathan M
, Jan 2015
Great tour, well organised, tour guide was very helpful, Encounters Kaikoura were excellent, dolphins were amazing, would highly recommend!
Excellent experience with close to...
David R
, Jul 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).
The dolphin encounter itself was an...
, Mar 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!!
Totally amazing. Best thing I did in...
Sophie S
, Jun 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.
Most amazing experience ever! Very...
Maciej B
, Nov 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!!
The whole day was a debacle. We didn't...
Peta B
, Jan 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.

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