Akaroa: Swimming with Wild Dolphins 3-Hour Experience

4.3 / 5

13 reviews

Akaroa: Swimming with Wild Dolphins 3-Hour Experience

From US$ 124.92 per person

Swim with one of the world's rarest and smallest dolphins, the Hector's dolphin, in the wild. Spend up to 45 minutes in the water with these amazing animals.

About this activity

Free cancellation
Cancel up to 24 hours in advance to receive a full refund
Covid-19 precautions
Special health and safety measures apply. Learn more
Mobile ticketing
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Duration 3 hours
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  • Set sail on a 3-hour cruise aboard a heated jet-powered catamaran
  • Swim with wild Hector's dolphins, the world's smallest and rarest dolphins, in a protected harbor
  • Learn how to interact with the dolphins before getting into the water
  • Enjoy an intimate experience with only 12 swimmers per vessel
Full description
Swim with the endangered Hector’s Dolphin, the world’s rarest and smallest oceanic dolphin. On New Zealand’s ultimate dolphin experience, you’ll have the chance to see and swim with Hector's dolphins close up, in the wild.  Check-in at Akaroa’s main wharf and meet the friendly crew who will provide you with a warm wetsuit, mask, snorkel, booties, gloves, and a hood if necessary. Climb aboard the jet-powered catamaran and cruise out into the sheltered harbor. The highly trained crew will give you a safety briefing and explain how to interact responsibly with the dolphins.  With only 12 swimmers permitted per vessel, you’ll have a greater chance of seeing the dolphins up close. Gear up and slip into the tranquil harbor waters to join the dolphins their natural habitat. The covered vessel has no propellers, making it safer for you and the dolphins. Warm up in the heated cabin or take a hot shower afterwards. Hector's dolphins are protected in Akaroa Harbor by a marine mammal sanctuary. The tour operator was the first cruise boat company in the world to gain the coveted Green Globe 21, an international program to ensure best environmental practices. A portion of every ticket sale goes towards the research and conservation of Hector's dolphins.
  • Snorkel, booties, gloves, and wetsuit
  • Private male and female changing rooms
  • Onboard toilets
  • Hot showers and lockers
  • Swim guide and swim skipper
  • Engaging and informative commentary
  • Full safety briefing
  • Life jackets or swimming aids
Covid-19 precautions
Safety measures in place
  • All areas that customers touch are frequently cleaned
Traveler requirements
  • You are required to bring and wear a mask
  • Masks are required while indoors
  • All participants who are over 12 years old must present proof of full vaccination

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Prepare for the activity

Meeting point

Main Wharf, Akaroa, New Zealand. Akaroa is located around 80 to 90 minutes drive from Christchurch city and Christchurch International Airport. Cruise ship passengers will disembark directly onto the main wharf in Akaroa.

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Important information

Know before you go

  • No life jackets are provided. You must be able to swim and a basic level of fitness is required
  • You will be floating in the water and are required to swim to/ from the boat (distances up to 50m)
  • 45 minutes is the max time allowed with dolphins as permitted by the New Zealand Department of Conservation
  • Children must be 8 or older and those between 8 to 12 years must be accompanied by an adult swimmer
  • You must declare any medical conditions which may limit your participation
  • You will need some knowledge of English to understand the safety instructions and emergency procedures. If you do not speak English, you should be able to read and understand the foreign language safety instructions and be confident that you can communicate with the crew using pre-agreed hand signals in the event of an emergency
  • When booking, add on an ‘observer’ ticket if you are travelling with a swimmer. If no one in your party is swimming, book the 'Akaroa Harbor 2-Hour Nature Cruise' instead
Customer reviews

Overall rating

4.3 /5

based on 13 reviews

Review summary

  • Guide
  • Transportation
  • Value for money
  • Safety

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It was amazing!! The dolphins came right up to us! Definitely reccomend swimming out a little further so you have a bit of distance between you and the group..as my partner and I had a lot of close contact with the dolphins. Remaining calm and being patient is important too.

January 11, 2020

October 24, 2020

We had a great experience with the dolphins, some got very close. The organization was good, there was a lot of interesting information about the animals and the luck to see them in their natural environment was great!

March 1, 2020

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Product ID: 180026