Water activity

From Paihia or Russell: Hole in the Rock Dolphin Cruise

From Paihia or Russell: Hole in the Rock Dolphin Cruise

Activity provider: Explore Group New Zealand

From US$ 91.82 per person

Cruise the Bay of Islands aboard a luxury catamaran and discover the famous Hole in the Rock at Motukokako Island. Spy secluded beaches and coves, keep a sharp eye out for dolphins, and enjoy a stop at one of the islands.

About this activity

Free cancellation
Cancel up to 24 hours in advance for a full refund
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Covid-19 precautions
Special health and safety measures are in place. Check your activity voucher once you book for full details.
Duration 3 - 4 hours
Check availability to see starting times.
Live tour guide
Audio guide included
Chinese, French, German


  • Say ‘kia ora’ to dolphins, whales, and other marine life
  • Listen to engaging, informative commentary from your friendly crew
  • Sail among the 144 isles in the Bay of Islands
  • Cruise through the iconic and narrow Hole in the Rock
  • Benefit from Wi-Fi on board the cruise
Full description

Embark on a catamaran tour of the Bay of Islands from Paihia or Russell. Enjoy insightful commentary as you visit famous sights, including the "Hole in the Rock" and make a stop at Urupukapuka Island.

Board your vessel in Paihia or Russell and glide out through the islands. Cruise along the Rakaumangamanga Peninsula to Cape Brett, where a historic lighthouse watches over the famous ‘Hole in the Rock’. 

The natural sculpture, one of New Zealand's most popular attractions, was created from centuries of sea and wind erosion. According to Maori legend, local warriors paddled through the Hole in the Rock in their canoes before departing for battle. Drops of water from the cave roof were a good omen.

Take in the Grand Cathedral Cave before heading back into the bay. Keep an eye out for common and bottlenose dolphins, whales, and other marine life. 

Cruise in comfort aboard the Dolphin Seeker with indoor and outdoor seating and the Bay of Island's largest outdoor viewing decks. Treat yourself to snacks and a licensed bar on board, or enjoy the Otehei Bar Café and Bar on Urupukapuka Island.

  • 4.5-hour scenic cruise
  • Engaging and informative commentary in English
  • Indoor and outdoor seating
  • Large outdoor viewing deck
  • Dolphin and Hole in the Rock viewing
  • Food and drinks (available for purchase onboard)

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Meeting point

Meeting point may vary depending on the option booked.

Important information

What to bring

  • Sunglasses
  • Sun hat
  • Waterproof camera
  • Biodegradable sunscreen
  • Jacket

Know before you go

  • Snacks and licensed bar are available onboard, or enjoy our menu at the stunningly located Otehei Bar Café and Bar on Urupukapuka Island
  • This tour operator is licensed by the Department of Conservation to view marine mammals, including Bottlenose Dolphins
Customer reviews

Overall rating

4.5 /5

based on 338 reviews

Review summary

  • Guide
  • Transportation
  • Value for money
  • Safety

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We didn't see any dolphins, that's just simple luck of the draw. We didn't go thru the hole in the rock, it was calm as out there but the waves around the hole were 1.5 meters and I totally agree with the decision it was not safe access, but we did get within 10 meters. The crew were top notch, brilliant communication, being social, excellent commentary. Best crew I've sailed with, just a shame no dolphins around that day. Overall experience, 9 of ten, would have even perfect if dolphins showed up

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January 3, 2023

Recommend to go for this tour when it is not winter/rainy season. We went on a day when the sea was choppy and it was raining so we did not go to the Hole in the Rock neither did we see dolphins. They did give us an option at the start to get a refund, but we went ahead anyway. Still we are grateful for the crew members who know their way around the waters and we still managed to go see the Bay of Islands. The stopover at Urupukapuka was pretty nice! Great scenery! Though the food at the only food joint there was quite overpriced. Overall quite a unique tour. Would have preferred going when the weather was sunny.

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July 28, 2022

Fantastic trip for all ages. I took a couple of my kids along and they loved the whole experience. From the fast boat surging through the swell to the dolphins that swam past. The stop at the island for lunch was excellent. Beautiful sunny day with a fantastic lawn to sit out on and enjoy the view and some food from the cafe. We very much appreciated the information and banter from our guide and captain. The crew were also super friendly and helpful.

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July 12, 2022

Product ID: 21028