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New Zealand has many dolphin species and swimming with dolphins is considered by many visitors to this country one of the best experiences they’ve had.

Dolphins are large, gentle, intelligent creatures who seem to seek out human company, playing, frolicking, even communicating. When you encounter them, swimming or diving, and you spend time with them, you leave entranced, enthralled and, yes, humbled that you had this incredible encounter. You feel privileged.

Of the species, there’s the common dolphin and the large bottle-nosed dolphin which can often be more than three metres in length (it’s all right, they are very gentle). There’s the smaller dusky dolphin is less than two metres long but very playful. And then there’s the Hector’s dolphin, one of the world’s smallest and rarest dolphins found only in our waters. There are many dolphin watching and swimming tours. They are all different but the encounters are never less than special. And, to reassure you, the cruise operators take extraordinary care to make sure that the dolphins are not harmed. In many operations part of the tour price goes towards dolphin conservation.

Christchurch - Canterbury
Pod of dophins, Christchurch - Canterbury

By Dennis Buurman

Dusky dolphins seen on an Encounter Kaikoura boat

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