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Dolphin Swim Akaroa Harbour

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Key Highlights
  • Guarantee your place on this popular sell-out tour!
  • Go nose to nose with the world′s smallest and rarest dolphins
  • This will be one of the most incredible experiences of your life!
  • Only 12 swimmers so more time for each person with dolphins
  • Generous 75 per cent refund if no dolphins sighted
  • Everything provided - wet suits, masks, snorkels and hot showers
  • Activity Schedule
    When does it run?

    Daily (subject to suitable sea conditions)


    3 hours

    Start time

    Start time: 01 Oct – 30 Nov: 8:30am, 11:30am, 1:30pm (1330h)
    01 Dec – 28 Feb: 6:00am, 8:30am, 11:30am, 1:30pm (1330h)
    01 Mar – 30 Apr: 8:30am, 11:30am, 1.30 pm(1330h)
    01 May – 30 Sep: 1130h (11.30 am)
    Duration: 3 hours

    Meeting Point

    Please make your way to Main Wharf, Akaroa.

    Ending Point

    The activity ends at the starting point.

  • Overview & Itinerary
    Overview Beautiful Akaroa Harbour is the flooded crater of an extinct volcano. Its sheltered waters are a favourite playground of the world’s smallest and rarest dolphins – the Hector’s or New Zealand dolphin.

    On this delightful adventure you can swim with friendly Hector’s dolphins as they gambol in the crystal clear waters of the harbour. Akaroa is the only place on the planet where you can enjoy such close contact with these rare marine creatures. It’s an unforgettable experience and one you will remember forever.

    This cruise is one of the most popular tours in Akaroa, so by booking online you make sure you don’t miss out.

    Everything you need is provided including wetsuits, masks, snorkels, hot showers, and a hot drink. You also get an exciting souvenir pack to remind you of your magical dolphin encounter.


    For your thrilling Dolphin Swim – Akaroa Harbour experience, you should make your way to the historic village of Akaroa, 90 minutes drive from Christchurch. The driving distance from Akaroa to Christchurch is 94 km (58 miles) and it takes just over 1 hour and 20 minutes.

    The adventure begins at Main Wharf, Akaroa. You will receive a 30 minute briefing and then put on your wetsuit (summer) or dry suit (winter) before boarding your jet-propelled catamaran. Everything you need is provided on this tour, including wetsuits/drysuits, masks, snorkels, hot showers and a hot chocolate drink.

    Akaroa Harbour lies in the crater of an extinct volcano, surrounded by towering cliffs. These add to the scenic beauty and ensure that the harbour is very sheltered. In the summer especially, dolphin swims take place inside the sheltered harbour.

    With this tour you will enjoy an incredible experience swimming with Hector’s Dolphins – known to be some of the world’s smallest, friendliest and rarest dolphins. Hector’s Dolphins are protected in Akaroa Harbour by a marine mammal sanctuary and this cruise gives you the chance to see these beautiful creatures close up.

    This tour allows only 12 swimmers per vessel, so you’ll have more chance to come face to face with the dolphins. Where possible the crew will take photos of you swimming with the dolphins and these photos will be available for purchase afterwards (NZD 15.00).

    The thing about viewing or swimming with dolphins is that you are doing it in their natural habitat on their terms, and so dolphins cannot be ‘guaranteed’ on every single trip. Sometimes dolphins may have calves with them, or are feeding, mating or just resting. It’s important not to trouble the dolphins when they are not in the mood to interact.

    Your activity operator offers a 75 per cent refund if dolphins are not sighted at all on your trip. They can do this with confidence because in the last 12 months they saw dolphins on 98 per cent of cruises and had successful swims on 81 per cent of their swim trips.

    During your trip you will have a total of 2 hours on the water, with up to 45 minutes interacting with the dolphins. A hot drink will be provided after your swim. Back at the Wharf you can take a hot shower and debrief on your great adventure. Your tour operator will present you with a souvenir gift pack including a black and silver swim certificate, dolphin information sheet and a postcard, perfect for sending to a friend or relative.

    The tour ends at Main Wharf, Akaroa.

  • Inclusions & Exclusions
    • 3-hour harbour cruise
    • Hot drink
    • Souvenir gift pack (black and silver swim certificate, dolphin information sheet and postcard)
    • Hotel pick-up and drop-off
    • Transportation
    • Swimming with the dolphins photo pack (NZD 15.00)
  • Please note & Additional info
    Please note

    Please call the activity operator at least 24 hours prior to start of the tour for reconfirming departure details.

    The minimum age for swimming with dolphins is 8 years.

    Children must be strong swimmers and under parental supervision.

    Voucher information: You must print and surrender a paper version of your booking voucher for this activity (showing your voucher on a smartphone is not accepted). No refund can be given for customers without a printed copy of their voucher.

    Additional info

    The confirmation voucher includes the local activity operator’s contact details and local telephone numbers at the destination. They will happily answer any logistical questions you may have.

    The maximum number of guests on this tour is 12

  • reviews
    • Dolphin swim Akaroa Harbour

      A beautiful harbour and we had a few dolphins in sight as we entered the harbour aboard the cruise ship. The pre-swim talk was by a young and interesting man who also assisted...

      Mark Eastwood, Australia, 03/Apr/2013

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