Bay of Islands Day Tour & Swim with Dolphins Cruise

When I came to New Zealand, I found out that there are quite a few places where I could swim with dolphins. So straight away I put this on my 'New Zealand to do list' and always hoped I could make it come true. Last week, I did a three day trip to the Bay of Islands and on one of those days my dream came true. I booked a Bay of Islands Day Tour which included a Swim with Dolphins Cruise with Great Sights New Zealand!

The trip itself goes two times every day, departing at 8:00AM or 12:30AM and the whole trip lasts around 4 hours. I left at 12.30 I took the one from 12:30AM. The boat was built purposefully for swimming with dolphins. The weather was really good, which made it even better when we were able to jump out of the boat and swim.

After we left Paihia harbour, the captain of the boat gave us a short briefing about the boat and dolphins. There were two researchers on the boat as well who told us information about the dolphins and whether we could swim with them or not. If there are baby dolphins in the water, we would not be allowed to swim with them, which is fair enough. Everybody was so excited that we would have a close-up experience with dolphins - these adorable animals. The captain told us that finding dolphins is the most difficult part of this trip because of course the dolphins are wild. Sometimes it takes up to three hours to find them, but at other times it only takes 10 minutes.

dolphins swimming

We were on the boat and searching for dolphins for about 30 minutes then the captain found 'the little black triangles' above the water, which is the dorsal fins of dolphins. We were getting close to that group of dolphins and I felt so excited, it's so hard to describe what my feeling was at that moment. There were 6 dolphins together, the researchers told us that the group of dolphins were travelling so we would wait to see if they stop then we could swim with them. We followed them for a really long distance, I could see they were performing. Sometimes they jumped out of the water and swam in front of our boat. Everyone on the boat was ready with their snorkel gear to jump in and swim with them.

After what seemed like a long time waiting, we were told that we could jump in! So all the people from the boat jumped into the water and no-one cared about how cold the sea water was, the only thing we were thinking about is to swim faster so we could play with wild dolphins. But we could not make it on our first two attempts because the dolphins didn't stop. The third time, which was also our last chance, the dolphins stopped for a while and we had the opportunity to swim with them!

otehei bay bridge

I cannot find words to describe how amazing this feeling is. I felt so close with the sea and the dolphins. And now I can say 'swimming with dolphins - Check!'.

We were so lucky to find dolphins and swim with them for a short time. After that incredible experience, the captain took us to a really beautiful island which is called 'Otehei Bay'. It was like a paradise, white sand beach, green grass, little hills, and brilliant crystal clear water.We did a small hike to the top of the hill, which gives you an incredible view out over the Bay of Islands. On the way back to Paihia, we passed some other fabulous bays.

If you come to New Zealand and want to have a great, unforgettable experience, I really recommend this excellent swimming with dolphins cruise with Great Sights. I believe you will feel the same as me - unable to find words to describe your amazing experience and feeling.


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