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Auckland Dolphin and Whale Watching Eco-Safari Cruise

Badge of ExcellenceAuckland, New Zealand

From US$109.42

Select Date and Travelers

Free cancellation
Up to 24 hours in advance.
  • 4 hours 30 minutes (approx.)
  • Mobile ticket
  • Offered in: English


Cruise the waters of Hauraki Gulf Marine Park in search of whales, dolphins and penguins on a half-day tour from Auckland. You’ll board a spacious catamaran at Viaduct Harbour and hear expert guides share informative commentary about New Zealand’s natural wonders. During the whale and dolphin safari, keep an eye out for six types of whales that frequent these waters, as well as seabirds such as Australasian gannets, petrels and terns.
  • 4.5-hour whale and dolphin watching cruise, from Auckland
  • Ride aboard a custom-built luxury catamaran for a superb viewing experience
  • Keep your eyes peeled for dolphins and as many as six types of whales
  • Observe gannets that hunt by plunging into the water at speeds of up to 87 mph (140 kmh)
  • Listen to entertaining and informative commentary provided by your captain and crew
  • Departs from the Viaduct Harbour, conveniently located in downtown Auckland

What's Included

  • Local guide
  • Every ticket purchased contributes directly to Marine Mammal Conservation
  • Expert commentary/Interaction with our onboard Marine Research Scientists
  • Food and drinks (available to purchase)
  • Hotel pickup and drop-off

Meeting And Pickup

Meeting point

  • New Zealand Maritime Museum
    Corner of Quay and Hobson Street, Auckland CBD, Auckland 1140, New Zealand

    Please arrive at least 15min prior to departure

Start time

10:30 AM

End point

This activity ends back at the meeting point.

What To Expect

Meet the boat crew at the New Zealand Maritime Museum at Viaduct Harbour, and depart aboard a custom-built 65-foot (20-meter) catamaran, comfortably appointed so you can best view up to six types of whales as well as dolphins and other marine life.

Throughout your 4.5-hour cruise, the captain and guides entertain you with fascinating facts about the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park, home to five marine preserves and sprinkled with islands — it's considered one of the world’s most biologically diverse marine parks and home to some 23 different species.

Hear about research conducted in partnerships with local marine scientists and discover which whales the crew tracks. They’ll point out sea mammals such as frequently spotted pods of bottlenose dolphins and Bryde’s whales, native to New Zealand.

Be ready to snap photos of adorable blue penguins. Set your binoculars upon seabirds such as Australasian gannets, petrels, shearwaters and white-fronted terns soaring above or plunging into the sea.

Afterward, the boat returns to Auckland’s Viaduct Harbour, where your tour ends.

Please note: While wildlife viewings cannot be guaranteed, dolphins and whales are often swimming around these waters. In the event that you do not see any marine mammals during your trip, you can go again another day at no extra charge.

Additional Info

  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Advisable to dress in warm layers and weatherproof gear as weather can be unpredictable
  • Advisable to bring sun hat (with chin strap to secure it), sunscreen, sunglasses, camera, binoculars and flat-soled shoes
  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Stroller accessible
  • Service animals allowed
  • Near public transportation
  • Transportation is wheelchair accessible
  • Not recommended for pregnant travelers
  • IMPORTANT: Check in closes 15 minutes prior to stated departure time. Those passengers who are late risk losing their allocated seats.
  • Most travelers can participate
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 99 travelers

Cancellation Policy

You can cancel up to 24 hours in advance of the experience for a full refund.

  • For a full refund, you must cancel at least 24 hours before the experience’s start time.
  • If you cancel less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time, the amount you paid will not be refunded.
  • Any changes made less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time will not be accepted.
  • Cut-off times are based on the experience’s local time.
  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund.
  • This experience requires a minimum number of travelers. If it’s canceled because the minimum isn’t met, you’ll be offered a different date/experience or a full refund.

Traveler Photos

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Traveler Tips

You need to be ready with your camera if you’re going to get those jumping out of the water and showing off their gymnastic skills.
I don't think it was worth the cost of the tour.
1,197 reviews
Total review count and overall rating based on Viator and Tripadvisor reviews
Reviews by Viator travelers.
Showing 1-10 of 1,197 reviews
Seeing Dolphins and Whales is hit or miss
Karen_C, Jan 2023
4.5 hours is a long time to be out on the water, especially when the water is cold and choppy and you don't see even a gold fish. It's not the company's fault, but keep your money on this one, and if you do go, grab a seat on the back of the boat. Being soaked over and over at the bow gets old after about the first 30 mins.
Excellent experience
Raymond_M, Jan 2023
The crew were helpful and explained what was being done during the trip and what data was being collected for research. The Dolphins were a delight to see
Ok, but no real whales and for that too expensive
Niels_S, Jan 2023
Quite expensive price. Only dolphins and a porpoise seen. Not enough seats for children inside. Crew was nice except some exceptions.
Awesome day..
Karen_C, Jan 2023
We saw heaps of dolphins and the crew was helpful and informative. Would recommend doing this to everyone.
Response from Host, Jan 2023
Kia Ora Karen, thank you for your review and recommendation. Glad you had a great cruise with us!
Fantastic safari
Jacqueline_S, Jan 2023
Excellent safari. All crew on board were friendly, knowledgable and passionate about what they do. Would definitely recommend if you are visiting Auckland
Response from Host, Jan 2023
Kia Ora, thank you for your review and feedback regarding our crew. Glad you had a great day out with us.
The crew was wonderful and the boat ride was fun.
john_W, Jan 2023
The weather was great, and the crew could not have been better. Although we did not see any whales or dolphins, we did get to see some little penguins. There’s never a guarantee when you do things like this, that you’ll see any whales and dolphins so I cannot fault the company or the crew and lower the rating. I felt it was very enjoyable and informative ride for the day. I would recommend it.
Response from Host, Jan 2023
Kia Ora, thanks for your review and recommendation. Sorry to hear we could find any whales or dolphins on the day but glad you still had a great cruise.
Fantastic day
Tami_C, Dec 2022
The crew were friendly and cheerful. What a great day !! Great day on the water. Would recommend to anyone
Response from Host, Jan 2023
Kia Ora Tami, thank you for your 5-star review and recommendation. Glad you had a great day out on the water.
Whales, dolphins, penguins & a hammerhead shark
Jon_O, Dec 2022
Had a great time! Staff is very knowledgeable and care about what they do. Very happy that so much goes back to the environment through their research.
Response from Host, Jan 2023
Kia Ora Jon, thank you for your review and so happy you had a great day out with us.
Great eco-friendly trip
Tony_M, Dec 2022
Seeing easily more than 100 dolphins and 3 or 4 whales in the water during the cruise was phenomenal. I loved the attention to detail and animal welfare and respect to the wildlife shown by the crew. A completely family friendly cruise with wow after wow after wow after wow after wow. We actually went longer than expected because the conditions were so good. An amazing experience everyone should have.
Response from Host, Jan 2023
Kia Ora Tony, thank you for your review and great comments. Really appreciate your comments about our crew and the respect they show.
Titti_T, Dec 2022
We were lucky to spot 3 Brydes whales. And à LOT of dolphins and some penguins nice weather and good crew
Response from Host, Jan 2023
Kia Ora Titti, thank you for your 5-star review. So happy you got to see a wide range of mammals and penguins.
Incredible experience! 1000% recommend!
Raisa_A, Dec 2022
Amazing experience. We were very lucky to see dolphins and whales on such a glorious day! The staff were very friendly, funny and knowledgeable. Really recommend this tour especially as it is an eco tour which strives hard to help the marine life in Hauraki Gulf. Please reapply sunscreen and wear a hat as I got sun burnt!
The staff were so...
Michelle_F, Dec 2022
The staff were so friendly beautiful weather great vessel couldn’t believe how many dolphins 🐬 was hoping to see at least one .And to see 5 whales as well I was overwhelmed. Definitely recommend an experience I will never forget 😊
Experience of a lifetime
Amy_S, Dec 2022
Unbelievable experience of a life time! The crew was fantastic, very careful and courteous, highly knowledgeable - and great at explaining everything we were seeing. They expertly positioned the boat to maximize the chances of seeing whales and dolphins - and a complete success! Amazing whale encounters (one whale circled the boat leaving a trail of bubbles in its wake), equally among dolphin encounters as well. I’ll recommend this company to anybody I know coming to visit Auckland. THANK YOU!!!
Great experience, crew was great!
Kaitlin_C, Dec 2022
Had to reschedule a few times due to weather but was worth it. Saw whales and dolphins and the crew were extremely knowledgeable.
Amazing day, amazing...
Monique_G, Dec 2022
Amazing day, amazing crew, an amazing experience! Wonderful to see dolphins in the wild so close up. We would recommend it to everyone.
Excellent day out
Julie_J, Dec 2022
Although we didn’t spot any whales, we had a fabulous trip. We saw a couple of penguins, several pods of dolphins and the very impressive fishing skills of multitudes of gannets. Crew were warm, very knowledgeable and engaging, a super day !
Good for the first hour
Scott_H, Dec 2022
Dolphins were neat to watch. Didn’t see any whales. Most activity happened in the first hour and for the last couple hours most people were sleeping as there was nothing happening. This of course can happen on these tours since the operators can’t control what wildlife we encounter. Was a little frustrating that the tour was supposed to end at 3pm, and around 1:45 they asked if anyone has to be back by 3pm. We confirmed that we did need to be back by 3pm, yet it took until 3:25 before we were docked. We had a different tour at 4pm, so this was frustrating and we were late. Thankfully the next activity waited for us.
Great day out
Sam_C, Dec 2022
Excellent day. Highly recommend. Saw lots of dolphins. The team did their best to find whales but they were elusive. A lot of activity on the gulf so can’t blame them 😂
A perfect marine Eco-tour!
KamHo_W, Dec 2022
Probably the best Eco-tour I've had! So many common dolphins swimming around the cruise! Witnessing numerous seabirds plunge-diving multiple times is also a spectacular experience! However, the most precious part of the tour is definitely spotting two Bryde's whales! It is so fortunate for us to see them! The marine guides are also so professional in explaining the behaviors of marine life, the importance of marine research and encouraging the marine conservation in New Zealand! Highly recommend it!
1st thing you should book while in Auckland !
Dan_A, Nov 2022
Alex / Zara / Emily were the crew absolutely fantastic extremely knowledgeable about anything to do sea creatures and Alex and Emily were marine biologists so happy to share their knowledge. We saw a ton of dolphins and a couple of whales but the high lite for me was seeing 1000’s gannets dive bombing for food 200 meters in front of boat. This tour is well worth every penny. Highly recommend!