01 February 2024

Why We Don't Swim With The Dolphins

We often get asked why we don't swim with the dolphins, and here is why: 
  • For conservation reasons, we do not offer swimming with dolphins.
  • Our priority is to share the stunning beauty of our backyard with our guests while minimizing our impact on the dolphins and their natural behavior.
  • Research shows that swimming with dolphins can disturb their natural behavior.
  • Additionally, we do not support swimming with captive dolphins, which is still a practice in some countries. We believe this practice should be abolished completely.
  • Though we are named Akaroa Dolphins and dolphin viewing is a key aspect of our tour, we also offer a nature cruise, providing guests with a chance to learn about the history and culture of the area and witness the diverse wildlife that calls Akaroa harbour home.


We are committed to protecting what we love and hopefully, this inspires you to play your part in acting as a kaitiaki (guardian) of your special place, wherever that may be.


Akaroa Dolphins holds a Department of Conservation Marine Mammal viewing permit and is a SMART operator. 

Here at Akaroa Dolphins, our mission is to give an authentic, personal and luxurious harbour nature cruise, with a focus on enriching the environment and community. 

As a holder of a New Zealand Department of Conservation Marine Mammal Viewing Permit, we are legally authorized to take guests on dolphin and seal viewing tours. We are proud to be one of only two year-round operators in Akaroa Harbour with this permit, so we encourage you to choose responsibly.

In Akaroa Harbour, a moratorium is in place, preventing the issuance of new permits for viewing or swimming with marine mammals. Nevertheless, there exist a few unlawful operators operating without permits. This moratorium is primarily aimed at safeguarding Hector's dolphins, backed by scientific research. Unfortunately, the Department of Conservation (DOC) lacks the resources required to effectively enforce its licensing regulations. When you purchase a ticket for Akaroa Dolphins, a portion of the proceeds is dedicated to supporting research and educational efforts concerning the endangered Hector's dolphins and other marine mammals that inhabit Akaroa Harbour and New Zealand. These unlicensed operators often charge the same or even higher prices per ticket, exerting unnecessary pressure on our cherished taonga (treasures) and, in the process, violating the law.

To view all of our sustainability commitments please CLICK HERE!