Add dates
Bay of Islands

Dolphin & Whale Watching

Our most recommended Bay of Islands Dolphin & Whale Watching

From Paihia or Russell: Hole in the Rock Dolphin Cruise

1. From Paihia or Russell: Hole in the Rock Dolphin Cruise

Embark on a catamaran tour of the Bay of Islands from Paihia or Russell. Enjoy insightful commentary as you visit famous sights, including the "Hole in the Rock" and make a stop at Urupukapuka Island. Board your vessel in Paihia or Russell and glide out through the islands. Cruise along the Rakaumangamanga Peninsula to Cape Brett, where a historic lighthouse watches over the famous ‘Hole in the Rock’.  The natural sculpture, one of New Zealand's most popular attractions, was created from centuries of sea and wind erosion. According to Maori legend, local warriors paddled through the Hole in the Rock in their canoes before departing for battle. Drops of water from the cave roof were a good omen. Take in the Grand Cathedral Cave before heading back into the bay. Keep an eye out for common and bottlenose dolphins, whales, and other marine life.  Cruise in comfort aboard the Dolphin Seeker with indoor and outdoor seating and the Bay of Island's largest outdoor viewing decks. Treat yourself to snacks and a licensed bar on board, or enjoy the Otehei Bar Café and Bar on Urupukapuka Island.

3 Hour - Hole in the Rock Cruise with Island Stopover

2. 3 Hour - Hole in the Rock Cruise with Island Stopover

Departing from Paihia or Russell, join us on a small group cruise through the Bay of Islands. Keep an eye out for Marine Wildlife as we cruise along the coastline making our way out into the islands. Listen to commentary from your tour guide as they relay the history of the area, and visit the landing site of Captain James Cook on Roberton Island. Experience Cathedral Cave on Motukokako Island and the Hole in the Rock - if weather permits, we will even CRUISE THROUGH the Hole in the Rock! Take in the scenery of the stunning Cape Brett Peninsular and Lighthouse Enjoy a stopover on one of the 144 Remote Islands in the Bay of Islands, take a short walk to one of the island lookout points, and help feed the schools of fish in the Voluntary Marine Reserve.

Auckland: Bay of Islands Tour with Waitangi Treaty Grounds

3. Auckland: Bay of Islands Tour with Waitangi Treaty Grounds

Take an epic road trip from Auckland to one of the most spectacular parts of New Zealand, the Bay of Islands. This route offers breathtaking scenery of rugged mountain ranges, rainforests, deep gorges, and the clear blue ocean. You will be travelling in an air-conditioned Mercedes-Benz, in the company of a highly knowledgeable local tour guide.  First, board a boat to make your way through the pristine islands towards the Cape Brett Peninsula and its historic lighthouse. If conditions permit, sail safely in the hands of your knowledgeable skipper through the majestic "Hole in the Rock". Marvel at the bottlenose dolphins and a host of other marine life en route.  Next, enjoy an inspiring cultural experience at the birthplace of New Zealand, the Waitangi Treaty Grounds. Enjoy an informative tour with your local Maori guide, as well as a high-energy Maori cultural performance. You will also have ample time to explore Waitangi’s heritage buildings, such as the Treaty House, home to the first British resident. Watch live demonstrations in the Carving Studio, and take photos beside the world’s largest ceremonial war canoe. Visit the Museum of Waitangi, which holds a stunning collection of treasured objects called "taonga" that brings to life the history of the Treaty of Waitangi, the founding document of New Zealand.

From Auckland: 3-day Highlights of North Island Tour

4. From Auckland: 3-day Highlights of North Island Tour

Day 1: Explore the awe-inspiring Waitomo Glowworm Caves with the spectacular limestone formations and the amazing boat trip through the Glowworm Grotto. Journey to Middle-earth and marvel at the enchanting Hobbiton Movie Set, a picturesque, highly-elevated 1250-acre farm with spectacular panoramic views as you soak up the idyllic setting with the 44 Hobbit holes where The Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit Movie Trilogies were filmed. Be fascinated as the magical world of Hobbiton comes to life; see and take photos in front of your favourite places: the Hobbit Holes, the Shire, the Green Dragon Inn. Continue to Rotorua to the World Famous Te Puia, home to remarkable geothermal features, including the famous Pōhutu geyser as well as rich layers of Māori culture. There are lush nature trails teeming with native bird life and you will even find New Zealand iconic native flightless bird, the Kiwi, on site. Throughout the day, marvel at the stunning scenery en route as we journey off the motorways into the real hinterland of New Zealand. Day 2: This is the most comprehensive 8-hour Auckland tour available and showcases the spectacular beauty, history, culture, fauna and flora of Auckland. We venture further afield into the stunning countryside of Auckland with its rugged West Coast and black sand beaches and take you off the beaten track so you can see the real Auckland. Marvel at the stunning attractions and unspoiled scenery of Auckland. Day 3: On your final day we travel north over the Auckland Harbour Bridge with our destination, the Bay of Islands. Marvel at the spectacular and ever-changing rural and coastal scenery and sub-tropical bush as we head initially to Pahia. You will then embark on a 3-hour cultural journey of discovery through New Zealand’s most important historic site, The Waitangi Treaty Grounds, New Zealand’s first historic landmark. This will start with a guided tour of the expansive Treaty Grounds and discover the amazing stories, people and events that shaped the past, present and future of New Zealand. This will then be followed by a live Maori cultural performance with an authentic, high-energy concert inside the beautifully carved meeting house that will leave you spellbound. Experience waiata (songs), learn about traditional weaponry and witness New Zealand’s famous haka (war dance). Explore the museum with its stunning collection of taonga ((treasured objects), the carving studios and take a bushwalk and experience the world’s largest ceremonial war canoe. Then after your lunch, you’ll board the high-speed catamaran, Dolphin Seeker, with its large viewing windows as you cruise past numerous islands in the Bay. Keep a lookout for the dolphins, whales and other marine life as you head past Cape Brett Lighthouse before arriving at the simply majestic Hole in The Rock. If conditions permit your skipper will navigate you through the narrow space before returning to Paihia for your return journey to Auckland.

Frequently asked questions about Bay of Islands Dolphin & Whale Watching

What are other things to do than Dolphin & Whale Watching that are worth visiting in Bay of Islands?

The other unmissable things to do in Bay of Islands are:

Which Bay of Islands Dolphin & Whale Watching are taking additional COVID-19 precautions?

Other Sightseeing Options in Bay of Islands

Want to discover all there is to do in Bay of Islands? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Bay of Islands

Overall rating

4.3 / 5

based on 21 reviews

Fantastic trip for all ages. I took a couple of my kids along and they loved the whole experience. From the fast boat surging through the swell to the dolphins that swam past. The stop at the island for lunch was excellent. Beautiful sunny day with a fantastic lawn to sit out on and enjoy the view and some food from the cafe. We very much appreciated the information and banter from our guide and captain. The crew were also super friendly and helpful.

Booked this trip on my own while in the Bay of Islands. Great trip to see the Hole in the rock, and plenty of time to explore the islands. Boat was comfortable and the guides were really informative!

Such an amazing day. Saw two pods of dolphins during the trip and then seals at the hole in a rock. My four year old loved it - a day to remember

It was the best trip. Had everything. Great weather. Good commentary. Hole in the rock. And many dolphins

Great vessel and captain. Very interesting commentary. Good attention to safety.