North Island
Dolphin & Whale Watching

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Our most recommended North Island 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.

Whitianga: Cathedral Cove, Small Caves & Snorkel Boat Trip

2. Whitianga: Cathedral Cove, Small Caves & Snorkel Boat Trip

The only boat tour to combine thrills & small caves experiences to Cathedral Cove and beyond. Experience the thrill of small cave adventures where others can't take you. Discover magnificent views, see New Zealand's 2nd largest sea cave, regularly going to the places seen in online videos & pictures, get up close to aquatic life in the marine reserve. Leaving Whitianga Wharf, stop to view Shakespeare's Cliff then, pass the stunning Lonely before exploring inside Cooks Beach Blowhole and gazing out through the top. Be amazed at the panoramic scenery at Cathedral Cove. Head south getting close in along the coastline in and out of bays, caves, and blowholes. Take in the mesmerising volcanic landscape of towering pinnacles and rock sculptures. Marvel at the size of New Zealand's 2nd largest sea cave "Orua" before visiting offshore islands with more caves. Have the option to snorkel and witness sea life in the marine reserve before heading back to Whitianga.

3 Hour - Hole in the Rock Cruise with Island Stopover

3. 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.

From Whitianga: Cathedral Cove Marine Reserve Cruise & Swim

4. From Whitianga: Cathedral Cove Marine Reserve Cruise & Swim

Relax & enjoy Shakespeare’s Cliff, Lonely Bay & Cathedral Cove on an open boat with unrestricted stunning views. Experience the thrill of going inside Cooks Blowhole, Whale Cave and our very own “Hole in the Rock”. Regularly going to the places seen in online videos & pictures, venture inside caves others cannot take you! View fish in the Marine Reserve. Learn the history of the area and be amazed by the volcanic formations throughout the Bay. You won’t be disappointed with Coromandel’s fantastic coastline as we go down to the Orua Sea Cave where you will be taken inside the cave and hear the amazing acoustics as we play music.

Auckland: Bay of Islands Tour with Waitangi Treaty Grounds

5. 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.

Frequently asked questions about North Island Dolphin & Whale Watching

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Other Sightseeing Options in North Island

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What people are saying about North Island

Really cool trip didn’t get to go through the hole because the water was too rough but got to see it and also saw dolphins. The stop over on the island was cool however there food was lacking in offerings. As I’m pregnant there was a lot of seafood options which were a no no or deep fried / Sandwhich options which sadly were also risky. However everything else made it awesome so would recommend over all.

Great experience staff were welcoming and attentive to the needs of their passengers. The captain was great, his commentary was delivered with humor. I felt very safe as the captain would direct us as to where to sit what to do for our safety an comfort.

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!

Our teenagers loved the thrill of the boat ride and we really enjoyed seeing all the caves around the bay. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and made the trip fun.

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