New Zealand

Set sail in Auckland

…on this incredible Whale and Dolphin Safari

Having been obsessed with dolphins since I was a child, and having a future Marine Biologist for a son, getting out on the water to try and spot some wildlife is always on the to do list on when we go out on our adventures. However despite dolphin safaris in several countries around the world, we had never managed to spot anything in the wild. That was until we went on the Auckland Whale and Dolphin Safari in New Zealand!

Running year round apart from on Christmas Day, there are afternoon sailings daily and additional morning sailings during the summer. All trips are weather dependant but should yours be cancelled due to poor weather AWADS offer either a refund or the opportunity to move to another day. The tour lasts around 4.5 hours, leaving at 1.30pm for afternoon trips.

It’s not a cheap day out, but it is worth every single penny and more, as it’s such a magical experience.  Adult tickets cost $190 (£93) and children $130 (£64) and there are discounts available for families, seniors etc. Booking can be done online HERE, and unlike many companies they don’t charge a booking fee, or to adjust your booking, they even offer a full refund on cancellations made 24 hours in advance.

The boat is located in Viaduct Harbour in central Auckland, which is great as it’s really accessible. Check in is in the New Zealand Maritime Museum, just opposite the boat, and you must check in there at least 15 minutes before departure. Here you’ll get your lanyards and then you can join the queue to get on board.

The boat is a large comfortable vessel with inside seating and an upper and lower deck. If you want to snag a spot at the front of the boat make sure you get there quickly as it fills up on a full cruise. However wherever you sit, or stand, on the outside of a boat is a great spot and people do move around when there are things to be seen.

There are snacks and drinks available to purchase , perfect if you’re like me and can’t survive a few hours without a cuppa, or you can bring your own on board.

The crew are one of the very best things about this tour, our captain had us in stitches before we even left the harbour with a hilarious safety briefing and they are so knowledgeable. They showed us samples of things and answered my son’s millions of questions and were amazing at finding and spotting the sea creatures. They were also really warm and friendly and made the day out even more special.

Out on the water the crew know where to head and at the very least you’ll see some amazing coastline and hear some amazing facts about the Hauraki Gulf. Seeing where the East Australian Current is and how it is different to the flow of the ocean is incredible.

TOP TIP: Dress warm and in layers, even on a beautiful day it gets cold out on the water. Also remember you may get splashed, especially when everyone comes to the front of the boat, so be prepared and pack a waterproof.

There are so many different types of marine wildlife you can see on the safari, from whales to dolphins and seals to sharks. On our trip we saw several pods of common dolphins, an endangered Brydes Whale, a mako and a hammerhead shark and the most adorable little penguins. It was beyond an incredible experience to see a mighty whale feet away, and see adult and baby dolphins jumping in and out of the water just in front of you

Another amazing thing about the Auckland Whale and Dolphin Safari is that if you don’t see anything on your trip, you get to come back again, for FREE!

TOP TIP: If you’re going to be in Auckland a little while, book your tour for early in your visit. That way if it’s cancelled for weather reasons, or you are incredibly unlucky and don’t see anything, you have a chance to go back out.

Keep your eyes peeled as you never know what you will spot and when. After touring around the gulf and seeing lots, a lot of people headed inside the boat but we stayed outside, not wanting to miss a thing, and we were the only people on the boat apart from the captain who got to see the Mako shark.

I can honestly say without of a doubt, the entire trip made it one of the best days of both of our lives and it is truly something we will remember for the rest of our lives. So if you’re ever in Auckland, make sure you book on for a trip with AWADS, you will not regret it.

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