Auckland, City of Whales

You’re standing on the bow of a catamaran, feeling the tang of salt in the air as dolphins leap and glide effortlessly below.

Seabirds whirl overhead before plummeting into the depths. A puff of spray up ahead signals an even more exciting encounter – an enormous whale is surfacing, slowly raising a flipper as it rolls back into the water.

And all of this within sight of the city skyline... As Aucklanders we have a taonga right on our doorstep – the Hauraki Gulf. This ecologically significant marine park covers an area of 1.2 million hectares and contains over 50 islands.

But aside from the odd trip to Waiheke or Rangitoto, for many of us it remains largely unexplored.

Auckland Whale and Dolphin Safari offers a unique chance to go whale watching direct from downtown Auckland and experience the beauty and abundant marine life of the Hauraki Gulf. Common and bottlenose dolphins, a wide range of seabirds and the critically endangered Bryde’s whale call these waters home, while regular visitors include orca and migratory whales like pygmy blue whales and humpbacks.

Conservation and marine research are at the forefront of this 4.5-hour eco safari. The crew carry out research during the trip, providing valuable data to DOC and a range of research institutions, and a portion of every ticket sale goes directly to marine conservation initiatives.

You’ll leave the cruise feeling inspired to help protect our oceans. Auckland Whale and Dolphin Safari offers a marine mammal sighting guarantee: if you don’t see dolphins or whales during your safari, you’ll receive a complimentary voucher (which never expires) to cruise again for free. Cruises depart Tuesday and Thursday afternoons and twice a day on weekends from Viaduct Harbour, close to public transport and parking options.

Visit to book.

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