Swimming with Bottlenose dolphins in the Bay of Islands is now prohibited.

DoC research found that human interaction was "having a significant impact on the population's resting and feeding behaviour. In turn, this could bring about a decline in socialising behaviour and consequentially lower pregnancy rates.



Cancellations must be received by us 24hrs before day of departure, for 100% refund. Passengers who have not cancelled before this are considered “no shows” and no refunds are available. If we cancel, we will either reschedule or you will be refunded in full. Our first concern is for passenger and vessel safety. Please see our booking conditions.

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The island & wildlife day cruise is 6hrs. (9.00am – 3.30pm) daily in the summer ( Sept - May)

 We depart from Paihia wharf, pier 5,  at 9.00am.  You need to be on the wharf at 8.45am for check in. The wharf is situated on the waterfront in Paihia Township. (69 marsden rd) How to find us

You can book now here, or call 09 4028040 or email us at booking@wildlifecruises.co.nz

You will need a swimsuit, towel, sunscreen, warm jacket just in case, camera, money for drinks, heaps of enthusiasm and a smile. We provide masks, snorkels, fins and wetsuits (seasonal). Its fine to bring your own equipment. Bay of Islands weather is sub-tropical (temp 18C – 30C)

The island & wildlife day cruise is suitable for families with older children. We find that children under 5 years find the sailing tour a little too long .

Due to current maritime  NZ rules we are unable to take children 4 years and under.

Due to current maritime NZ rules we are unable to take children 4 years and under on any of our tours.

We have no upper age limit, but guests must be in reasonable health and have a moderate level of fitness.

Sailing experience is not necessary. Sailing under the guidance of professional crew is a relaxed way to explore the bay.

You can lend a hand to hoist the mainsail and jib or Sit back and relax as the sails catch the breeze.

 It is a kiwi style BBQ, Beef sausages, onions, bread rolls and salad. Vegetarians are also catered for on request. CARINO NZ has a fully licensed bar, with a range of New Zealand beers, wines and cool drinks.

Lunch is optional you can bring your own as well.

Due to the spontaneous nature of sailing, there are several favourite islands that CARINO NZ can stop at. Your skipper will find a suitable calm cove to enjoy. These include Ururpukapuka Island, Roberton Islands and Motorua Island.

We find dolphins approximately 80% of the time.

We cannot guarantee to find the dolphins, as they are wild animals in their own environment, not in an enclosure.

Our tour is about the whole bay of islands and the marine environment (not just about dolphins).

We run our tours to respect and appreciate the habitat  and behavior of wild dolphins  and sometimes this means, not seeing them

Yes! The idea of our tours is to hopefully encounter all forms of marine life, either in the water or in the sky. ( Blue penguins, Australasian Gannets, Orcas, maybe a whale, schooling fish – not all are seen every day)

No. There is no guarantee for finding wild dolphins.

Our tour is about the whole bay of islands and the marine environment (not just about dolphins).

We are a sailing tour that actively seeks dolphins, while also experiencing the beauty of the Bay of Islands.

We run our tours to respect and appreciate the habitat  and behavior of wild dolphins  and sometimes this means, not seeing them.

We the only small local family owned dolphin cruise in the bay also the only yacht licensed by Department of Conservation to interact with wild dolphins in the Bay of islands.

On our maine mammal conservation vessel you get to help with research and data collection to help our wildlife in the Bay of Islands.

A portion of your fare goes directly to marine mammal conservation and research.

We provide a unique dolphin tour that will take you up close with wild dolphins and you will also get to experience the joy of sailing, an island stopover where you can snorkel and a bbq lunch.


All departures are subject to demand, sea and weather conditions. The weather is a big factor and we will not depart if there is a gale or severe wind warning in force, for the safety of all passengers

We ask all guests to call us the day before to confirm the weather conditions.

All  commercial  marine mammal operators in New Zealand are subject to a permit system administered by the Department of Conservation (DOC). We have a current maine mammal permit.

If commercial operators such as sailing yachts, fishing boats and other cruise vessels do not have marine mammal permit they must not change direction towards any marine mammal.

The hole in the rock is over 15 miles from Paihia and is not big enough for us to fit through ( our mast) ,so we do not go there.

We do often see it in the distance and crew will point it out.



Physical contact (touching or grabbing)  or feeding any wild dolphins or marine mammal is not permitted under any New Zealand DOC permit.

We also ask that any go pros or cameras on sticks stay well above the water and dolphins.

Some degree of swimming experience is needed to snorkel at the island stop.

Swimming and snorkeling  can be a strenuous physical activity which may increase health and safety risk for persons suffering from medical conditions – stress from sudden exposure to cold water, panic or strenuous activity can aggravate some medical conditions, and certain medical condition such as heart disease may result in cardiac arrest and death. Please advise us of any medical conditions and to have any medication with you on the tour.

The Bay of Islands region has the finest maritime park in New Zealand with the 144 Islands and secluded bays. The Bay has an abundance of marine life, including the big marlin, whales, penguins, dolphins, gannets and many other species. The Bay of Islands is a unique location for bottlenose dolphins, as it provides the dolphins with abundant food and security for resting and breeding. The maritime and historic park is the original cradle of European civilization and has fine examples of Maori culture.

Our tours normally operate in the sheltered waters of the Bay of Islands and seasickness is rarely an issue. However, because this can be an open ocean experience at times venturing into the Pacific Ocean, it is subject to a variety of sea conditions and sea sickness may be a problem for some of our guests. If you are prone to motion sickness, we advise that you take preventative measures before departing Paihia. Be advised that seasickness during the tour is not grounds for a refund and we are not able to cancel the tour for the others if you become sick.