Bay of Islands
The Bay of Islands with its sunny climate, warm sparkling waters and massive population of dolphins, is an ideal place to get on a cruise boat and even swim with dolphins. The short-beaked common dolphins with their beautiful white or tan flanks can be seen cruising and leaping here in their thousands, orca abound, and the Northland bottlenose dolphin also frolics in this area. During summer and autumn (January – April) the bottlenose prefers the outer waters of the Bay of Islands, but at other times they hug the shoreline, swimming even closer into shore than common dolphins. Passing whales include the blue, humpback, Bryde’s, sei and minke. Most dolphin and whale cruise boat tours leave from Paihia in the Bay of Islands. Paihia is just across the channel from New Zealand’s historic capital, Russell, well worth exploring before or after your dolphin and whale encounter.