Swimming with dolphins in New Zealand, surely a great way to spend our last day there?
My friend Liz and I only had a couple of days left in Aotearoa, which translate as Land of the Long White Cloud. We’d had an incredible trip and were keen to make are final day one to remember, so we decided to go swimming with dolphins.
We were up in the Paihia, a vibrant seaside town in the Bay of Islands, near the top of the North Island. We booked ourselves in on the Cream Trip. Back in the 1920’s a man called after Albert Ernest Fuller had a delivery route in the bay, bringing mail and supplies to the locals. This became known as the Cream Trip (I’m guessing milk was one of the supplies). When visitors (and other locals) decided to tag along for the ride on his beautiful route, tourism in the area began.
The cruise was a full day, following the original route. The weather was pretty good, mostly sunny, but the sea was calm and we were extra excited because not only were we going swimming with dolphins, but in the wild.
The day started well. We visited the Hole in the Rock at Motukokako Island (also known as Piercy Island). A natural phenomenon, the 60ft hole was created by the bashing of the waves and the gushing of the wind against the rocks.
About an hour into the trip, we spotted a pod of dolphins. They playfully jumped out of the water and swam around out boat. I couldn’t wait to get in the water with them, even if it did look mighty cold.
That’s when the news came. There were babies with the group, we couldn’t go in. The mothers might see us as a threat and get defensive which could be very dangerous. We were really disappointed, but happy not to mess with a bunch of angry mama dolphins. I’d swum with dolphins before in Cuba and it was a fantastic experience, but a little bit scary and thrilling, as we could feel them swimming around us, even though we couldn’t see them.
The crew on the boat gave us some great advice for the future though. They told us that when swimming with dolphins, to have the best experience with them you should be playful, spinning and diving with them as they really respond to it.
We contented ourselves with watching them from the boat.
As we couldn’t swim with the dolphins, we tried our hand at boom netting instead. For those of you not familiar with this, it’s where you hang off a net on the back of the boat. It’s as fun as it looks. Just one bit of advice… wear a sturdy swimsuit to save on those embarrassing moments!
We finished off with a trip to Urupukapuka Island at Otehei Bay.
Liz and I wandered in silence down the beach, and I reflected on my trip, sad that my time in beautiful New Zealand was coming to a close. So we didn’t get to swim with dolphins that day. But it was an amazing trip and I wasn’t ready to come home yet.
We flew to New Zealand with Emirates.
We went on the Cream Trip with Fullers and booked it through our hostel. Cost approximately $119 NZ (£60).