I knew before we went out on the Auckland Whale & Dolphin Safari that winter is the best time to see whales and dolphins. However it was such a perfect February day we took our chances, and blimey we were lucky, it was a sensational day out on the water.
I love being outside in the salty air and sea spray, so missed a lot of the commentary which was easier heard inside, consequently I’m light on information but big on photos. There were two marine biologists onboard so anyone with an interest in sea life gets a chance to talk to experts.
One of the things that impressed us most about the trip was how hard the crew worked to find whales. When the first signs of a whale were spotted it wasn’t quite a spiritual moment though, more excremental, yep, whale poo, a big green pool of it. Then the whale blew its nose, or more accurately, cleared its blow hole. We’d had our whale encounter and it was even more intimate than some of us could have imagined!
The crew continued to search for the same whale, and others. We found two in total and there were just moments to see them, but I’m pretty sure everyone on the boat saw some part of a whale at least once, which was brilliant. It’s not easy to get a photo*, our only photo of a Bryde’s whale was a happy accident (click enough in the right direction and you might be lucky).
Another awesome sight were the gannets, especially when they were dive bombing for fish. Mike and I also spotted two little penguins, there was no way we could be fast enough with the camera to capture them, but it’s those random sightings that make special memories (and who can forget seeing whale poo).
Cost – $160 adult (see tip below)
Viewing rate – over 90% of trips see dolphins, over 75% of trips see whales. (We were told that if we didn’t see dolphins we could do another trip for free).
Duration – around 4.5 hours (leaves 1.30pm, returns around 6pm). Given the crew’s dedication to find sea life, trips may go over time, don’t be the meanie that wants the boat to return by 6pm for your 6.30pm dinner reservation.
Onboard – drinks and small snacks can be purchased. *The crew also take photos, they’re shown onboard and you can buy them on a USB for $20.
-The Auckland Entertainment Book has a 25% discount voucher for the trip, it saved us $80 in total.
–Sea Legs – we took them as a precaution, memories of a stomach churning trip back from Great Barrier Island a few years ago taught us not to risk ruining our day.