5 places to swim with wild dolphins

Australia's magnificent oceans offer one of the world's ultimate wildlife encounters: swimming with wild dolphins. 5 places to swim with wild dolphins
Site Requires Javascript - turn on javascript!

5 places to swim with wild dolphins

Australia's magnificent oceans offer one of the world's ultimate wildlife encounters: swimming with wild dolphins.


By Sheriden Rhodes

These five guided encounters, from Australia's west coast to the serene waters of Melbourne's Port Phillip Bay, allow you to swim with curious dolphins in their natural environment.

MEET SOME OF AUSTRALIA'S FRIENDLIEST LOCALS

Swim in sync with dolphins in Port Stephens

Regarded as Australia's dolphin capital, Port Stephens (a 2.5 hour drive north of Sydney) is home to a remarkable dolphin encounter. Usually, swimming with dolphins involves floating in the ocean and waiting in a stationary position until the dolphins approach you, but with Dolphin Swim Australia, the only permitted wild dolphin swim in New South Wales, swimmers are pulled slowly alongside the dolphins. Participants are attached to a harness and clipped to a tow rope between the twin bows of a catamaran. As the dolphins move playfully through the water, you effectively swim in time with them. The tour takes about four hours, leaving plenty of time to explore Port Stephens’ beaches and restaurants. Stop by Little Beach Boathouse in Nelson Bay, where the menu focuses on the area’s fresh seafood like hand-shucked oysters.

Play in Port Phillip Bay

Melbourne is home to a vast harbour, Port Phillip Bay. About 80 frolicking bottlenose dolphins live here, and two local tour operators, Polperro Dolphin Swim and Moonraker Dolphin Swims, offer a wonderful snorkelling experience just a 1.5 hour drive from Melbourne's city centre. Simply hop into the water and dolphins and Australian fur seals will swim around and beneath you, often in circles. Afterwards you'll tuck into homemade scones, a classic Australian treat that is perfect with tea. The best months to spot the dolphins here are October, December, January, February, March and May. Some tours are seasonal, so make sure to confirm before booking.

Frolic with dolphins near Adelaide

Temptation Sailing offers you the choice between swimming with dolphins or simply watching the action from the boat. This wild dolphin encounter operates in Gulf St Vincent, just off Adelaide's favourite beachside town, Glenelg, only 20 minutes from the city centre. Hop on board the namesake Temptation in your supplied wetsuit, snorkel and mask, hang on to a flotation line, and wait for common and bottlenose dolphins to gather around to play and swim around and beneath you. Thousands of dolphins call the Gulf St Vincent home, so dolphin sightings are virtually guaranteed.

Wild encounters and wine

Two hours south of Perth, in the waters near Western Australia's premium wine region, Margaret River, you can go swimming with dolphins under the watchful eye of a marine biologist and volunteers from the Dolphin Discovery Centre. Venture into the open waters of Koombana Bay, where the curious bottlenose dolphins usually choose to approach swimmers. As in all other locations, encounters rely on dolphins approaching swimmers of their own accord. Tours depart from the Dolphin Discovery Centre on Koombana Drive in Bunbury and operating hours vary by season, so make sure to check in advance. After your tour, stay and explore Bunbury, part of the area’s Geographe Wine Region, named for the Geographe Bay. Red wine is king here and the Shiraz is especially inviting.

Meet the locals near Perth

Swim with dolphins on this remarkable tour of the Shoalwater Islands Marine Park, less than an hour’s drive south of Perth. Over the years, the knowledgeable crew from Rockingham Wild Encounters has befriended hundreds of local dolphins that call the area's sheltered bays and islands home. Among some of the sights you can expect to see are dolphins using stingrays to catch their dinner, mothers nursing their young and males frolicking around to get the females’ attention. The tour lasts between three and six hours and includes a wetsuit, light refreshments on board and an impressive 99 percent success rate in dolphin spotting.

More Articles Like This

Whale watching in Australia

Whale watching in Australia

Find out where the best places are around Australia to see the whale migration.

View more information

Add to your dream trip add favourite
Port Stephens

Port Stephens

Port Stephens is a large natural harbour in the Hunter Region of New South Wales around two and a half hours north of Sydney. With 26 golden sandy beaches, a bay that is more than twice the size of Sydney Harbour, and a mountainous, rainforest-fringed peninsula, Port Stephens is the perfect vacation destination. The Port Stephens region has three main areas: the Tomaree Peninsula, Tilligerry Peninsula and the Golden Bight, all surrounding the spectacular Port Stephens Bay. Here you can go four-wheel driving in the sand dunes, swim with dolphins, surf and snorkel, or explore nature in world-class national parks.

View more information

Add to your dream trip add favourite
Family Fun in the Margaret River

Family Fun in the Margaret River

'There's nothing like watching the ever-changing colourful scenery around Busselton Jetty and feeling the cool evening breeze on your face at the end of a beautiful day.'

View more information

Add to your dream trip add favourite
Great Barrier Reef animals

Great Barrier Reef animals

The currents and trade winds bring creatures from all over the world to the Great Barrier Reef, including whales and dolphins for the warm tropical waters. They all prosper in the reef’s unique ecosystem.

View more information

Add to your dream trip add favourite

Make Your Trip Happen

Property Type
Hotel Class
Price Range
Type
Main Course

Prices are indicative

Liquor Licence
OOPS! The search results for your query are currently unavailable. We apologise for any inconvenience. Please try again later.
loading