"Auckland Whale and Dolphin Safari sets the standard for Tourism and Marine Conservation in New Zealand"


Auckland Whale and Dolphin Safari Company Overview

Auckland Whale and Dolphin Safari is an award-winning nature-based tourism company that has been privately owned and operated since 2000. We are the only Tourism operation in New Zealand that privately funds and supports University Marine Wildlife studies. Researchers travel most days conducting biological studies and interacting with passengers explaining the importance this unique ecosystem whilst offering passengers exciting up-close encounters with critically endangered Bryde’s Whales, Orca and Dolphins.


Company Mission Statement

“The Preservation of Species and the Environment through Research, Education and Awareness”


Where is AWADS located

The vessel ‘Dolphin Explorer’ leaves on daily safaris from The Viaduct, in central downtown Auckland.


Research Partnerships

Since the Company was established we have developed very strong partnerships with;

  • New Zealand Department of Conservation
  • Auckland University
  • Massey University
  • AUT
  • NIWA
  • Orca Research Trust

That has produced;

  • 4 - Doctorate Theses
  • 4 - Master Theses
  • 8 - Reports
  • 13 - Peer Reviewed Journal Articles
  • 28 - Conference Presentations


The Tour Experience

Auckland is the only location in New Zealand that provides the opportunity to see Whales and Dolphins within minutes of leaving the City.  Each 4.5-hour Safari in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park is a unique experience and the sightings vary.  A typical Safari may encounter Brydes, Blue, Humpback, Minke, Sei, Pilot, Beaked, Sperm or Southern Right Whales. Also, Common and Bottlenose Dolphins, Leopard and Fur Seals, Sharks, Turtles, Manta Ray and the amazing Orca.  There are 24 species of seabirds confirmed breeding in or near the Marine Park including the Northern Blue Penguin.


The Hauraki Gulf Marine Park

  • 1.2 million hectares, 50 islands, 5 marine reserves
  • One of the most abundant and diverse marine parks in the world.
  • Over 25 of the 37-southern hemisphere marine mammals have been identified in the Marine Park.
  • Visited by 1/3 of all the types of marine mammals found on earth.
  • Home to a globally unique population of Brydes Whales that are critically endangered.