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Beneath the blue waters of the Hauraki Gulf can be found more than 22 species of whales and dolphins.

We love spending time with these beautiful creatures when we’re out on the water and are incredibly lucky to have them living so close to Auckland city.

The most commonly encountered species on our trips is the Bryde’s whale. Over the 16 years we have been operating we have encountered many other species which include: blue whales, fin whales, humpback whales, sei whales and Southern right whales.

Which whales will you spot on safari?

Bryde’s whale 
​(Balaenoptera edeni)

IUCN Status: Threatened

NZ Classification: Nationally Critical


This species is resident to the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park and seen year-round on our safaris. Growing up to 15m in length, these whales are surface feeders and make for an incredible sight when seen sweeping through krill, plankton or ‘large boil-ups’ of fish. 

Pygmy blue whale

(Balaenoptera musculus brevicauda)

IUCN Status: Data Deficient

NZ Classification: Data Deficient


Pygmy blue whales reach approximately 24m in length. Research has revealed a population of pygmy blue whales that stay in New Zealand waters year round. We have been seeing an increasing number of sightings of this species in the past couple of years.

Sei whale
(Balenoptera borealis)

IUCN Status: Endangered

NZ Classification: Data Deficient


Reaching up to approximately 15m in the Southern Hemisphere, they have a similar size and appearance to the Hauraki Gulf’s resident Bryde’s whales. Similarly to Bryde’s, they also have a short dive time of approx 5-10 minutes.