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Is swimming with wild dolphins on your bucket list?
Thankfully Australia has a few places to choose from for this absolute ultimate experience!
And we’re not talking trained dolphins either. We’re talking wild dolphins, in their own environment, seeing how they naturally interact and feel a part of their pod, in their special world.
It is advisable to have some experience of snorkelling before joining one of these experiences. Having a bit more confidence with the use of a mask and snorkel will make the whole adventure even more memorable.
And don’t let being a non-swimmer put you off either. These tours have experience with everyone of all abilities, so just have a chat with them and they will do everything they can to make it a great experience for you.
Most tours are seasonal, running from September to April each year and all those highlighted below are award-winning tours within their own states.
Where can you go swimming with dolphins in Australia?
We’ll start with what we think is the best experience in Australia, if not the world!
New South Wales
Just 2.5 hours north of Sydney, Port Stephens is well-known for its dolphin life right on its doorstep. Dolphin Swim Australia is the only permitted wild dolphin swim in NSW and offers an experience of a lifetime.
Instead of staying in one location on the ocean (or at least trying to!), Dolphin Swim Australia move slowly with the dolphins, so you can enjoy being a part of their pod. Dolphins love to play and interact with moving vessels so they’ve got this experience just right!
There is also the option to jump on board and watch the experience if you don’t fancy getting wet!
Take a look at this video and you’ll be booking your experience within seconds!
You’ll have to be up early for this one as tours leave at 5am! Why not stay in Port Stephens the night before so you can fully enjoy the once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Just 45 minutes south of Perth, Rockingham Wild Encounters offers unique swimming with dolphins experience amongst the 200 resident bottlenoses in their local sheltered waters.
With the tour lead making the most of a sea scooter, doing turns and dives under the water, it naturally attracts the dolphins to come along and play too! In small groups, enjoy the interaction as they come up right next to you. Just remember, don’t open your mouth in amazement!!
Only 2 hours south of Perth, the Dolphin Discovery Centre at Bunbury is both a discovery and educational experience. Join the dolphins in their natural environment as you explore the waters of Koombana Bay.
This is a great experience for all the family (minimum age is 6 years) and don’t forget your camera!
For more information and to book, find their Dolphin Discovery Centre website.
Note – Monkey Mia Dolphin Experience is popular in Western Australia, however, this is a meet and feed experience and not one where you can swim with dolphins.
Hop onboard the Temptation Sailing 58-foot catamaran, just 25 minutes from Adelaide CBD for an encounter to meet the thousands of locals. This experience involves a gorgeous morning sail out onto the Gulf St. Vincent. When you’ve found your new friends, suit up, hold onto the flotation line and let the fun begin!
This popular tour in South Australia was the first to be granted a licence to swim with wild dolphins and also offers dolphin watch tours if you don’t fancy joining them in the water.
For more information about this swimming with wild dolphins experience and to book online, find their Temptation Sailing website here.
Port Phillip Bay, about 1.5-hour drive south of Melbourne is home to both bottlenose dolphins and fur seals who are waiting to swim you!
Just under 2 hours from Melbourne, Polperro Dolphin Swim offers an amazing underwater experience. Enjoy interacting with both dolphins and seals in their natural environment, along with other wildlife calling Port Phillip Bay home.
Moonraker Dolphin Swims not only offer a life-enhancing experience to swim with dolphins and seals, but their tours also offer a chance to swim with sea dragons, who are closely related to the famous leafy sea dragons.
They offer a number of different packages. Why not include a hot springs experience, breakfast or lunch snorkel with the seals or book a private dolphin swim cruise for 2 hours of pure luxury.
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Currently, the only swim with dolphins experience in Queensland is at the Gold Coast’s Seaworld.
Most tours will offer a money-back guarantee if dolphins are not spotted. Check before you book if you are unsure. Also, make sure you receive a safety brief before you board and keep within your own confidence and comfort levels during the experience.
Tours are often early morning when the sea is at its calmest and dolphins are known to be active. We always book with Booking.com for great deals on accommodation – we recommend them for an overnight stay close by, so you are fresh and ready to go on your ultimate experience!
Have you already been on a swimming with wild dolphins tour? Or thinking about it? Let us know in the comments below as we’d love to hear your thoughts…
Water loving British girl who moved to Australia and seriously caught the travel bug! Loves to explore and share destinations that inspire others to spend more time on the water and in the great outdoors. Typically, you’ll find her on a boat or next to the ocean, often in a daydream!