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Review Highlights
A Memory of the Lifetime!!

I took my 10 yo grand daughter out for her birthday and it was amazing!! A truly unforgettable... read more

Reviewed 4 weeks ago
Whakatane, New Zealand
Awesome fun and excitement

We went on the seal and dolphin tour. We swam with seals, fish and sting rays. Unfortunately no... read more

Reviewed 5 weeks ago
Wellington, New Zealand
via mobile
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Reviewed 9 February 2019

We had noticed the bulky shape of Moutohora, Whale Island, as we drove towards Whakatane. We had booked into the excellent White Island Rendezvous motel, so good we booked an extra night, and wanted to explore the area, not just spend time on some of New Zealand's favourite beaches. We noticed the offices of Diveworks in the Strand, and made enquiries, to find to our delight they were running out to Moutohora the following day. We left around 12.30 pm, after a comprehensive but unobtrusive quarantine search of our bags and belonging, speeding out of the harbour and across to the island in around 20 minutes, long enough to admire the island's shape, which many prefer to call Snail Island. Disembarking in one of the sheltered bags on the south of the island by small tender, we were briefed by Steph, our guide for the visit, on our obligations whilst there, as the island is a wild-life reserve with a very delicate eco-system of flora and fauna. After a brief stop at some terraces exhibiting volcanic low-level activity, we were then led up and around a cliff path, sheltering under the welcome shade of the puhutukawa trees reaching down to the shoreline. Even though I have some mobility issues, Steph ensured the party, made of of my wife and another family of five from Auckland, moved at a pace which I could cope with, ably shepherded by Layanne and her boyfriend, Sam recently arrived from Gladstone, Queensland to join the Diveworks team. Steph pointed out several species of birds, many threatened, and unusual shrubs and trees. We were astonished to we now close the birds came to us, exhibiting little or no concern as we massaged by, and Steph explained how the island, once overrun by rabbits, rats, goats and other non-indigenous types to vermin levels, was cleared to allow the rarer and more delicate to flourish without predation. Continuing our trek we came across two volunteers who were undertaking a survey of the Kiwi birds that thrive here. Apparently, there are now a breeding group of around 15 native to the island with another 5 that have been brought over from the mainland after hatching, to allow them to grow large enough to deal with predators that they will encounter when being re-introduced into other reserves back on the mainland.Finally, we were invited to climb quite a steep path leading up to the saddle or col that sits in the island's middle, and here we had clear views of White Island steaming away out to sea, and also the bay in which Captain Cook surveyed this island.Our return trip, after a welcome bathe in the clear, warm waters, was enlivened by the skipper, Phil, Steph's partner, who literally surfed back into Wkakatane's river to dock at the wharf. This is a necessary technique, that Phil teaches to other sailors, to enter the river over its treacherous bar, as Whakatane is regarded as one of the most dangerous river ports, anywhere in New Zealand. Great day out, informative and interesting, and best value too. Try it yourself.

Date of experience: February 2019
6  Thank jollyrobert
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 January 2018 via mobile

We did the swimming with seals and dolphins trip. It was really, really awesome. Phil (and Carly} knew their stuff, the seals were sooo cute and we all loved the location and the snorkeling. We felt that Phil and Carly balanced keeping us safe and allowing us to have a great time, extremely well. Later, we saw lots of dolphins all around us but, despite a huge effort on Phil"s part, he couldn't find any feeding, which meant no swimming with them. The point I really want to make here is that Phil was way more disappointed than anyone else on the boat. We had a fantastic trip and can't wait to come back and do it again!

Date of experience: January 2018
2  Thank Haydn V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 March 2017

We enjoyed a brilliant half day trip and were rewarded with swimming with dolphins and seals. It was a great experience to get so close to them and is a trip we shall always remember.

Date of experience: February 2017
Thank Rick S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 January 2017

Where do I start. I think it started when I phoned the office and spoke to a the Lovely Lady Steph from memory...We really wanted to see the Dolphins although she couldn't promise it she delivered it! A dream come true for our family. Seeing them was the highlight to the start of our 2017! She said 99% of the time the Dolphins will come out to play and they sure did! AMAZING! Thank you so much we will be back..sooner than you think! Kay, Jamie, Kelly and Jed:)

Date of experience: January 2017
2  Thank flowerpower909
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 January 2017

We paid $700 for our family to go out on a seal and dolphin encounter tour. It was a significant part of our entertainment budget for our trip to NZ. There had been a lot of wind lately so were told to call a couple hours before the start of the tour to ensure it was going to go ahead. We were told it was going ahead, that conditions were great. We were on the water by 1:40 and back by 4:30 and were told before we went out that it would be bumpy because of the wind. We saw the seals which were great though not as great as Phil said they would be as he said they'd come right up to you and put their face right up to you which they certainly didn't do. It was hard to get close to them and you couldn't touch them but it was still good and fun. Then we went looking for dolphins. We didn't find any. I can accept that that because nature is nature and what has made me upset instead of disappointed was being told by both Phil, and the first mate, during the trip, that the conditions were bad due to the wind so it would be very hard to see dolphins. And even if we did see them, we'd probably not be able to swim with them but would be able to watch them from the boat!!! Certainly not what we were expecting or paid for to be honest. I spoke with Phil's partner/wife afterward and told her that we would have appreciated being told the conditions were poor so we could have made our own decision as to whether to go out or save our $700 to try again somewhere else. She said she'd talk to Phil about either a discount or at least getting us out on another tour to try again. She never called back so I had to call them. I was told too bad, there is no guarantee and they would do nothing for us. He reluctantly offered getting us out on a tour later but for that they would have had to actually call us back before we had to leave the area. I am extremely disappointed in their behaviour--not telling us about the wind, not calling when they said they would, and not offering any sort of gesture that would have made this family dream a reality. We will NOT be able to go on another tour. We have saved for this trip to NZ for three years and this was one of the two things we were most looking forward to as a family. I am extremely disappointed and unimpressed.

Obviously, by the other reviews, when it works out it is great. I would suggest you do your own study of the weather and if it is windy, hold off or book with one of the other companies that offer a guarantee to get you out on another tour if you don't see dolphins. And be aware that you may only see them from the boat if you see them at all.

Date of experience: January 2017
9  Thank tam872
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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