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South IslandSouthlandWaikawa

See dolphins in their natural habitat from the beach at Curio Bay

Hector's dolphins are a common sight at Curio/Porpoise Bay in South Otago's Catlins. A resident population of around 15 dolphins use the bay to play, feed and rest.
The NZ summer and autumn seasons (November through May) are the best time to see these small and rare dolphins at Curio Bay.
Please take care around these special creatures - don't feed them or chase them; they'll come to you when they want to.

Spotting porpoises at Curio Bay

Spotting porpoises at Curio Bay

Nova deViator

Wave watching - Curio Bay

Wave watching - Curio Bay

Samual Mann

Fossilised trees - Jurassic period

Fossilised trees - Jurassic period

Jun

Meet the other local residents - Yellow eyed penguins

Meet the other local residents - Yellow eyed penguins

Seabird NZ

Map

map

46 reviews with the most recent first, showing page 1 of 4.

Rikke Hessellund, Denmark's avatar

Rikke Hessellund, Denmark

Ranking: 9/10

Beautiful beach. And absolutely amazing with a group of dolphins swimming around us in the waves for quite a while. So long that it got too cold, and we had to get out of the water (it was the end of March) In the evening we saw one Pinguin at the petrified Forrest. All in all a super spot in NZ. Only minus was the water temperature and the sandflies.

Reviewed 3 months ago

S Weslake's avatar

S Weslake

United Kingdom

Ranking: 10/10

Stunning beach, rain or shine. Hector’s dolphins playing in the swell with the swimmers and surfers. 2 cafes and a campervan site in close proximity. Lovely walk around the headland. Well worth a stop.

Reviewed 3 months ago

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Marcal Serrallonga's avatar

Marcal Serrallonga

New Zealand

Ranking: 10/10

We arrived at this beautiful beach on the afternoon and after waiting for 30 min we saw a couple of dolphins. It was amazing! They were very close! But it was so cold, so I could not imagine swimming with them... I regret to don't sleep 1 night in that place. In the other side, we also could see penguins, so it was perfect!

Reviewed over 1 year ago

Jan Sojka's avatar

Jan Sojka

Czech Republic

Ranking: 8/10

Very nice beach, nice weather and swimming with dolphins.

Reviewed almost 2 years ago and experienced in March 2016

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Matthias Hottex's avatar

Matthias Hottex

Germany

Ranking: 10/10

It was a not a paid activity which makes it more amazing. I will never forget swimming with a dolphin in this natural habitat.

Reviewed almost 2 years ago and experienced in March 2016

Till's avatar

Till

Germany

Ranking: 9/10

Great spot for surfing and even to see dolphins and seals.

Reviewed almost 2 years ago and experienced in January 2016

Thank You - to the thousands of travellers that have contributed to our Top Voted NZ Activities Map - it's free from Rankers.

Rahel Baufeld's avatar

Rahel Baufeld

Germany

Ranking: 10/10

Around 20 wild dolphins live at Curio Bay and if you are lucky you can swim with them. Even without the dolphins the bay is beautiful and a nice place to relax.

Reviewed almost 2 years ago and experienced in February 2016

Leon Schotter's avatar

Leon Schotter

Germany

Ranking: 9/10

Spectacular location. The bay is a shelter for a lot of dolphins. Also beautiful for surfing and just hanging around.

Reviewed about 2 years ago and experienced in February 2016

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Camping NZ App

Every camping site on your iPhone™, iPad™ or Android™ phone or tablet. Avoid camping penalties using this council approved app. Featuring offline maps.

Download from the App Store Download Android app on Google Play

Ronja and Lena's avatar

Ronja and Lena

Germany

Ranking: 10/10

You can see dolphins there (we didn't).

Reviewed over 2 years ago and experienced in December 2015

Roman and Liz's avatar

Roman and Liz

Germany

Ranking: 5/10

Very nice and long beach. Unfortunately we did not see any dolphins at all.

Reviewed over 2 years ago and experienced in December 2015

Award-1-24px Congratulations Curio Bay Dolphin Watch

Rankers TravellerVoted Awards 2014 Dolphin Watching Winner

Lena Wesselink's avatar

Lena Wesselink

Netherlands

Ranking: 10/10

A-MA-ZING! You can watch the dolphins from very close and even swim between them! They're not scared at all, really lovely. Although the water is freezing cold... But really worth it, and free!

Reviewed over 2 years ago

Tobias Becker's avatar

Tobias Becker

Ranking: 10/10

Great experience to see these animals in the wild!

Reviewed over 2 years ago and experienced in January 2015

Ann Wilson's avatar

Ann Wilson

England

Ranking: 10/10

Great to see dolphins swimming out at sea whilst sunbathing/swim in sea. In evening watch the penguins come ashore and looking at fossil forest. Clambering over rocks. All free - carpark included!

Reviewed over 3 years ago and experienced in March 2014

46 reviews with the most recent first, showing page 1 of 4.

Rikke Hessellund, Denmark's avatar

Rikke Hessellund, Denmark

Ranking: 9/10

Beautiful beach. And absolutely amazing with a group of dolphins swimming around us in the waves for quite a while. So long that it got too cold, and we had to get out of the water (it was the end of March) In the evening we saw one Pinguin at the petrified Forrest. All in all a super spot in NZ. Only minus was the water temperature and the sandflies.

Reviewed 3 months ago

S Weslake's avatar

S Weslake

United Kingdom

Ranking: 10/10

Stunning beach, rain or shine. Hector’s dolphins playing in the swell with the swimmers and surfers. 2 cafes and a campervan site in close proximity. Lovely walk around the headland. Well worth a stop.

Reviewed 3 months ago

Conservation Campsite Pass

Save up to 70% on campsite fees! Support conservation and experience the natural beauty of NZ. 96 Department of Conservation campsites, one convenient pass.

Get the Pass

Marcal Serrallonga's avatar

Marcal Serrallonga

New Zealand

Ranking: 10/10

We arrived at this beautiful beach on the afternoon and after waiting for 30 min we saw a couple of dolphins. It was amazing! They were very close! But it was so cold, so I could not imagine swimming with them... I regret to don't sleep 1 night in that place. In the other side, we also could see penguins, so it was perfect!

Reviewed over 1 year ago

Jan Sojka's avatar

Jan Sojka

Czech Republic

Ranking: 8/10

Very nice beach, nice weather and swimming with dolphins.

Reviewed almost 2 years ago and experienced in March 2016

Top Ranked NZ Deals Pass

Access savings worth hundreds of $$ on Top Ranked NZ Accommodation and Activities for just $1 per day.

Get deals pass

Matthias Hottex's avatar

Matthias Hottex

Germany

Ranking: 10/10

It was a not a paid activity which makes it more amazing. I will never forget swimming with a dolphin in this natural habitat.

Reviewed almost 2 years ago and experienced in March 2016

Till's avatar

Till

Germany

Ranking: 9/10

Great spot for surfing and even to see dolphins and seals.

Reviewed almost 2 years ago and experienced in January 2016

Thank You - to the thousands of travellers that have contributed to our Top Voted NZ Activities Map - it's free from Rankers.

Rahel Baufeld's avatar

Rahel Baufeld

Germany

Ranking: 10/10

Around 20 wild dolphins live at Curio Bay and if you are lucky you can swim with them. Even without the dolphins the bay is beautiful and a nice place to relax.

Reviewed almost 2 years ago and experienced in February 2016

Leon Schotter's avatar

Leon Schotter

Germany

Ranking: 9/10

Spectacular location. The bay is a shelter for a lot of dolphins. Also beautiful for surfing and just hanging around.

Reviewed about 2 years ago and experienced in February 2016

Camping NZ App Icon

Camping NZ App

Every camping site on your iPhone™, iPad™ or Android™ phone or tablet. Avoid camping penalties using this council approved app. Featuring offline maps.

Download from the App Store Download Android app on Google Play

Ronja and Lena's avatar

Ronja and Lena

Germany

Ranking: 10/10

You can see dolphins there (we didn't).

Reviewed over 2 years ago and experienced in December 2015

Roman and Liz's avatar

Roman and Liz

Germany

Ranking: 5/10

Very nice and long beach. Unfortunately we did not see any dolphins at all.

Reviewed over 2 years ago and experienced in December 2015

Award-1-24px Congratulations Curio Bay Dolphin Watch

Rankers TravellerVoted Awards 2014 Dolphin Watching Winner

Lena Wesselink's avatar

Lena Wesselink

Netherlands

Ranking: 10/10

A-MA-ZING! You can watch the dolphins from very close and even swim between them! They're not scared at all, really lovely. Although the water is freezing cold... But really worth it, and free!

Reviewed over 2 years ago

Tobias Becker's avatar

Tobias Becker

Ranking: 10/10

Great experience to see these animals in the wild!

Reviewed over 2 years ago and experienced in January 2015

Ann Wilson's avatar

Ann Wilson

England

Ranking: 10/10

Great to see dolphins swimming out at sea whilst sunbathing/swim in sea. In evening watch the penguins come ashore and looking at fossil forest. Clambering over rocks. All free - carpark included!

Reviewed over 3 years ago and experienced in March 2014