Curio Bay Dolphin Watch

Curio Bay Dolphin Watch


53 Rankers Reviews

47 Face-to-Face

13 Dolphin Watching

2 Waikawa

Online Maps

FREE Header

Camping NZ NEW

Welcome to New Zealand's most comprehensive database of freely available camping information. This is the only travel map of its kind in NZ.


Spotting porpoises at Curio Bay
Wave watching - Curio Bay
Fossilised trees - Jurassic period
Meet the other local residents - Yellow eyed penguins


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.


Feature Value Info


Umbrella Organisation

Non-profit organisation


South IslandSouthlandWaikawa


  • Dolphin Watching
  • Free


Showing 13 reviews of 48.

Justin White's avatar

Justin White

Ranking: 4/10

October 2020, The penguins came in at 8:50 pm in, but they were so far away and it was so dark by that time that it was nearly impossible to see them. Big disappointment. Pretty beach though.

Reviewed over 1 year ago

Rebecka's avatar


Ranking: 9/10

Sat in the morning for sunrise between 6.20-7.20 Bt saw no dolphins. Although, I hear people saw them sitting out on the headland at sunrise the day before. Beautiful view anyway! And I saw a penguin yesterday night at the other bay around 20.40pm. Been here mid Feb.

Reviewed about 2 years ago

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 about 4 years 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 about 4 years ago

Avoid Camping Fines!

Each camping location is approved by a regional council in NZ. So if it shows on the map, you’re allowed to stay.

The Rankers Camping NZ app, is also in association with…

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 5 years ago

Jan Sojka's avatar

Jan Sojka

Czech Republic

Ranking: 8/10

Very nice beach, nice weather and swimming with dolphins.

Reviewed over 5 years ago and experienced in March 2016

Matthias Hottex's avatar

Matthias Hottex


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 over 5 years ago and experienced in March 2016

Till's avatar



Ranking: 9/10

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

Reviewed almost 6 years ago and experienced in January 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

Rahel Baufeld's avatar

Rahel Baufeld


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 6 years ago and experienced in February 2016

Leon Schotter's avatar

Leon Schotter


Ranking: 9/10

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

Reviewed almost 6 years ago and experienced in February 2016

Ronja and Lena's avatar

Ronja and Lena


Ranking: 10/10

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

Reviewed over 6 years ago and experienced in December 2015

Roman and Liz's avatar

Roman and Liz


Ranking: 5/10

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

Reviewed over 6 years ago and experienced in December 2015

Lena Wesselink's avatar

Lena Wesselink


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 6 years ago