The NSW coastline is a playground to the countless pods of frollicking dolphins inhabiting the state’s waters, from the north to the south. There are plenty of ways to get up close and personal with these incredible mammals, from spotting them in the wild during a guided tour to meeting their well trained counterparts.

Swimming with wild dolphins

A family enjoys whale and dolphin cruise at Nelson Bay, Port Stephens

Dolphin Cruise, Nelson Bay

Swim alongside a pod of wild dolphins during an open water adventure with Dolphin Swim Australia. Departing from Nelson Bay, the tour makes its way through the Port Stephens Marine Park and is the only wild dolphin swim permitted by the Marine Park Authority in New South Wales. During a tour, you may be able to spot oceanic bottlenose or short beaked common dolphins and have the option to travel as an observer if you’d rather not get in the water.

Swimming with trained dolphins

Young girl gets up close to a dolphin at Pet Porpoise Pool, Coffs Harbour

Pet Porpoise Pool, Coffs Harbour

Head to Dolphin Marine Magic in Coffs Harbour to engage with trained dolphins in a relaxed, intimate setting. The only zoological park in NSW housing the mammals, Dolphin Marine Magic offers several dolphin experiences. Enjoy a family-friendly shallow water encounter or embrace the opportunity to swim and play with a dolphin in a small group. For an experience with a difference, take on the duties of the park’s trainers for a day and see what goes on behind the scenes. Be rewarded for your hard work during the day with a private water interaction with some of the park’s dolphins and seals.

Dolphin watching

Dolphin watching with Jervis Bay Wild Whale Watching & Dolphin Cruises, Jervis Bay

Whale Watching & Dolphin Cruises, Jervis Bay

Find a great range of dolphin watching cruises along the NSW coast, from Merimbula and Eden in the south to Byron Bay in the north. Join Dolphin Watch Cruises Jervis Bay throughout the year to see the bay’s resident bottlenose dolphins and pristine sands. Make your way further north to the Port Stephens region for other great charters. See native dolphins with Tamboi Queen Cruises’ family owned and operated tours or ride in the boom net during a dolphin spotting trip with Moon Shadow Cruises.

Kayaking with dolphins

Kayaking with dolphins

Go Sea Kayak, Byron Bay

Keep an eye out for bottlenose dolphins as you kayak through the waters of the Cape Byron Marine Park. Learn about the marine park, local Indigenous lore and the area’s sea dwelling residents under the guidance of Go Sea Kayak Byron’s experienced instructors. Catering to all skill levels and officially licenced to host sea kayak tours, an outing with Go Sea Kayak Byron may also allow you to see migrating whales, native turtles and other species in their natural habitat. Confident that you’ll see dolphins during a tour, a free return trip is available if you are unsuccessful.

 

Stand up paddleboarding with dolphins

Couple paddle boarding in Jervis Bay, Shoalhaven

Paddle boarding, Jervis Bay

Learn a new skill, experience a full body workout and even spot a dolphin or two during a stand up paddleboarding session in Jervis Bay. Jervis Bay Stand Up Paddle offers classes suited to most skill levels. This is a great opportunity to explore the area’s pristine and diverse waterways at your own pace. As the region is home to an array of sea life, a lesson may allow you to see dolphins, stingrays, penguins and other species in their natural habitat.