Whales and dolphins abound in the waters of the Hauraki Gulf. Learn which species you are likely to see and how you can help protect them.

Two common dolphins. Photo: Terry C Greene.
Two common dolphins

Whales and dolphins abound in the waters of the Hauraki Gulf. Sei, minke and Bryde's whales are sighted regularly, while humpbacks pass through on their way to and from tropical breeding grounds in the South Pacific. Common and bottlenose dolphins and orca (killer whales) are also frequently seen. These animals are all protected under legislation administered by DOC.

Boats can be a threat to whales and dolphins. If you see marine mammals please observe the following guidelines:

  • Do not disrupt the movement of whales and dolphins or assume they will move out of the way.
  • It is illegal to approach closer than 50 metres from a whale. This increases to 300 metres if there are already three boats close.
  • Any approaches to dolphins should be made parallel to and slightly to the rear.
  • Do not swim with juvenile animals.
  • Any whales or dolphins accidentally struck or any dead carcass should be reported immediately to the Coastguard on VHF Channel 16. Ask them to notify the Department of Conservation.
  • Also report any whale or dolphin stranding.
Back to top