How much does it cost?
Does the BEST DAY EVER Island and Wildlife cruise depart every day?
Do we need to book in advance?
Where does the boat leave from?
What do we need to bring for the cruise?
- A water/drink bottle
- A warm jacket (bring an extra layer or two so you can layer up or layer down according to the weather)
- Eftpos card or cash (we have a licenced bar onboard, plus a range of snacks)
- Your own lunch (either a packed lunch or bring food for cooking on our free communal onboard BBQ)
- Sunscreen and sunglasses
- Camera (check that your camera is charged; we do have a 230v power charger on board as a back-up)
- Binoculars if you have them (we have a pair on board but if you have your own please bring them).
- Swimming gear is optional (and recommended) in summer
- Wetsuits and snorkelling gear if you are proficient
Note that extra items can be left on the boat while you participate in our water sports.
What is included?
- Our 6-8 hour marine experience includes …cruising on our comfortable vessel BAY EXPLORER.
- Department of Conservation permit: We have a government permit to view dolphins whales and seals, we will spend time with these mammals whenever we see them.
- The shared knowledge and passion of our professional and experienced captain and BEST DAY EVER crew and activity guides.
- Onboard books and resources
- Paddle Boards and Kayaks
- Use of our onboard communal BBQ
Do you have educational material on board?
Current books include:
- WONDERS OF THE SEA: THE PROTECTION OF NEW ZEALAND’S MARINE
- MAMMALS, by Kate Mulcahy & Raewyn Peart.
- DOLPHINS OF AOTEAROA. LIVING WITH NZ DOLPHINS, by RaewynPeart
Return transfers from your Rotorua accommodation (Rotorua pickups only)
When do we check in?
What time is departure?
It is very important that you provide contact details where we can get hold of you.
What time does the boat get back to Tauranga?
How big is the boat?
Do you have toilets on board?
Can we go swimming at the island?
Can we go swimming with dolphins?
Swimming with dolphins is not the focus of the cruise. Instead, we encourage watching marine wildlife from the boat. It’s awesome, and environmentally sustainable eco-tourism. Dolphin watching and other wildlife interactions from our boat is a breathtaking experience, made better since the animals are not interfered with. We have found that our massive outdoor cruise deck aboard the Bay Explorer is ideal for viewing dolphins and all wildlife.
Of note, any swimming with wild common dolphins is difficult to execute and largely constrained by legalities. By LAW NO SWIMMING with dolphins is allowed if there is the presence of juveniles (under the Marine Mammal Protection Act). However these young animals are adorable to watch and witness from the comfort of the boat..
NOTE: NO commercial operator can offer swimming with dolphins that have juveniles present in the pod, and juveniles are often present over summer months. You must be made legally aware of this if booking with other operators.
How do you find marine mammals?
Most importantly, finding wildlife relies on a keen eye and an ability to keep focused on the water; it requires concentration as there is nothing really to focus on the sea and 360° viewing with an infinity of water, but a trained eye can pick up the slightest movement up to a 2km away. Finding the local seabirds and schooling fish can be the gateway to finding dolphins on our safari. It requires an understanding of tidal flows and current movements to find fish and birds. Often you must rely on your own instinct from many encounters in past days. Sometimes we receive information from other vessels out in the Bay who have spotted animals on their own travels.
What research do you conduct?
Are marine mammals endangered?
Can groups go on the tour?
Is there a maximum age limit or physical ability requirement?
(please inform crew however if you have any special medical or physical needs). Please note that the optional water sport activities will require you to enter the water via an inflatable craft. Our preferred method involves stepping from the vessel onto an inflatable boat and then onto a standup paddle board SUP or onto a kayak. To get back on board, you will need to climb up a ladder up the side of the boat. However – as mentioned – if you require a more passive experience simply stay onboard and relax and observe the beautiful bay, have lunch or snacks and a drink from the licenced bar.
Does this cruise suit everyone?
Does the vessel accommodate wheelchairs?
The Bay Explorer
Bay Explorer are local tour specialists who are passionate about all our region has to offer. We are proudly Kiwi owned and operated