How to See (and Swim with) Dolphins in Niue
Join beautiful dolphins in their element in Niue. With vividly clear waters and the reef dropping off a mere 100 m (110 yards) from shore, nowhere else has such clear viewings of dolphins quite like Niue. Niue’s resident dolphins are pods of spinner dolphins, famous for their acrobatic displays which give them their name. While spinner dolphins frequent much of the South Pacific, Niue has found a unique way to swim with these fast and agile marine mammals when the opportunity arises. Learn how you can take part in this exceptional activity, as well as see dolphins from shore, in this guide to dolphins in Niue.
If you like this, you might also like The Guide to Whale Watching & Swimming in Niue.
6 Quick Facts About Spinner Dolphins
Before we get into where to see and swim with dolphins in Niue, here are some fun facts about the species of dolphin you will be encountering:
- Spinner dolphins grow up to 1.3 to 2.4 m (6 to 7 ft)
- They are known for their acrobatic displays, spinning on their longitudinal axis
- They can spin up to 3 m (10 ft) high doing multiple spins in one leap
- Spinner dolphins are believed to spin to remove remoras and fish, as well as to communicate with one another
- They also communicate with whistles, clicks and other sounds
- Spinner dolphins sexually mature at around eight years old and reproduce every three years.
Can’t get enough facts in your life? Head over to the 10 Fun Facts About Niue. Otherwise, continue reading to learn more about how to encounter dolphins in Niue!
The Best Time to See and Swim with Dolphins in Niue
Niue’s large pods of spinner dolphins are permanent residents of Niue’s waters so it is possible to see them all year round! Check out the “Other Ways to See Dolphins in Niue” to see how to see dolphins from shore and by chance on Niue boat tours.
Is There a Dolphin Season in Niue?
There is no particular “season” for dolphins in Niue, as dolphins reside in Niue’s waters all year round.
The Dolphin Swimming Season
On the other hand, boat tours with the opportunity to snorkel with dolphins are only available from February 1st to November 30th when Niue Blue is open and operating in Niue.
Even during the season, snorkelling tours with the opportunity to swim with dolphins only take place if the conditions are safe to do so. Tours may get cancelled in high winds or when there is a potentially dangerous swell.
Learn more about dolphin encounters with Niue Blue in the “Dolphin Swimming Tours” section below.
Dolphin Watching and Swimming Tours in Niue
Snorkelling tours in Niue primarily focus on taking you to amazing snorkelling spots that are only accessible by boat, but if there are dolphins around (which there often are) then you’ll spend some time watching them from the boat and even swimming with the dolphins if their behaviour is right.
Swimming with spinner dolphins is often part of the parcel on Niue Blue’s snorkelling tour. The tour primarily focuses on snorkelling at some of Niue’s best snorkelling spots but coming across spinner dolphins, as guides know their habits, is a regular occurrence.
Niue Blue uses a unique technique for swimming with dolphins if the opportunity arises; tow ropes with handles to hold onto alongside their comfortable motorboats with the added safety of propeller guards. This technique allows swimmers to keep up with the dolphins and see them in action as they swim alongside the boat. Tours include all snorkelling gear including wetsuits. Only two swimmers can get in the water at a time.
Whale Swim Niue
Providing snorkelling tours for families or your private group, Whale Swim Niue is another fantastic option for watching dolphins or even swimming with them if the opportunity arises.
Run by a local family who knows Niue’s waters inside out, Whale Swim Niue can show you some incredible snorkelling spots with the possibility of providing in-water dolphin interactions. Your skipper, BJ, is one of the most experienced on the island – he’s on the water almost daily between whale tours and running his very popular fishing charter – and a professional divemaster, while your guide, Vanessa, has an ocean research background and a wealth of knowledge to complete your Niuean marine experience! What’s more, their Smuggler Rib boat provides a comfortable ride out on the water.
Although their main focus is usually whale tours, Whale Swim Niue can also offer snorkelling and dolphin-watching excursions on request. Mask, snorkel, fins and wetsuits are provided.
Other Ways to See Dolphins in Niue
You don’t have to get in the water or even on a boat to enjoy spinner dolphins’ acrobatic displays in Niue! Spinner dolphins are known to come incredibly close to shore, whether it’s swimming alongside Niue’s narrow surrounding reef or even coming as close as Niue’s beaches to ride the waves.
Dolphin Watching from Shore
Due to Niue’s high cliffs surrounding the island, there are many vantage points to watch spinner dolphins from the shore. You can use the whale watching lookouts along the west coast road to also look out for spinner dolphins. We name them and their locations in the 10 Best Lookouts for Watching Whales & Dolphins in Niue.
Additionally, you could choose to stay in one of the west coast’s coastal accommodations that have their own private lookouts and decks to observe marine wildlife. Accommodations like the Scenic Matavai Resort, Breeze, Anaiki Motel, Lau’s Getaway and much more are good for watching dolphins from their properties.
Other Boat Tours in Niue
While other boat tours in Niue don’t give you the opportunity to swim with dolphins, they often provide a closer look at dolphins when they are around compared to looking out from the shore.
Alternative boat tours in Niue include fishing charters, whale-watching tours and sunset cruises. Find out more about these tours in The 5 Best Boat Tours in Niue.
More About Watching and Swimming with Dolphins in Niue
That’s it for our guide to dolphin watching and swimming in Niue. For similar experiences, take a look at the following:
- 10 Best Water Activities in Niue
- Where to See Wildlife in Niue
- The Best Time to Swim with Whales in Niue
Finally, complete your Niue bucket list with the 101 Things to Do in Niue: The Ultimate List.