Port Stephens Dolphin Cruise: Fun for the Whole Family
3/35 Stockton St, Nelson Bay NSW 2315
If you’re looking for a fun and unique way to experience the beautiful Nelson Bay, then look no further than a dolphin cruise. Whether you’re a nature lover or just looking for a relaxing way to spend an afternoon, this cruise is one you’ll never forget.
Departing from Nelson Bay Marina, you’ll enjoy stunning views of the bay as you search for dolphins. With experienced guides on hand, you’re sure to spot these majestic creatures as they swim and play in the water.
And if you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of other wildlife, such as seals and penguins.
Whilst on a recent trip to Port Stephens, I decided to take a dolphin cruise. After doing a little research I chose Moonshadow Dolphin Cruise.
I was able to easily find and book the cruise through their website, and everything went smoothly from there. The staff were friendly and helpful, and the boat was clean and well-maintained.
One of the things that I loved about the cruise was that even though there were quite a few people on board, it never felt crowded. There was plenty of room to move around and find a quiet spot when I wanted some downtime.
I especially enjoyed spending time on the upper deck where I could get some fresh air and enjoy the views. The water was very calm so it was easy to move around on the boat
We cruised for about 15 minutes when the captain spotted a pod of dolphins. We quickly made our way to where they were feeding and part of the trip we were accompanied by a pod of dolphins as they swam alongside the boat.
The waters around Nelson Bay are a home to three different types of dolphins including:
- Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphins
- Common Dolphins
- Common Bottlenose Dolphins
I have loved dolphins since I did my first swim with them in Xcaret, Mexico over 20 years ago. Since then I have chased them around the world. I take any opportunity to swim with them or to see them.
When my son was younger and we travelled together, I took him on many dolphin experiences. As he grew older, he would disappear just as the dolphins appeared. He knew what was coming – his crazy mum would be running up and down the boat excited and taking thousands of photos.
How Long Does a Dolphin Cruise Last?
Moonshadow offers 2 types of dolphin cruises:
Dolphin Discovery Cruise
The Dolphin Discovery cruise is available all year round and lasts 1.5 hours. During your cruise, you’ll have the opportunity to see wild bottlenose dolphins up close and you can also enjoy thrilling boom net rides, or take a spin down the Twist and Twirl Waterslide.
Licensed bar and snack foods are available onboard, and live, informative Captain’s commentary will ensure you don’t miss a thing!
Splash and Slide Dolphin Cruise
The Splash and Slide Dolphin Cruise is available from November to April and lasts approximately 2 hours aboard the MOV Spirit 60” catamaran.
On this cruise you have a chance to swim in the calm Nelson Bay waters and to see resident wild Bottlenose dolphins as you cruise between the spectacular headlands and the eastern harbour. The catamaran has two levels with walk-around decks for the ultimate viewing experience.
And of course, what would a dolphin cruise be without a waterslide and boom net?
The licensed bar and snack food available on board will keep you fueled for all the fun.
With a high success sighting rate, this is an opportunity you won’t want to miss. And if by chance you don’t get to see any dolphins on your first try, don’t worry! You can come back again for free.
What to Bring on a Dolphin Cruise
- Sunscreen and lip balm
- Comfortable clothing and shoes
- Hat or cap
- Drinking water
- Jacket or jumper during colder months
If you are planning to get in the boom net, go swimming or go on a slide, also bring
- Goggles and snorkel
- Wet bag
What is the Best Time of Day to See Dolphins?
Although there is no hard and fast rule about when is the best time to see dolphins, mornings may be calmer as far as weather conditions go. The behavior of these mammals are influenced by so many factors including tides or wind speeds that it’s difficult to predict what the next day will bring!
If you are going on a dolphin watch cruise with a reputable company, you are most likely to see some dolphins no matter what time of day it is. Most companies offer a free cruise if you don’t see dolphins on your initial trip.
How Much Does a Dolphin Cruise Cost?
Prices for a dolphin cruise generally start at around $40 for an adult and $25 for a child. Most companies also offer senior/student discounts and family packages
A typical cruise lasts for two hours, and includes opportunities to see dolphins swimming, playing and jumping out of the water.
Port Stephens Dolphin Cruises
Apart from Moonshadow TQC Cruises, there are other companies that offer great dolphin experiences.
Every day from November through the end of April, Imagine Cruises offers a special 1.5 hour dolphin watch cruise and sail. You can relax in the dry bow-net, hang on tight for a ride in the boom-net, or give yourself a ‘Titanic’ thrill at the end of the bow sprit. They’ll hoist the sails if conditions permit, while you relax and experience the best that the Bay has to offer. Watching dolphins frolic in their natural habitat is an unforgettable experience.
Aquamarine Adventures offers a Dolphin Watch Express tour that is perfect for those who want to see the beautiful Bottlenose Dolphins that call Port Stephens home. The tour lasts for 60 minutes, and during that time, you will have the opportunity to learn about these amazing creatures from the knowledgeable crew. The Aquamarine Adventures team is passionate about dolphins and their welfare, so you can be sure that you are in good hands. The express tour is the perfect way to experience Port Stephens, and it is also great value for money. So, if you are looking for an unforgettable experience, book your tickets today!
Dolphin Swim Australia
Dolphin Swim Australia’s tour is the perfect way to get up close and personal with these incredible creatures. Their skilled and friendly guides will help you safely enter the water, where you’ll have the opportunity to swim and play with the dolphins. The tour lasts for four hours, and you’ll receive a customised video of your experience as part of the price. Whether you’re a experienced swimmer or a complete novice, Dolphin Swim Australia is the perfect place to make your dolphin-swimming dreams come true.
The season runs from 1 October to 30 April and the cruise includes full training, safety equipment, snorkeling gear, wetsuits, photos and a light breakfast on the boat.
The cost is $349 per person and is suitable for ages from 7 to 70.
There’s no better way to see dolphins in their natural habitat than on a dolphin watch cruise in Nelson Bay. These cruises depart from the Nelson Bay Marina and take you out into the bay, where you’re sure to see dolphins swimming, playing, and enjoying the warm waters. You may even get the chance to swim with them! Whether you’re a nature lover or just looking for an exciting experience, a dolphin watch cruise is sure to create lasting memories.
Accommodation at Port Stephens