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About Us

We've been sharing unforgettable albatross encounters with people from all corners of the globe since 1998

The partners in Encounter Kaikoura launched the albatross tours in 1998.

This expansion of the business focused on the prolific pelagic birdlife within easy access off Kaikoura’s magnificent coastline. With as many as 14 species of albatross on show, Kaikoura is famed as one of the albatross hotspots of the world.


Encounter Kaikoura History

Encounter Kaikoura is owned and operated by three partners; Lynette Buurman, Dennis Buurman and Ian Bradshaw.

The novel idea of swimming with dolphins became a reality in 1989 and was the brain wave of Ian Bradshaw and Rik Buurman. It soon became apparent that the concept had appeal and the tour became a popular option for visitors to Kaikoura. As the business grew it was re-branded to Encounter Kaikoura and in 2004 moved to a larger premise on the Esplanade. This enabled a café and a larger retail space to be added to the tour experience. At the heart of the business lies a commitment to best practice and environmental sustainability and this along with a great love for the marine environment, motivates us to share this passion with our customers in a meaningful and resolute way.

Visit Dolphin Encounter Website

The Encounter Kaikoura partners consider sustainable practices as essential to the business and in 2003 they embarked on the Green Globe accreditation system.

GREEN GLOBE 21 is a global benchmarking, certification and implementation system for sustainable travel & tourism. It is based on Agenda 21 principles for sustainable development, endorsed by 182 Heads of State at the Rio de Janeiro United Nations Earth Summit. It provides a path to sustainable travel & tourism.

Encounter Kaikoura first obtained Benchmark status in 2003 and Certification was achieved in 2004 and the following 4 years. More recently Encounter Kaikoura has focused on the Qualmark certification, achieving Qualmark Enviro Gold In 2009, which is the highest achievable level within the Qualmark accreditation system in New Zealand.

Learn about Green Globe

Easy to find, and just a 2.5 hour drive north from Christchurch

Albatross Encounter is based at our Encounter Kaikoura venue, located on the beachfront at 96 Esplanade, Kaikoura, within easy walk of all the central township accommodation.

Kaikoura is Located on the east coast of the South Island of New Zealand.

70 1 1 7 1 1 1 1 KAIKOURA CHRISTCHURCH Kaiapoi Woodend Leithfield Waipara Cheviot Culverden Waiau Parnassus Blenheim Cook Strait Picton Amberley WELLINGTON

Use the + and - tools on the map below to zoom in and out of the Kaikoura streets.

Café Encounter

Our fully licensed café provides the perfect setting to enjoy great coffee and cuisine. Our extensive dining area is both inside and outside, welcoming you to take time to soak up the sun and enjoy the view.

A beautiful sunny day at Café Encounter, Kaikoura. Café Encounter is a fully licensed cafe located onsite. Full breakfast and lunch menus offer local produce, great coffee and a fantastic selection of local wines.

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Albatross Conservation

We’re committed to protecting Kaikoura’s birdlife, dolphins, environment and other marine life. Our tours are designed to operate with the least impact possible. When you tour with us, you can be confident the environment won’t regret your presence.

If you would like to make a difference and voice your views on protecting the marine mammals of the world by reducing the taking of whales and dolphins, please contact any of the groups listed below to offer your support.