An unforgettable morning with Polperro Dolphin Swims

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We had a secret…it was a huge one and I was struggling to keep it to myself. Mark couldn’t keep it to himself and so he blabbed it to me and for the next few days, I could have killed him numerous times for telling me!

But we had to hold strong, this secret all depended on weather and telling the kids would get their hopes up so high if it didn’t come through they would have been devastated.

We were heading down the Mornington Peninsula in Australia for a few days and we had heard about the Polperro Dolphin Swims. This was something that would be an amazing experience for the whole 4 of us but again it all depended on the weather and we were only available for the tour for 3 days. It could be hit or miss.

The boat Polperro docked at the Sorrento Jetty

We were supposed to go on Monday morning and as the directions from the guys at Polperro state you have to keep an eye out for your email for a confirmation. At about 4 o’clock we got the email to say that the weather in Port Phillip Bay the following morning would not be good so, our swim would have to be cancelled. We were looking at the weather every night and we knew that it would be a long shot that morning. The next day it was miserable as well BUT on Wednesday morning we woke early to sunshine and the promise of DOLPHINS!

The night before we had told the girls they had to go to bed early and we had to tell them why. I have no idea what the neighbours thought as they screamed and yelled while jumping all over their aunts kitchen….weather you better come through with the goods was all I thought!

Polperro Dolphin Swims are at Sorrento Pier

We headed out to our meeting point at Sorrento and at this stage, I was really worried. I am a larger woman and I was really worried about wearing a wetsuit. Would one fit me or would I have to miss out? I was telling Mark about it and we both came up with a plan just in case there was none that fit me…I was feeling a little bit worried at this stage.

Willow and Marley adjusting their snorkling gear as the boat leaves Sorrento Pier

We could see the Polperro docked off the Sorrento Pier so we headed out towards it. We were greeted by Jess, Ben and Captain Troy. They all had huge smiles on their faces and I was straight away put at ease about being out on a boat with them. They chatted with the girls and asked their names and had to put up with yet more squealing from them as they were so excited.

Jess was helping the other people get wetsuits so I spoke to Ben about being worried fitting into a wetsuit. He assured me that they had plenty of people of all different sizes that came on the swims and they would definitely have something for me.

We picked our suits and got into them and made our way on board the Polperro and we were off! As we were cruising the Bay Ben told me that he would look after Marley in the water so I would be able to see the dolphins and so I would not have to worry. Jess would be keeping an eye on all of the rest of us (there were 6 swimmers in our group) and would help Willow if she needed it.

There are a few rules you must follow when you are out in the water with Polperro Dolphin Swims:
  • You are swimming with wild animals, you are in their environment and you must respect that
  • You must listen to the guys who are taking you swimming
  • You are not allowed to touch the dolphins or the seals
  • You must stay close to the guide rope if you are not a strong swimmer

Both the girls have had swimming lessons since they were small but neither have ever used a snorkel before so we went through some of the basics and then water safety. We cruised around Port Phillip Bay for a little while before the decision was made to head out to have a look at the seals as the dolphins were being a little shy!

A seal diving in Port Phillip Bay

As we approached the little rotunda that all the seals were sunning themselves on Ben quickly went through again how we would get into the water off the back of the boat safely. As Captain Troy got us into the best position we all just sat and watched the seals swim around or jump up onto the rotunda. It was being worked on that day so there were much more in the water. Before we knew it we were hanging off the back of the boat ready to grab hold of the guide ropes and have a swim with the seals gliding through the water right near us. Even though we were in wetsuits the water was still only about 23 degrees so it would take us a little time to get warmed up once we were in there. Jess headed in first to make sure we all got the rope and then it was Marley’s turn with Ben. She hung off the back of the boat and let go to grab the rope. My heart did skip a little beat as she let go but Ben had her immediately and gave me the big thumbs up. He was absolutely amazing to her and she was so confident around him. The cold water was a shock at first but I can tell you once you are watching seals swim around you with not a care in the world you very quickly forget you are cold and you just enjoy it. They came up so close to us, it is an unforgettable experience.

After a while, we got back on the boat and tried to find some more dolphins. Captain Troy is in contact with the captains on the ferries so if they see a pod of dolphins then they share the information about it and that gives the passengers on the Polperro more of a chance to see them. While we were searching we had a hot cup of coffee (hot chocolate for the girls) and the most amazing scones with melted butter! I think I could not have loved Ben more when he offered me a second! As it was a pretty chilly morning still, Jess and Ben gave us all blankets to cover ourselves with and to stay warm. Sitting in the sun on the back of the boat was beautiful. It was in this time that Jess also told us about how they had all grown up around the area and you could truly hear in her voice how much love she had for the Bay and the wildlife that lives in it. They knew dolphins by name and knew when something was wrong or when they were having babies. They knew changes in the bay and changes in the pods they have come to love. Not only did we get to do something amazing we got to learn how we can protect our waterways and all that live in them listening to Jess talk about it so passionately.

The crew of Polperro Dolphin Swims talking about the animals of the bay

Tips for Swimming with Polperro Dolphin Swims
  • Wetsuits, flippers and snorkels are provided
  • If you are not a strong swimmer tell the guys on your tour
  • Kids are welcome, just check with ages when you book
  • You don’t have to swim, you can watch from the boat if you prefer
  • It is an early morning so get a good nights sleep
  • Take extra towels especially if you have kids

I have to say this was one of the best experiences of my life. Although we did not get to swim with dolphins (They just didn’t want to that day and you just can’t control wild animals) we watched them from the side of the boat briefly before they swam off into the distance. Swimming with the seals was just amazing, watching them play in the water around me was something I will not forget. Ever.

What Marley thought of Polperro Dolphin Swims

I thought that it gave you a really great experience. It gave you a really nice view of all the animals there. After we went swimming with the seals they made some really nice scones to get us warm again. Ben helped me so much because I kept forgetting and putting my whole face in the water. All the people were really nice and it was just really lovely to go there and see wild animals.

What Willow thought of Polperro Dolphin Swims

That was so much fun and I really loved it. It is an experience that I will not forget and I really enjoyed swimming with the seals. I loved listening to Jess talk about how we can help keep the oceans clean and hearing her talk about dolphins that she recognises from when she was a girl growing up in the area.

Wyld Family Travel sitting on a boat in Port Phillip Bay

What Mark thought of Polperro Dolphin Swims

I was really impressed with the communication from the guys regarding our tour. No one can control the weather but they made sure we were constantly updated, which I really appreciated. The other thing I was really impressed with was the education that we all got while we were on the boat. We were swimming with wild animals and that was something that was a privilege, not something that was to be disrespected. I had an awesome experience and I have no trouble in recommending Polperro to anyone.

As I said I had an amazing experience that was made even better by a group of people that not only wanted me to have the best experience I could possibly have they wanted us to go away from the experience educated as well. My kids had a fantastic time, they felt safe at all times, they were so well cared for and they still talk about it now. I hope one day to go back and see these guys again and hear more of what they have been up to. Polperro Dolphin Swims are truly brilliant, wonderful people who are doing their best by the ocean and its inhabitants.

How do I get to Sorrento Pier

Sorrento is approximately 90 minutes drive from Melbourne.  Leaving from Melbourne CBD take the Monash Freeway onto Citylink or Eastern Freeway (from Eastern & Northern suburbs) onto Eastlink/Peninsula Link then Mornington Peninsula Freeway to Rosebud. Point Nepean Rd will take you on a pleasant drive along the bay all the way to Sorrento, Car parking is available next to the pier at an hourly rate.

You can also easily access Sorrento Pier from Geelong and the Bellarine Peninsula. The Sorrento to Queenscliff car and passenger ferry leaves from the Sorrento terminal on the hour, every hour from 7 am to 6 pm, and until 7 pm from December 26 to end of daylight savings.

Where to stay in Sorrento

  • Sorrento has accommodation options for every budget from Hostels, to apartments and hotels rooms.
  •  You can search Airbnb for Kotor offerings. If you have never used Airbnb before get yourself $50 credit by signing and booking a stay right HERE
  • Hotels in Sorrento generally start from around $222.00 a night for a double room 3star and increase incrementally as the luxury rating rises towards the 5-star
  • You can compare and book your stay on Agoda, and Hotels Combined 

We hope you enjoyed our article on the dolphin swims. Please find 2 other articles from Wyld Family Travel for your reading enjoyment. Click the image to be taken to the article


Melbourne CBD pictured from the Yarra RiverThe Arthurs seat gondola heading down thw hill towards the bay










5 thoughts on “An unforgettable morning with Polperro Dolphin Swims”

  1. What an incredible experience! I can’t even imagine how amazing it must be to swim with seals, especially for young girls! I love that they also took the time to educate the group about keeping the oceans clean and respecting wildlife. I would love to experience this one day.

  2. Sounds like I need to make a trip to the Mornington Peninsula happen! Good approach not telling the kids in the lead up – it’s one of those experiences that really is dependent on weather. We just got back from a NZ cruise where we saw Hectors dolphins from the boat, and all I wanted to do was jump off my balcony and swim with them! So I would love to do a Polperro Dolphin Swim. Hats off to the staff, Ben sounds like he was amazing with your kids. You got some incredible underwater shots – swimming with the seals in the absence of the dolphins wanting to is a pretty awesome day anyway; as you said, being in a wild environment is what makes the experience an authentic and amazing one, and at the end of the day, you can’t control wild animals 🙂

  3. What a wonderful adventure and I am so jealous! It was such a beautiful day and I could see from the pictures that all of you enjoyed the swim very much.
    I am kind of an “animal freak” so I would be very excited to swim with these adorable dolphins! Sadly that when I was in Australia I couldn’t make it to a swim tour due to the time constraints. But now that I read about your experience I will mark it down and make it happen next time!

  4. What a cool experience, its surreal to swim with dolphins in the wild isn’t it. I did it just recently I’m Paihia, New Zealand and it was certainly a day I’ll never forget.

  5. Oh wow an amazing surprise. If I was one of your kids I would have been beside myself with excitement. I did get to swim with dolphins once. But it wasn’t planned and we didn’t get as close as you did. And your underwater shots look incredible. Also by the sound of it the crew was great with the kids.


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