Lucy in the sea with dolphins – and where to see dolphins in Australia

I love it when I get emails and photos from readers, especially when they’re filled with the joys of living an active, healthy and engaged lifestyle.

I met Lucy a few years ago, via the internet.

Here’s a post I wrote some time ago about online friendships.

She lives in the United States, and I live in Western Australia, but she’d read my blog and we corresponded, and then amazingly we found out that she had a daughter who’d relocated to the same town we’d recently moved to in WA, so we met up in person on one of her visits.

What I was most taken with was her joie de vivre and her thirst to learn about everything and anything, particularly at the time blogging – which we were both passionate about.

Imagine my delight when I received an email and photos from her out of the blue the other day telling me about her recent escapade in Bunbury – swimming with dolphins. With characteristic verve and energy she explains her three firsts, at the age of 72, and I feel so privileged that she’s shared them with us all at Lifestyle Fifty.

Go Lucy!

where to see dolphins in australia

“On my recent visit to Bunbury to visit my daugher, son in law and grandchildren, I had three firsts at the age of 72!
  1. First time swimming with wild dolphins
  2. First time swimming in the Indian Ocean
  3. First time swimming in a wet suit

I had three hours of fun. To begin with I donned the wet suit, but I kicked off the fins, since I wasn’t diving down and I’m a strong swimmer.  Fins, I thought would just make it difficult to get on and off the dive boat.

So it was just me in my wet suit and my snorkel. I jumped off the dive boat and swam to within 2 feet of the juvenile and male dolphins which were swimming around in pods of 5 to 6. It was so exciting and such fun!

I was always in the front group getting into the water and just loved it. We weren’t allowed to swim with the mothers and babies (see the top banner picture). But when they came near the boat, the skipper just cut the engines and we floated. Our guide told us that dolphins swim in pods, but if we were lucky sometimes dolphins would come together in large groups.  We were lucky and 30 dolphins came slowly swimming by with babies as young as 2 days to 2 months.  Look closely and you can see small fins alone on the left and right next to mom on the right.  We just kept on snapping pictures on an iPhone. It was just incredible.”

I loved hearing about Lucy’s encounter, and it just goes to show that our years shouldn’t become a hindrance for continuing to clock up exciting ‘Firsts’.

As I was reading Lucy’s story I couldn’t help but hum, “Lucy in the sea with dolphins” to the Beatles tune “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds!” In fact I’m going to go and put a Beatles CD on right now 😉 and revert to our generation’s music 😉

In Bunbury we’re lucky to have the Dolphin Discovery Centre where you can have beach experiences or eco-swim experiences with wild dolphins. This is the boat I went out in for an eco-cruise in Koombana Bay when my sister and brother-in-law came to visit a while ago. It was summer then, and very hot.

where to see dolphins in australia

At the Dolphin Centre they conduct a lot of research into dolphin behaviour and habitat, and there’s a fantastic indoor dolphinarium as well.

where to see dolphins in australia

Each time I’ve visited I’ve been amazed at just how much of a spiritual experience it can be getting close to these magical creatures, although unlike Lucy I’ve not yet had the pleasure of swimming with them out in the ocean.

I did have a lovely time at Monkey Mia though, when I wrote this post on my travel blog ZigaZag : 8 Weird and Wonderful facts about Dolphins

Here’s a selection of some of the best places in Australia where you are either likely to spot dolphins from the shore, or have your own dolphin experience.

Bunbury, Western Australia

Shark Bay, Monkey Mia, Western Australia

Shoalwater Islands Marine Park, Rockingham, Western Australia

From the clifftops around Kalbarri, Western Australia

Hervey Bay, Queensland

Port Stephens, New South Wales

Jervis Bay, New South Wales

 where to see dolphins in australia

Have you ever swum with dolphins – would you like to? Do you think doing things out of our comfort zone is important for our health as we get older?


  1. I think getting out of your comfort zone, particularly as an older person, keeps you young. I donned a wetsuit for the first time in my life a couple of weeks ago. And while I’ll probably not repeat the specific experience, I had a memorable time! Posts such as this one inspire!

    • Hi Betsy, well done for getting into that wetsuit – they’re not easy at any stage of life 😉 Glad you had a great time. Thanks for saying posts like this one inspire 🙂

  2. This sounds so exciting and fun. I would love to swim with the dolphins.

  3. It sounds like your friends experience was absolutely magical! I’ve seen them but never swum with them. Beautiful!

  4. Swimming with dolphins is something I’ve always wanted to do and I loved your photos, especially the last one where the dolphin seems to be grinning. Friends like Lucy are diamonds themselves because they share their enthusiasm for new experiences and life and demonstrate that aging and adventure is indeed possible. Loved this post!

  5. There is so to much to see and experience in life – there is always room/time for another first! Your photos of the dolphins are lovely.

  6. I swam with the delightful dolphins in New Zealand, but never in Australia. Your pictures are super – and I envy you have the opportunity to enjoy those three ‘family firsts’. That would make everything perfect for me 🙂

    • We are lucky to have lots of places we can interact with dolphins in Australia, Ursula – lucky you to swim with them in New Zealand though. Thanks for your comment 🙂

  7. Gosh, those dolphins are beautiful and how lucky you are to have such an “engaged” reader!

  8. That was an exciting encounter Lucy enjoyed with the dolphins. My daughter had a similar experience “accidentally” when she went for a morning swim in a cove on Lanai in Hawaii. The dolphins actually surrounded her in a circle, we think because she had very red hair and they were enchanted. It had an edge of scariness because it was not under any supervision but mostly it was magical.

  9. I loved the email from Lucy…gives me hope for the same adventure in my future!!!

  10. How wonderful to swim with wild dolphins and babies too. I would always prefer this over a dolphin ‘habitat’ encounter.

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