Southland is home to Pahu Hector's dolphins, a species endemic to New Zealand. These dolphins are one of the world's smallest, with mature adults measuring between 1.2 and 1.6 meters.

Pahu are easily recognised by their distinctive dorsal fin, resembling one of Mickey Mouse's ears. Their bodies are grey with black and white markings. Hector's dolphins form groups of around 5 individuals ,and you won't often encounter groups larger than that.

With a national conservation status of vulnerability, New Zealand is home to approximately 15,000 dolphins older than 1 year. Along the extensive coastline of Southland, there's a good chance of encountering these beautiful creatures. Whether catching a wave or taking a swim in Curio Bay or Riverton, you may find a pod of dolphins coming to play with you. If you're lucky, you might even spot them during a cruise through Milford Sound in Fiordland National Park.