If you have to choose one destination in New Zealand for whale watching, Kaikoura should be the one as it is the only place on earth where you will be able to see giant sperm whales all year round. Located on the rugged east coast of the South Island of New Zealand, this stunning coastline meets with the majestic alpine scenery of the Kaikoura Ranges, an all-year-round destination well known for its diverse marine wildlife.
Tour operators such as ‘Whale Watch Kaikoura‘ will take you out to view marine life, including the mighty Sperm Whales drawn by the deep sea trenches on the continental shelf just a short distance from the coastline. An unforgettable experience as you witness the whale’s tail farewell as the whale dives into the deep canyon depths. ‘Kaikoura Helicopters offer scenic flights over Kaikoura to see the whales as they surface and where they prepare before diving again.
Have fun! Make the most of your time while enjoying this activity for all ages. Don’t forget to charge your batteries and take as many photos as you want, but take a minute to enjoy it alive, remembering the moments in your mind.
Come and see the entire whale from ‘head to tail’ with Kaikoura Helicopters.
As we lift off from our centrally located helicopter pads you will immediately experience spectacular views of the Kaikoura Peninsula. Within minutes you will be flying above the Kaikoura Canyon in search of the magnificent Sperm Whale. From the comfort of our helicopter, you can view the entire Whale, as we fly slow orbits above them.
Prices from: $350 per person
Whale watching tours are approx two hours on the water, with each trip being a unique experience and sightings of whales and dolphins can vary on each trip, our giant sperm whales are always the star attraction and are present all year round. On this tour you may also see New Zealand Fur Seals, pods of Dusky Dolphins, Wandering Albatross and depending on the season several other species of whale may be seen as they pass by our coastline on their migratory route. These include Humpback Whales, Pilot Whales, Blue Whales, Orca and Southern Right Whales.
Prices from: $150 per person
Each species of whale has its characteristics and watching them living freely in the ocean is an activity every person should experience.
Sperm whales – All year round. A whale with deep water habits that can hold its breath for about 40-60 minutes usually. While most species only feed seasonally, sperm whales feed all the time, eating 3% of their body weight daily. Their head are square and makes up approximately one third of body length, sperm whales have a dark grey or brown colour.
Humpback whale – Easy to identify in the sea, humpback whales have a small dorsal fin but when swimming back to the ocean they show the black and white tails, each making an individual pattern. They also have a specific behaviour like spy hopping, breaching, lob tailing and flipper slapping. Humpback whales also produce unique songs.
Blue Whale – They are the largest and heaviest animal that has ever lived on earth. Actually, the largest animal found on history was a female blue whale weighing 150 tonnes. Named after the blue pigmentation, the blue whale can blow 9 meters high. This is a rare animal but can be found in New Zealand, as they live part of the year in its waters.
Southern Right Whale – Right whales have large wide bodies, no dorsal fin, V shape blowhole spray and their colour vary from dark grey to black. They swim on slow speed and have an oily body, which made easy for hunters to catch in the past being the reason why this specie has this name, it was the right whale to hunt.
Orcas – Here is an exception for our whales but equally famous. Also known as killer whale, orca is a member of dolphin family. The name comes from the fact they are the only marine mammal that prey upon other species. Orcas prefer deeper waters but can be seen in shallow bays for breeding. Easy to watch in the sea, as they have a long dorsal fin and characteristic black colour.
Kaikoura has a rich marine life where you can get up close with a vast marine life along the Kaikoura coastline from swimming and viewing dolphins, swimming with seals or view from a kayak or view the abundance of Pelagic birdlife
Dolphin Encounter has been been sharing unforgettable dolphin encounters with people from all corners of the globe for over 30 years. interacting with the dolphins in their natural environment.
The most amazing and unique feature of Kaikoura is the huge range of Albatross and pelagic sea birds that can be sighted with just a 15 minute boat journey from the coast. A photographers dream!
Matt from Kaikoura Kayaks will take you on a guided kayak tour of Kaikoura’s marine wild life viewing seals up close in their natural environment, birdlife and chance encounters with local Dusky Dolphins.
Seal Swim Kaikoura offer a unique experience of swimming with New Zealand Fur Seals in their natural environment on the Kaikoura Coastline. Known for their playful and inquisitive nature
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