A Look Back Over March 2016

I just love this time of the year where the leaves start to change colour, it really does make for such beautiful scenery. The days are getting shorter but the beautiful sunrises and sunsets that go with this make up for it.

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Easter Sunday sunset

We had two semi-resident sperm whales being sighted throughout March – Tiaki and Tutu. Both of these whales have been sighted off the Kaikoura coastline for many years now and have become good friends of ours.

We are able to identify these individuals apart by the different shaped dorsal fins, tail and heads along with markings and scars these whales have.



Tiaki & Tutu - Semi-resident sperm whales in Kaikoura

During March we were able to see a couple of other species of whale pass by the coastline which is always an extra special bonus for our guests and sea crew alike.

13th March – Blue Whale x3

14th March – Humpback Whale

15th March – Humpback Whale

This humpback whale was rather special in the fact that it didn’t have a tail. Such an unusual sight to see and not something we have experienced before. It is amazing to think that this whale is still able to travel great distances despite no tail flukes to help propel itself along.


There have also been three species of dolphins sighted pretty regularly this month. Dusky dolphins (which we see all year round) were seen often in pods of between 100-400 individuals. There was also regular sightings of Hector’s Dolphins and Common Dolphins too. 

The dusky dolphins have been feeding close inshore at times being able to sit on the beach in South Bay and watch them doing the leaps, jumps and flips they are renowned for. Even though the water starts to get cooler it is still a great time of the year to go swimming with them…

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Common dolphins in Kaikoura

When time allows we do our best to also stop and see NZ Fur Seals at an area called Barney’s Rock along with any of the amazing bird species that are either flying about or taking a rest of the surface such as: Wandering albatross, shy mollymawk, cape petrels, giant northern petrel, Hutton’s shearwater and Buller’s shearwater.

From time to time our crew are able to capture an image or two of their time out whale watching. Here are a few shots that were sent through to me this month – enjoy!

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NZ Fur Seals at Barney's Rock

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Until next month,


We had some stunning weather over the weekend along with some great sightings on our tours. Not only were we able to see sperm whales but also the rare opportunity of seeing a pod of beaked whales pass by the Kaikōura coastline. Not a common sight at all and one that is very treasured by all when we do.

Over the weekend we also had a visit from a couple of the crew from Emirates Team New Zealand with the America’s Cup. It was great to have the opportunity to see the cup up close. Check out this video to see how the afternoon went.

The Huttons Shearwater (Tītī) are special to us in Kaikōura. Their habitat sustained considerable loss during the Nov 2016 earthquake. Please take the time to vote for them as Bird of the Year and this status will help secure the much needed funding for more research so we can plan for their future.


The highway will be open during daylight hours on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays (perfect for a long weekend getaway) from 7AM to 7PM.

The highway will be closed on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays for repairs to take place. 

The closure schedule is expected to remain in place until December 2017.

There is a possibility of short delays and it will be 30km/hour through parts of the route. Check the NZTA website for road updates before traveling. Inland Route 70 remains open 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

Please be aware that this week is a full closure week - Monday 16 to Friday 20 October. The road will reopen to the public midday on Friday 20 October for Labour weekend travellers. Another full week closure is scheduled for Monday 6 to Friday 10 November. 

Something worth celebrating...

Restoration work on the Kaikoura marina begun 10 months ago, and over the weekend we celebrated being able to now use berth 3 & 4. We have been using our trailer unit & the public jetty for some time now so to be able to pull up into our berths is quite an exciting feat. We still have a wee way to go but this is a HUGE step closer to being fully operational. We are very thankful for the amazing work the harbour repair crew are doing in what are at times trying conditions. We are excited to see our new and improved marina once it is completed! We cannot thank the tireless effort that the workers have put in to get us to this stage especially in what has been trying conditions at times.

More great news…

We thank you all for your patience over the last 11 months with the changing tour times with having work in line with the tides but with being able to now use berth 3 & 4 it means that we are now back running on our original fixed tour timetable. 0715, 1000, 1245 & 1530 (Nov-Mar)


Kaikōura is open for business. For latest updates on accommodation, restaurant and retail information please contact the team at the Kaikōura I-Site who will be able to help you find what suits your needs during your stay in Kaikōura. 


Hasslefree ToursCanterbury Leisure Tours & Kaikoura Express have daily services from Christchurch to Kaikōura with a return service from Christchurch, as well as Kiwi Experience now having the option of a day tour out of Christchurch for their travellers.

Progress on the work being done on roads (along with harbour repairs) can be found on this dedicated KAIKOURA EARTHQUAKE RESPONSE page provided by the team at NZTA. This page is updated weekly on Friday. Work is also starting to take place on the railway network, please be aware and take care when using rail crossings.

11 months on and we are starting to see some real progress – the teams out on the road, rail and the marina are all doing such an amazing job for which we are so thankful. And, we cannot thank you all enough for your continual support.

The team at Whale Watch Kaikoura