Recent Sightings

Why Do Whales Breach?

Ever wondered why sperm whales breach? This is a question we get asked often by our visitors, so I have put together what is hopefully some helpful information to this interesting question. While our visitors might think the whales are doing this to make for that Kodak moment it is likely they are breaching for other purposes.

Marine Mammal Spotlight - Common Dolphins

Common dolphins have a distinctive creamy yellow hourglass pattern along their sides, with a dark grey back, tail and flippers along with a cream coloured belly.

Marine Mammal Spotlight - Hector's Dolphins

Only found in New Zealand’s waters, this distinctive grey dolphin with black and white markings and a round dorsal fin (much like the shape of a Mickey Mouse ear) is...

Marine Mammal Spotlight - Humpback Whale

Over the weekend we were fortunate enough to be able to view a humpback whale on our tours.

Marine Mammal Spotlight - Orca

Orca can be found around the coast of New Zealand (including estuaries and harbours) being seen off the Kaikōura Coastline generally between the months of November – March usually at least...

Erect-Crested Penguin Sighting

Over the last few days there has been sightings of a Erect-Crested Penguin. It is thought that the last official sighting of one of these individuals was in 2007. 

Whale Watching during January 2017

On the 14th November a 7.8 earthquake shook our wee town in the small hours of the morning along with the surrounding districts around us.

A Look Back Over 2 Weeks Of Whale Watching

We have been back operating our tours commercially 2 weeks today! Over the last 14 days we have seen a wide variety of marine life which just goes to show...

Our 1st Whale Watching Trip Post Earthquake - 2nd Jan 2017

Wahoo... We were able to go whale watching this morning with our first commercial tour since the 14th November 2016.

Two Blue Whales kind of day!

Yesterday we were treated to not one but two blue whales out on our tours. We couldn't believer our luck to see two of the world's largest creatures on our tours.

Humpback Whale Migration

It is that time of the year where we start to see Humpback Whales migrating through on their way to the warmer waters for winter.

Kaikoura is so beautiful

I am pretty sure that I live in one of the most beautiful places in the world. Kaikoura - where the mountains meets the sea!

We Love Whale Watching

It really is so special to be able to take our guests out and show them a 'whale of a time'.

A sperm whale named Whero

Recently we have been sighting a sperm whale that has a reddish tinge to his skin. With this in mind crew have started to call him Whero which is Māori for red.

Kaikoura - Marine Life Mecca

Every now and then I am fortunate enough to be able to get out from behind my desk and head out to see whale watching. Yesterday was one such occasion.

Semi-resident sperm whale - Tutu

We had quite a few of our semi-resident sperm whales feeding in the canyon this month, examples being: Tutu, MatiMati, Manu, Tiaki and Saddleback.

Bottlenose Dolphins

It is not very common for us to see bottlenose dolphins on a regular basis off the Kaikoura coast however recently we had a pod of them along with some...

Unusual behavior of the sperm whale kind

Generally sperm whales are on the surface for around 10-15 mins taking in a new supply of oxygen as well as digesting their food and having a bit of a...

Pilot Whales & Bottlenose Dolphins

It has been a great start to the year with not only sperm whales feeding close inshore but we have also had a pod of pilot whales and bottlenose dolphins...

Happy New Year

We have been having some fantastic tours out at sea with 3-4 semi-resident sperm whales feeding in the canyon.

Merry Christmas from the team at Whale Watch Kaikoura

It seems we had a very jolly visitor to our marina yesterday, stopping by to wish our manuhiri (guests) a very Merry Christmas. 

Tiaki, Jonah and Aoraki

We currently have three semi-resident sperm whales feeding close inshore - Tiaki, Jonah and Aoraki.

Semi-resident sperm whale - Jonah

Over the last couple of months we have been watching this incredibly beautiful whale on our tours.

Semi-resident sperm whales are back

We have had three of our semi-resident sperm whales move back into the Kaikoura canyon - Tutu, MatiMati and Tiaki after a few months of feeding further offshore.

Wonderful day for whale watching

We are having such beautiful weather in Kaikoura with warm temperatures and calm seas to go with it. Today's tours we have been sighting sperm whales, dusky dolphins, Nz fur seals and marine birds. We have also been seeing Hector's dolphins playing out the front of our office.

Windy day in Kaikoura

We have had a very windy day in Kaikoura which unfortunately made for very rough sea conditions which meant we were unable to sail today. We are hoping that the wind calms down overnight and that we are back out there tomorrow. Have a good weekend. Picture featured was taking during sunset last night.

Orca pay Kaikoura a visit

Another spectacular day in Kaikoura with sperm whale activity close inshore, dusky dolphins along the coastline and even a pod of Orca paying us a visit. Such a wonderful time of the year to come whale watching.

Sperm whales in close today

We have had sperm whale activity close inshore over the last few days which is wonderful.

Windy afternoon in Kaikoura

We were able to get our first two rounds of tours out today before the forecast wind from the NE arrived.

Rain, wind and hail

It has been an all seasons type of day in Kaikoura with sunshine, rain, hail and wind all in one. Our first round of tours sailed but we ended up canceling the rest of the day due to rough seas offshore. Hoping things calm down overnight and we are back out there tomorrow.

Foggy start to the day

We had a very foggy start to the day in Kaikoura. Our tours were able to head out in search of whales this morning but unfortunately the whales were feeding...

Sperm whales

We have had a great couple of days out at sea with sperm whales feeding between 8 - 12 miles offshore.

We had it all over the weekend – sunshine, wild wind, sleet, warmth, cold and beautiful new snow on the Kaikoura ranges. Despite the conditions over the weekend in the days leading up we had some great tours with sightings of semi-resident sperm whales Manu and Tiaki and hen time allowed we also saw dusky dolphins, Hector’s dolphins, NZ fur seals and marine birds.

The most recent update on State Highway 1 South from Kaikoura is that it is expected to remain closed till the end of May to allow the construction of a temporary road and rail alignment around the base of the large landslide that came down during April’s heavy rain at Easter. Please allow extra time as you travel through Inland Route 70 which remains open 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

As we enter into the cooler winter months it is a good reminder to take extra care on the roads and to check the NZTA website for road updates before traveling.

Progress is being made on the repair of the Kaikōura Marina and we continue to switch between using a berth and our modified trailer unit for launching our vessel Tohorā, when and where possible we are also making use of the public jetty that we have modified, this is due to tidal restrictions and repair work as a result of the coastline lifting by +1.0m. It is anticipated that the Kaikōura Marina will be fully restored by October 2017.

Dredging of the outer channel of the Kaikōura marina is well advanced.

Currently our available tour times are based around the tide times on the day and may differ from the tour times originally advertised, please bear with us as we continue to work toward being fully operational again. For an update on the tour times available please contact our Customer Service team directly either by email on res@whalewatch.co.nz or phone +64 3 319 6767 or free phone 0800 655 121 (within NZ) and they will be able to help you with your inquiry.  Please note we are operating at a reduced capacity in the interim with up to 3 tours available per day, please contact our team prior to arriving in Kaikōura to secure a space on one of our tours and to save disappointment.

Kaikōura Business Update:

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.

Transport Update:

All subject to weather conditions, slips, repair work and seismic activity. Updates available from the NZTA WEBSITE.

Intercity, Hasslefree Tours & Canterbury Leisure Tours 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.

Please consider taking the time to visit Kaikōura, your support is most welcome.

The team at Whale Watch Kaikoura.