A Look Back Over July 2017

Kaikōura is as beautiful as ever in July, marking the middle of winter which brought with it snow and hail storms as well as days of clear blue skies with the sun in its full glory. July is genuinely a quitter time of year for us at Whale Watch Kaikoura so definitely a perfect time to visit if you are looking to get away from the crowded city life to enjoy a slice of paradise.

The semi-resident Sperm Whales that we were able to view throughout July included Saddleback, Tutu, Tiaki, Matimati, Aoraki and Aotearoa. We’ve been seeing these guys for 20+ years on our tours off the Kaikōura Coast, which well and truly earns them ‘local’ status.

Whale tail, Kaikoura NZ

We had quite a few Humpback Whale visitors during July, making for some extra special tours:

1st July        3X Humpback Whale

2nd July       2X Humpback Whale

3rd July        2X Humpback Whale

5th July        2X Humpback Whale

7th July        1X Humpback Whale

10th July      1X Humpback Whale

11th July      1X Humpback Whale

17th July      1X Humpback Whale

19th July      1X Humpback Whale

20th July      2X Humpback Whale

That is an incredible total 16 individual sightings of a Humpback Whale passing through Kaikōura during July! Humpback Whales pass through Kaikōura during the months of May - August as they travel from the cold Antarctic waters to sub-tropical coastal waters of Australia and Tonga. In winter, Antarctic food becomes scarce and the waters too cold for these warm-blooded mammals, especially new-born calves.

Humpback Whale breaching

Humpback Whale breaching

This great whale migration occurs every year, as they move from their feeding grounds to mate and give birth during winter and spring. Humpback Whales are capable of travelling up to 5MPH! However, during such a long journey, they average only 1MPH, allowing them to rest and socialise along the way.

Humpback Whale flipper

Humpback Whale waving hello

One of our most exciting encounters this month was seeing two Humpback Whales playing with a pod of over 100 Dusky Dolphins. Guests walked away with some amazing pictures and memories, stoked to see the Humpbacks and Duskies living up to their spirited and inquisitive reputations. Seeing whales in their natural habitat for some people is a once in a lifetime experience, and coupled with dolphins is just the icing on the cake!

Dusky dolphins swimming along with a Humpback whale in Kaikoura NZ

As with all out tours, when time allows we take time to view other species of marine life that live off the Kaikōura coast such Dusky Dolphins, Hectors Dolphins, NZ Fur Seals and the many marine bird species.

Dusky Dolphins

Bird species sighted during July included: Wandering Albatross, Royal Albatross, Bullers Mollymawk, Shy Mollymawk, Grey headed Mollymawk, Black Browed Mollymawk, Cape Petrel, Giant Northern Petrel, Storm Petrel, Westland Petrel, Hutton Shearwater, Sooty Shearwater, Bullers Shearwater, Fairy Prion, White Fronted Tern, Caspian Tern, Black Back Gull and the Spotted Shag.

The Kaikōura Trench makes Kaikōura a marine life mecca, and each day on the water diverse and exciting! We’ll check in with you and the end of next month for another monthly round up of sightings.

The team at Whale Watch Kaikoura


There is a possibility of short delays with it being 30km/hour through parts of the route. The full rebuild of the highway will continue in 2018. Check the NZTA website for road updates before traveling. INLAND ROUTE 70 IS OPEN 24/7.


Hasslefree ToursCanterbury Leisure Tours & Kaikoura Express have daily services from Christchurch to Kaikōura with a return service from Christchurch. Kiwi Experience now have the option of a day tour out of Christchurch for their travellers. Intercity Bus also provides a bus service between Christchurch and Kaikoura return.

Progress on the work being done on the roads can be found on the dedicated Kaikoura Earthquake Response page provided by the team at NZTA. This page is updated weekly on Fridays. Work is also underway on the railway network, please be aware and take care when using rail crossings.