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,


Kaikōura’s Summer weather has been a treat this past week, making for some epic sea conditions and amazing clear sightings of marine life out on the water.

It seems like Tiaki and Tutu, two of our favourite whales to see out in the Canyon, have been getting reacquainted since they’ve reunited, as this marks the second week in a row that we’ve seen catching a breather up on the surface and diving down to feed together. Looks like they missed each other as much as we missed them whilst they were away!

Other semi-residential Sperm Whales we saw this week included Mati Mati and Aoraki as well as many transient Sperm Whales who are constantly drawn to Kaikōura due to the abundance of food on offer. As with the majority of our tours, we sighted NZ Fur Seals, Hectors Dolphins, Dusky Dolphins and a variety of seabirds including the Great Wandering Albatross.

Who else is planning to kick start their Summer with a whale watching tour? Bring your family and friends along too and make it an adventure! Buy a whale watching gift voucher or, better yet, check out our Marine Combo deal! Get above, on and below the water with a scenic flight, whale watching boat trip and swim with the dolphins! The ultimate gift this Christmas and one of the best ways to make some lasting Summer memories.

Don’t forget, State Highway 1 North is re-opening this Friday afternoon. And yes, the world famous Nins Bin caravan will be ready to welcome you back! So if you’re making your way along the Coast, stop to enjoy the warm weather, soak up the scenes and take in this incredible new landscape that Kaikōura is quickly becoming known for. They’ll be serving freshly caught crayfish and all that other good stuff including mussels, whitebait and the classic Kiwi fish n’ chips right on the beach – does it get any better?!


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.


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. 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 (along with harbour repairs) 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.

The team at Whale Watch Kaikoura.