A Look Back Over May 2016

What a beautiful end to autumn we had with the amazing colours from the trees before their leaves fell; we also had some warm autumn’s days to which were welcomed before the chill set in. We are now in to winter with chilly frosty starts to the day and shorter day light hours.


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First big snow fall of May

We had a successful month out on the water with great sightings of not only the resident sperm whales but migrating humpbacks and killer whales.


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Humpback Whale migrating by the Kaikoura Coast

The great thing about Kaikoura is the diversity of marine life we have here due to the deep waters being so close, which is due to the continental shelf running close in off our coastline (at times only 800m from the beach), also because of the abundance of food we have due to the subtropical convergence – this is where two current meet (one from the Antarctic waters & one from the Tropical waters) and collide against each other causing a washing machine effect bringing all the nutrients of the sea floor and begging the food chain, whatever it taken out of the food chain being constantly replenished.

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Sperm whales feast upon around a tonne of food per day so this abundance of food here in Kaikoura being ideal to sustain these whales’ appetites. There were 3 resident sperm whales sighted throughout May: Tutu, Holy Moly & Aotearoa - we are able to identify these whales by the different markings they have, also different shaped dorsal fins etc… 

Passengers on the following tours were blessed in seeing not only sperm whales but also the following migratory species: 

Orca x2 – 19th May

Humpback x3 – 25th May

Orca x6 – 26th May

Humpback x1 – 27th May

Humpback x2 – 28th May


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Orca with some dusky dolphins

We were also fortunate to see dusky dolphins, hector dolphins, common dolphins, New Zealand fur seals and many different species of marine birds on our tours throughout out the month when time and opportunity allowed.


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Albatross taking off

As you can see we had a fantastic month out on the water both conditions wise and sightings wise. 

Until next month – keep warm


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.