Ohau Waterfall Track Temporarily Closed

Due to safety concerns, the Ohau Waterfall Stream track has been closed temporarily.

ohau waterfall track sign

The track is very popular because fur seal pups can often be viewed at the waterfall or in the stream.  These pups are usually 4-10 months old and they spend their time resting and playing while their mothers are at sea feeding.  When the pups get hungry, they head back down the stream and meet their mothers at the coastal colony for a long drink of milk.

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However, in the past few days the story at Ohau has changed.

For the first time in recent history, female fur seals are giving birth to pups up the stream and near the waterfall.  This means that the area is now a breeding ground and must be protected.  Newborn pups are vulnerable to disturbance and mothers need adequate rest to properly care for their young.

In addition, now that there are reproductive females up the stream, several large mature males have followed.  This makes the area hazardous to the public.  We really don’t want anyone to be in close quarters with one of these males, which could weigh up to 150 kg.

Males can be quite aggressive and territorial at this time of the year.  We are currently at the height of the breeding season and males are set on mating with females in the days after she gives birth.

At the request of the landowners, the track has been closed for the time being and DOC Rangers are monitoring the situation closely.

The best place to view fur seals is at the Ohau Point Lookout, just a little further down the road.  From the safety of a viewing platform, visitors can see heaps of new pups and their mothers and can safely watch large males fight and defend their territory.

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.