Weekly Update - 10th July 2017

Last week we had some amazing days out on the water viewing our semi-resident sperm whales Aoraki, Tutu and Tiaki as well as other sperm whales visiting the area. Humpback whales have continued to be sighted on our tours most days, with their annual migration heading north to warmer waters bringing them through the Hikurangi Trench just off the coast of Kaikōura. When time allowed, our tours have also seen pods of Dusky and Hector’s dolphins, New Zealand fur seals and various marine birds including the Giant Northern Petrel and the Fairy Prion.

Humpback whale surfacing

It’s always a special trip when we get to view dolphins, and even more extraordinary when we get to see the Hector’s dolphin. These dolphins are among the smallest in the world, and only found in New Zealand waters. Though the Hector’s are considered endangered with a population of less than 8,000, more so are their sub-species the Maui dolphin with fewer than 50 left in the world! Visit the NZ Whale & Dolphin website to see how you can take action to protect these critically endangered species and keep them in New Zealand waters for years to come.

American astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson, who just had his ‘A Cosmic Perspective’ show last night at Spark Arena in Auckland, stopped in to Kaikōura on his tour through New Zealand to see some sperm whales with us! Congratulations on your amazing presentation last night!

Three days into the July school holidays and you’re still not sure how you are going to entertain your children? Winter is a great time to visit us here at Whale Watch and when children travel for free, there’s no reason not to! We are offering a July School Holiday Special, so please consider taking the time to visit Kaikōura and seeing our spectacular marine life.

The amount of rugby chat we have had on our boats along with the high number of Lions fans has been overwhelming! Thank you to all the Lions fans who have toured with us and well done on the draw last weekend! It has been our pleasure to host you here in Kaikōura and to provide you with some up-close encounters with Giant Sperm Whales.

REGULAR, SCHEDULED CLOSURES OF STATE HIGHWAY 1 SOUTH OF KAIKOURA

There is a possibility of short delays and it will be 30km/hour through parts of the route. Inland Route 70 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 continuing to be made on the repair of the Kaikōura Marina, with the modified trailer and public jetty now being used for launching our vessel Tohora from this Monday 10th July onwards. This is due to tidal restrictions and repair work as a result of the coastline lifting by +1.0m. Contractors are currently removing the final berth to assist the restoration of the harbour. This is an end of an era but we are excited to see our new and improved marina once it is completed! The use of the modified public jetty will continue until further notice. It is anticipated that the Kaikōura Marina will be fully restored in October 2017.

Repair work at Kaikōura Marina

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, 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.

KAIKOURA 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

IntercityHasslefree 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.

Infographic of work-in-progress on SH1, New Zealand

The team at Whale Watch Kaikoura.

This week Kaikōura really lived up to its reputation of being a marine mecca, with a wide variety of marine mammals sighted in abundance on our tours! We saw a lot of large transient Sperm Whales visiting our Coast to indulge in the nutrient rich waters of the Hikurangi Trench, as well as Spotty Tail! A semi-residential Sperm Whale who we’ve been seeing for a while now.

We’ve also seen a great number of Pilot Whales over the week, on Tuesday we saw 50+ and then on Thursday we saw 150+! A couple of stray Humpback Whales have also been hanging around Kaikōura, which we don’t usually get to see in November, but we’re guessing they’re just enjoying the Kaikōura Canyon too much to leave!

Dolphin varieties we saw on our tours included the usual suspects, the acrobatic Duskies and endangered Hectors, and this week we saw a pod of 20+ Bottlenose. As well as seeing the smallest of the dolphin species, the Hector, we also spotted the largest – the Orca. That makes two weeks in a row of Orca sighting!

On Tuesday, the 14th of November which marked exactly 1 year on from when the 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck which raised our coastline and left our boats on dry land, we celebrated our official marina opening. Thank you to everyone’s support and well wishes over the past year, each word of encouragement has been truly appreciated.

ROAD ACCESS UPDATE

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

KAIKOURA 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. 

ORGANISED TRANSPORT OPTIONS FROM CHRISTCHURCH

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.