Weekly Update - 10th October 2017

We certainly have had a lot of rain over the last few days, it was such a treat to wake up this morning and see the clouds parted and see the Kaikōura ranges. There is some icky weather forecast for mid-week and then it is looking like some sunshine on the way which will be a wonderful way to end the school holidays.

 Sunset at Kaikoura, New Zealand

Over the last week when we have been able to sail our whale watching trips have spotted Sperm Whales as well as other marine mammals which are regular sightings on our tours– Dusky Dolphins, Hectors Dolphins and NZ Fur Seals.

It is around this time of the year where we tend to see transient Sperm Whales off our coastline and usually further offshore which has been the case over the last week however there were a couple of days where we were also seeing semi-resident Sperm Whale Holy Moly.

 Sperm whale in Kaikoura, New Zealand

Just a reminder that the Term 3 School Holidays have begun! From the 30th of September to the 15th of October 2017 (inclusive), kids travel with us for free with every full fare paying adult! Consider taking the time to visit Kaikōura and showing your tamariki the spectacular marine life on offer. Reserve your seats here before spaces fill up.

The Huttons Shearwater (Tītī) are special to us in Kaikōura. Their habitat sustained considerable loss during the Nov 2016 earthquake. Please take the time to vote for them as Bird of the Year and this status will help secure the much needed funding for more research so we can plan for their future.

 A flock of seabirds in Kaikoura, New Zealand


The highway will be open during daylight hours on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays (perfect for a long weekend getaway) from 7AM to 7PM.

The highway will be closed on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays for repairs to take place. 

The closure schedule is expected to remain in place until December 2017.

There is a possibility of short delays and it will be 30km/hour through parts of the route. Check the NZTA website for road updates before traveling. Inland Route 70 remains open 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

Planning Ahead: The next full week closure is Monday 16 to Friday 20 October. The road will reopen to the public midday on Friday 20 October for Labour weekend travellers. Another full week closure is scheduled for Monday 6 to Friday 10 November. 

Huge progress has been made on the repair of the Kaikōura Marina, with the boarding ramp and piles installed and the digging out of berth 4 underway. We anticipate being able to utilise this berth by the end of the week (all going to plan). Until then we continue to us the modified trailer and public jetty for launching our vessel Tohora. This is due to tidal restrictions and repair work as a result of the coastline lifting by +1.0m. We are excited to see our new and improved marina once it is completed! We cannot thank the tireless effort that the workers have put in to get us to this stage especially in what has been trying conditions at times.

 Kaikōura Marina repair progress

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 – there is light at the end of the tunnel. 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.

  • Our Customer Service team are available from 7am – 5.30pm daily.
  • Our Gift Shop’s opening hours are in line with our daily tour times. There are many fantastic marine & local based products available both in store and online BUY ONLINE TODAY.
  • Flukes Café’s opening hours are in line with our daily tour times, with fresh baking, great coffee, friendly service and stunning views on offer.


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. 


  • SH1 SOUTH Christchurch – Cheviot - Kaikōura is open 7.00am to 7.00pm Friday – Monday (scheduled closures on Tues/Wed/Thurs for repair work)
  • INLAND ROUTE 70 Christchurch - Hanmer Springs - Kaikōura is open 24/7
  • SH1 NORTH from Kaikōura - Picton is closed until December 2017
  • All subject to weather conditions, slips, repair work and seismic activity. Updates available from the NZTA WEBSITE.

Hasslefree ToursCanterbury Leisure Tours & Kaikoura Express 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.

11 months on and we are coming our strong. We cannot thank you all enough for your continual support.

The team at Whale Watch Kaikoura

State Highway 1 both North & South of Kaikōura

& Inland Road Route 70 between Christchurch (via Waiau) to Kaikōura is OPEN 24/7.

Please drive to the conditions & visit nzta.govt.nz/p2c for more information.