Weekly Update - 11th September 2017
This week has brought with it a fresh dosing of snow on the Kaikōura Ranges. So if you’re making your way to Kaikōura, be sure to rug up and bring your camera to capture some epic snaps of Mt. Fyffe before the last of Winters snow finally wears off.
Out on the water this week we saw Sperm Whales and Humpback Whales on our tours. It looks like they’re still finishing up their Great Annual Migration, fingers crossed we have a few more coming our way before they return to Antarctica for the Summer. When time allowed, we also took time to see Dusky Dolphins and NZ Fur Seals out and about in Kaikōura’s waters.
Another exciting encounter we had was with Beaked Whales on Sunday’s tour! Beaked Whales comprise of at least 22 species of small whales in the family Ziphiidae. They are one of the more mysterious species of whales due to their long and deep foraging habits meaning they typically inhabit deep, offshore waters off the edge of continental shelves – so not surprising that we have spotted them in the Kaikōura’s Canyon which is a well-known biodiversity hotspot.
This week we had students from Whangara School in the North Island visit us. Whangara is the location and setting of Whale Rider, the successful New Zealand novel and film inspired by the mythic ancestor Paikea who came to New Zealand on the back of the whale Tohora. We were delighted to host them on one of our whale watching tours and show them the Mighty Sperm Whale, the largest of the toothed whales.
Term 3 School Holidays are fast approaching, we advise you get a head start planning some fun activities for your kids now as our popular School Holiday Special is back! 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.
This week kicks of Māori language week here in Aotearoa, New Zealand. Check out our recent blog post to learn the names and meanings behind our Māori named semi-residential Sperm Whales – do you know how Tiaki earned his special name?
If you’re in town this Friday, then why not come down and celebrate the first freight train coming into Kaikōura since the November 2016 earthquake with us and Kiwi Rail? Everyone is welcome - meet us at the Whaleway Station from 7:30AM onwards to congratulate the hard working teams over a bite to eat at Flukes Café.
REGULAR, SCHEDULED CLOSURES OF STATE HIGHWAY 1 SOUTH OF KAIKOURA
- The highway will be open during daylight hours on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays (perfect for a long weekend getaway) from 7AM to 6PM.
- 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.
From Tuesday, 22nd August, drivers will need to watch for 28 metre truck loads moving bridge beams to Kaikōura, via the Lewis Pass and the inland road via Waiau/Mt Lyford. The beams are for a new bridge build as well as smaller bridge sites north of Kaikōura. Some minor delays can be expected due to the length of the load and the slow and winding nature of parts of the route. These truckloads are scheduled to follow this inland route until September.
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. This is due to tidal restrictions and repair work as a result of the coastline lifting by +1.0m. All our berths have now been removed. 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 trailer and public jetty will continue until further notice. It is anticipated that the Kaikōura Marina will be fully restored in October 2017. Below is a graphic (indicative only) of what is being restored at the 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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.
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.
- SH1 SOUTH Christchurch – Cheviot - Kaikōura is open 7.00am to 6.00pm 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 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.
The team at Whale Watch Kaikoura.