Weekly Update - 15th January 2018

It’s been a week full of visitors! Our local Sperm whales have had to make room for an abundance on transient whales and dolphins this week, which has made for some remarkable whale watching tours.

Sperm whales we saw this week included transient whales passing through our regions as well as our semi-residents Tiaki, Koru and Manu.

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Orca seem to be loving Kaikōura this year, we had two encounters with them this week! Tours on Wednesday got to see a pod of 4, and then on Sunday we saw a pod of 6 cruising through the Canyon. These mammals are truly beautiful to see in the wild, especially when they are in family pods. One pod looked to have a few young ones with them, and were very inquisitive and playful with us. Passengers got some fantastic footage of them tail and pectoral slapping and flipping around on the water’s surface.


Tours this week also were also lucky enough to sight Blue whales, finding two of them on Tuesday afternoon. Dubbed the Queen of the Ocean due to the females being the largest animals ever to exist in the animal kingdom, these two royals graced passengers with their magnificent presence.

Blue Whale in New Zealand

It’s been a while since we’ve seen this species in the Canyon, but last Monday a Fin whale was spotted on two of our tours! The Fin whale is the world's second largest animal after the Blue whale, growing up to a whopping 27 metres long and weighing as much as 120 tonnes – that’s heavier than 15 African Bull elephants! Can you imagine encountering this whale right next to the boat you’re standing on? Absolutely breath-taking.

Commercial whaling severely impacted the Fin whale, with nearly 750,000 killed in the Southern Hemisphere alone throughout the 1900’s. Due to this, Fin’s are rarely seen in the Southern Hemisphere, making this encounter an even more extraordinary one.

As with the majority of our tours, we also spotted the familiar non-whale species that frequently reside in our waters, including Dusky dolphins, Hectors dolphins and NZ Fur Seals. Common Dolphins were also seen on our tours last week, with a pod of over 40 spotted again this week. Same pod perhaps? We’re not too sure as they are found in waters throughout New Zealand so it is likely this is an entirely new pod altogether. Either way, we’re loving having all these new visitors in the Kaikōura waters.

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In our pursuit for whales, we also encountered a couple of Sword fish, Sun fish and Blue sharks whilst out in the Canyon. These predators made for some fantastic photo opportunities between whales diving, especially the Blue shark which came right up close to our boat.


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 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.

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.