Weekly Update - 29th January 2018

It’s been another fantastic week for us here in Kaikōura, Summer really is pulling through and providing some great sailing conditions. Whale watching tours this week encountered a large number of transient Sperm whales, one of whom even decided to put on an extra special show by breaching and tail-slapping! A truly remarkable and impressive feet for a Sperm whale and incredible to watch.

Breaching Sperm whale in New Zealand

Breaching Sperm Whale (Credit: Jimmy Jay Wright)

We also saw two of our locals, Aoraki and Koru. Koru in known to have one of the most beautiful flukes, with a natural curve in the left-hand side of his tail that resembles the spiral of a new unfurling silver fern. In Māori, the koru symbolises new life, growth, strength and peace.

Local Sperm Whale Koru

All week our tours have been encountering a Humpback whale. On Tuesday passengers witnessed the Humpback playing with a pod of Dusky dolphins. As the vessel pulled away to head home, the Humpback whale began to ride the bow of the whale watching vessel. Typically, we see Dusky dolphins indulging in this behaviour, where they propel themselves forward using the momentum of the waves created, twisting and jumping as they glide along the water. To see a Humpback whale surf the waves is extraordinary! It just goes to show that they truly are the most acrobatic and playful of the whale species.

Humpback whale lunge feeding

Humpback whale lunge feeding (Image: Annika Dahlberg)

This week marks 3 weeks in a row that we have sighted a Blue whale and a Fin whale out in the Canyon – both the largest and second largest animals on earth! All three times they were sighted reasonably close together and within a few hours apart, could they be travelling together? Both are baleen whales and have been sighted travelling together in other places throughout the world so this could definitely be the case here in Kaikōura.

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Blue Whale (Image: Annika Dahlberg)

We spotted three species of dolphins over the duration of the week, including the very rare Hector’s dolphins, the energetic and playful Dusky dolphins and the highly social Common dolphins. When we have spare time in between whales diving, it’s great to be able to show our passengers dolphins. Pods in Kaikōura number in the hundreds, and the Duskies are particularly active this time of year which is epic to watch.

Dusky dolphins on a whale watching tour

If you’re yet to explore the Kaikōura Canyon and get up close to its diverse marine life that lives beneath the water, then the Kaikoura Marine Combo is a great way to explore. With a ½ hour flight with Wings Over Whales, 3½ hour whale watching experience by boat with Whale Watch Kaikoura and 3½ hour Dusky dolphin encounter with Dolphin Encounter, you’re sure to come out with some amazing photos and memories, as well as a new appreciation for those whom we share the ocean with. 

  • Our Customer Service team are available from 7AM – 7PM 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. Fresh baking, great coffee, friendly service and stunning views are on offer.


  • INLAND ROUTE 70 Christchurch - Hanmer Springs - Kaikōura IS OPEN 24/7.
  • SH1 SOUTH Christchurch – Cheviot - Kaikōura is open daily during daylight hours, 7:00AM – 8:30PM. Closed between Goose Bay and Peketa overnight.
  • SH1 NORTH from Kaikōura - Picton is open daily during daylight hours, 7:00AM – 8:30PM. Closed between Mangamaunu and Clarence overnight.
  • All subject to weather conditions, slips, repair work and seismic activity. Updates available from the NZTA WEBSITE.

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.


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.