Weekly Update - 4th September 2017

Hello Spring! Last week has seen the last of Winters bad weather and we’re gearing up for an exciting Kaikōura Summer, with the marina getting closer and closer to completion as we send this week’s update out! We’re looking forward to bringing back our three boats from Wellington and reuniting all four of our whale watching vessels home, here in Kaikōura.

A Spring day in Kaikoura, New Zealand out whale watching.

Out on the water this week we saw semi-residential Sperm Whales Aoraki, Tutu, Slice and Holy Moly on our tours, as well as other transient Sperm Whales. When time allowed, we also took the time to see Dusky and Hectors Dolphins and NZ Fur Seals.

Taking a closer look at the NZ Fur Seals whilst whale watching in Kaikoura

Whale tail, Kaikoura New Zealand

This week we saw a Grey-Faced Petrel, not a seabird frequently seen out on our water as they tend to breed around northern New Zealand, but can sometimes be viewed off Kaikōura’s Coast in the warmer months, further evidence that warmer days are on their way here in Kaikōura.

If you saw our blog post last week, then you would already be clued in about our School Holiday Special, which is back by popular demand! 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!

School holiday promotion, free tickets for kids on whale watch tours

Spread the word, Kaikōura is dolphinately open! Check out the latest video from Kaikoura NZ Tourism for 15 seconds of marine life enjoyment, we hope it gets your ‘seal of approval’!

Kaikoura Tourism NZ's latest digital campaign

To celebrate the start of Spring we have 20% off all souvenirs purchases online at our Retail Store. This offer is only valid for this week, expiring at midnight Sunday 10th September, so get in quick!

Whale Watch Gift Shop souvenirs and products

The annual Kaikoura Whale Run kicks off this Saturday, so don’t forget to get your entry forms in! Whether you’re committing to the ½ marathon or wanting to take in the scenes on the 10km track, or you have your kids entered in the 2km Marafun, it’s going to be a great day full of spot prizes and family fun. Even if you don’t plan on entering, come down and support the contestants!

REMINDER: ROAD CLOSURE TO STABILISE ROCKFACE ON STATE HIGHWAY 1 SOUTH OF KAIKOURA

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.

Kaikoura marina repairs and restoration

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

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.

Kaikoura post-earthquake progress

Image Sourced: NZTA

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.