Weekly Update - 6th March 2018

It’s been another beautiful week here in Kaikōura, we’re sad to see Summer go but it seems as though the weather doesn’t want to go anywhere. Sailing conditions and weather have been great this week and we’ve had some incredible sightings.

Semi-resident Sperm whales we saw on our tours included Scarface, Tutu, Holy Moly and Aoraki. It’s been great having Tutu back in the Canyon, it had been a couple of months since we last saw him here and we’ve been missing his beautiful tail! We also saw a number of new, transient Sperm whales on our tours who have come to Kaikōura due to its rich ecosystem providing a thriving feeding ground that male Sperm whales seem to love.


Tutu (Credit: Allan Cronin)

It’s been such a treat seeing a juvenile Humpback whale all Summer long, and he’s still hanging around! Our tours saw him again on Wednesday and Friday this week. Maybe he’ll be picked back up by a pod when his species embark on their great annual migration. This usually begins in May when we see an abundance of Humpback whales off Kaikōura’s Coast as they head North towards Australia and Tonga for the mating season.

Check out this photo that one of our guests sent in to us – a breaching Humpback whale! This just goes to show that it pays to turn around and take a look behind you sometimes, you never know what whales you’re going to find flying out of the ocean.

Humpback whale breaching

Humpback whale breaching (Credit: Jan de Ruijter)

On Wednesday we had a special encounter with Beaked whales, however we weren’t able to get a clear enough look at them to distinguish their exact species as this they’re notoriously known to be shy and elusive. We think they were either Bottlenose Beaked whales or the very rare Shepherd’s Beaked whale who we encountered twice this Summer.

southern bottlenose whale 5

Southern Bottlenose whale (Credit: Heleen Middel)

There have been a variety of dolphin species sighted this week, including the very rare Hector’s dolphins, the energetic and playful Dusky dolphins and the highly social Common dolphins who tend to visit Kaikoura during our Summer period. When we have spare time in between whales diving, it’s great to be able to show our passengers dolphins as well as NZ Fur seals.

 Dusky Dolphins 12wq

Seaweek has already begun! How do you plan on doing your bit to help clean up our oceans and make them a safer and healthier place to live for those spectacular marine mammals that reside within them? Here at Whale Watch Kaikoura, we’ve gone straw free and we encourage you to as well. Whether it be just for this week, this month or this year, anything you can do to help reduce your plastic consumption is a win for our marine life. An estimated 71% of seabirds and 30% of turtles have been found with plastics in their stomachs. When plastic is ingested, marine life have a 50% mortality rate. 

Straws 1


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.


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.