Weekly Update - 8th January 2018

What an epic start to 2018 we’ve had here in Kaikōura! There have been an abundant of marine life out in the Canyon, and our passengers have enjoyed some spectacular and memorable tours already to celebrate the New Year.

Sperm Whales we saw this week included transient whales passing through our regions as well as our semi-residents Mati Mati, Tiaki, Koru and Manu. Manu made a special appearance and dove twice! Just when passengers thought he had disappeared to the bottom of the ocean for a typical 40 – 50 minute feeding session, he popped back up for a another few minutes allowing us to get two amazing viewings of his fluke as he dove down deep.

Sperm Whale diving in New Zealand

Photo Credit: Allan Cronin

Passengers on our afternoon New Year’s Day trips also were in for a wonderful encounter, with 3 Orca paying them a special visit whilst on the lookout for Sperm whales. So far, we have seen Orca on the day of the Kaikōura Marina opening, the day State Highway 1 North road opened, and now on the first day of 2018. These guys are definitely our good luck charms and seem to want to help us celebrate every new milestone we come across.

Orca in the wild, seen in New Zealand

Photo Credit: Allan Cronin

A juvenile male Humpback whale has also been hanging around the Kaikōura Canyon this week. We saw him late in December and again this week on the 1st and 4th of January. This guy has been very playful whenever we see him, and we’ve been able to get some great photos. Humpback whales aren’t typically seen on our tours until the colder months of May – August as they undergo their great annual migration. What a bonus getting to see one so early on in the year, we can’t help but think this is the beginning of some extraordinary encounters to come for 2018.

Young Humpback Whale in Kaikoura

Photo Credit: Heleen Middel

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 have also been seen on our tours over the past couple of months, with a pod of over 40 spotted this week. Our resident Dusky dolphins are known to interact with a variety of other marine mammals, including the Common’s so it is not surprising to see these two mammals in the same area and playing together.

Common Dolphins in Kaikoura

We also encountered a couple of Mako and Blue sharks whilst out in the Canyon, these predators made for some fantastic photo opportunities between whales diving.

The rare and elusive Shepherd’s beaked whale has been seen again in Kaikōura! On the 2nd January 2018, two Shepherd’s beaked whales were sighted on one of tours, making for only a handful of validated sightings of this species in the world. Onlookers experienced a remarkable encounter with one of the rarest known whales, joining only a select few of individuals who have seen these beautiful creatures alive in the wild. Check out the video we were able to capture of the encounter.  

  • 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.

State Highway 1 Road Information

State Highway 1 Road Information (Sourced: NZTA)


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.

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.