In Kaikōura, the common dolphins are not as common as the name suggests. They mainly come to visit our coastline in the summer months.
What is the reason we get such an abundance of marine wildlife here in Kaikōura? We have a deep submarine canyon situated close to shore and major currents merge into this canyon and it produces a highly productive underwater system.
5 Reasons to visit Kaikōura
Where mountains meet the sea. The picturesque views of the blue waters meeting the mountains is unique to Kaikōura.
Growing to 33 cm and weighing only 1 kg the little blue penguin is the smallest penguin in the world. They are the most common penguin to be seen along the New Zealand coastline and surrounding islands.
Fully grown Westland petrels can reach 55cm in length and can weigh up 1.5kg. They only breed in an 8km wide strip of forested foothills close to Punakaiki on the West Coast of the South Island.
Best time to come Whale Watching
A question I get asked often is “When is the best time to come whale watching?” My first answer would be “Every day is a good day to come whale watching” after all we have sperm whale feeding off our coastline all year round.
Marine Bird Spotlight - Albatross
Along with the amazing marine mammals we encounter in the Kaikōura area, we are privileged to see many other taonga (treasured) species. New Zealand is the seabird capital of the world.
In New Zealand we encounter long-finned pilot whales which prefer temperate waters and can be found around the country all year around. The male pilot whales can grow over 6 metres in length and the females grow to about 5 metres.
New Zealand Fur Seal / Kekeno
The Kekeno is the most common seal in New Zealand and their numbers are estimated to be over 200,000 seals. They prefer rocky shore lines and we have plenty of that here in Kaikōura which makes this the perfect place for the New Zealand fur seal. We often see them out on our tours while they are out foraging for food in the Kaikōura canyon.
Hector’s Dolphins / Tutumairekurai
The Hector’s dolphin is endemic to New Zealand and is one of the smallest dolphins in the world! They reach a maximum length of 1.5 meters.