The giant petrels are known as the vultures of the Southern Ocean and can be seen scavenging off the coast in Kaikōura. These petrels are a pelagic (oceanic) species of bird. They are the largest of the petrels and there are two different species. The most common species that we see in Kaikōura is the northern giant petrel which can be seen here all year round. Once the winter months arrive we also see the southern giant petrel.
Winter Whale Watching
Quite often we are asked “when is the best time of year to go whale watching”? Short answer, all year round!!!
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.
The Giant Sperm Whale
Did you know it is the Giant Sperm Whale that we see off the Kaikōura coastline all year round? Being the largest of the toothed cetaceans they can measure in at up to 20 metres in length and weigh in at around 60 tonne in weight!