When is the 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. It is a bachelor pad of male sperm whales that come here to feed upon the abundance of food which is found in the nutrient rich waters of the Kaikōura Canyon.

 Kaikoura NZ semi-resident sperm whale tail, Tiaki

The weather in New Zealand is often best during the months of October – March, so if you prefer the warmer kind of days then whale watching during the NZ summer is a good bet.  During these months’ we most commonly have the opportunity to view pods of Orca as they pass by, usually in pods of between 6-12 individuals 2 or 3 times a month.

 Pod of Orca off the Kaikoura coast, New Zealand

My second answer is for people who don’t mind weather that is a bit cooler. As mentioned the sperm whales are here all year round, but did you know that Kaikōura is also visited by many other migrating whales, like the humpback whales, pilot whales, blue whales and southern right whales. 

During the months of June – August for instance humpback whales leave the cool Antarctic waters for the winter period and head further north to the warmer tropical waters of places like Tonga and Australia, stopping off in Kaikōura on their way for a rest before continuing on their huge journey.

 A playful humpback whale leaping from the water at Kaikoura, NZ

For the best opportunity for not only seeing sperm whales but also migrating whales June to August in my option the best time to come whale watching.  An added bonus being the beautiful view from out at sea of the Kaikōura ranges covered in snow and also the wonderful crisp blue sky winters days we can experience in Kaikōura during winter.

 Kaikōura ranges covered in snow against a crisp blue sky

Either way (if the weather plays the game) every day is a good day to come whale watching. We run tours all year long and have a 95% success rate in seeing whales and if for some reason we are unable to locate a whale during the tour we give our passengers 80% of their money back! 

Guests watching a whale surfacing the water at Kaikoura

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.