A 2.5 to 3 hour relaxing whale watching trip is a must do in Kaikoura on the south island of New Zealand.

A couple hours north of Christchurch, New Zealand sits the very small tourist and fishing town of Kaikoura. The drive from Christchurch brings up up along the coast to where it hugs the reaching foothills of the Southern Alps and the Pacific Ocean. Once you reach the town, there is plenty to see whether you choose to hike the nearby mountain ranges, the Kaikoura Peninsula, or stroll through the town. The main attraction however is what is under the water. Book through the outstanding folks at http://www.whalewatch.co.nz/, you can choose the tour that best suits you. On my trip, I took the standard Whale Watch Tour.

Park at the Kaikoura Railway Station and check-in, you'll watch a short 'touristy like' video in their small theater before being gathered up, boarded on a bus, and driven out along the peninsula to the docks. The boats themselves are pretty neat. They offer an upper deck platform as well as rails along the sides and rear for you to observe from. Underneath the upper deck there are comfortable seats for you to relax in while the crew searches for the whales.

Just off the Kaikoura coastline is a canyon system where Sperm Whales are known to hunt for food and so they are frequently seen year round. On my trip, we saw a couple of Sperm Whales, a Humpback, dozens of Dusky Dolphins, dozens of Fur Seals, as well many native seabirds. It was a very relaxing couple hours as the Pacific was fairly calm. It was very cloudy obscuring the mountain ranges, but overall this was a plus, plus experience. Very scenic, great and friendly crew, and I saw some wildlife I had never seen before.

If you are planning a trip to New Zealand's South Island, I would definitely consider a trip to Kaikoura experience their whale watching tour if you can fit it in. Low stress, pretty and scenic small ocean town, high quality tour experience. 

Pack List

  • Camera
  • Warm Clothing
  • Sunglasses
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Activities Chillin, Photography
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Features
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Groups
Scenic
Wildlife

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