A Look Back Over September 2015

Spring really is a beautiful time of the year with blossom on the tress, daffodils sprouting up everywhere, baby lambs and calves bouncing around the paddocks and the daylight hours getting longer. It really is a beautiful time out at sea along with stunning sunrises, a gorgeous back drop with the snow-capped Kaikoura ranges along with fantastic sightings of not just sperm whale but other species of marine life too.


During September we were mainly sighting transient sperm whales off the coastline. It is around this time of the year where the winter sperm whale have a change over period with the summer sperm whales set to move in closer which can mean at times that the whales are feeding passed our operating limits when this happens we offer an alternative tour which takes in the beautiful marine life that can be sighted closer inshore such as dolphins, seals and marine birds. These Inshore Nature Tours are fantastic and well worth joining when the whales are too far offshore.

 Inshore sighitngs

On the 10th & 29th Sep we were able to view a humpback whale on our tours and on the 28th Sep we were able to view a pod of around 50 pilot whales passing through which is always exciting.

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As with all our tours when time is available we try to do our best to view other marine life. We were very fortunate to view common dolphins, hectors dolphins, dusky dolphins, New Zealand fur seals and various species of marine birds when able.

One species of bird that has recently returned to the area after a winter away was the Hutton Shearwater – an endangered species of bird found to nest in the Kaikoura ranges (only place in the world where they are found to nest). To celebrate their return there was a stall held at the local school yard market on the 21st September. It was a great afternoon of fun for everyone, and a good opportunity for the Hutton Shearwater Trust to educate the community a bit more on these special birds.

Huttons Haley Baxter

Hutton's Shearwaters

Summer is fast approaching, booking in advance is essential as we come in to the busier months to save from disappointment. Be sure to let us know if you have any questions at all leading up to your time with us, we look forward to a busy summer season with some fantastic whale watch trips taking place.

Nga Mihi





Even though we’re still in the last month of Winter, it’s starting to feel more and more like Spring! It was a cracker weekend here in Kaikōura with amazing sea conditions and picture perfect days to go along with it.

This week we saw semi-residential whales Tiaki, Matimati, Tutu and Aoraki as well as some visiting Sperm Whales to our region. It’s so encouraging to see these whales returning to our region time and time again as they are always our favourites to see out on the water.

Four Humpback Whales were seen on our tours this week. September marks the end of their annual migration, so it’s not too long until we stop seeing the most acrobatic whales on the planet on our tours completely until next year’s journey takes them back through Kaikōura waters again.

Wednesday’s tour got to see a pod of 300 Dusky Dolphins playing with a Giant Warty Squid, also known as the Longarm Octopus Squid. These squid grow up to two meters in length and are a staple part of the Sperm Whale’s diet. A truly spectacular sight to see!

We currently have an end of winter sale on at our Retail Store at the moment, a whopping 25% off all hoodies, jackets and merino items! We need to make room for new summer stock, so head over to our online store to get your hands on some winter goodies.


There is a possibility of short delays and it will be 30km/hour through parts of the route. Inland Route 70 remains open 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

As we enter into the cooler winter months it is a good reminder to take extra care on the roads and to check the NZTA website for road updates before traveling.

Progress is continuing to be made on the repair of the Kaikōura Marina, with the modified trailer and public jetty now being used for launching our vessel Tohora. This is due to tidal restrictions and repair work as a result of the coastline lifting by +1.0m. All our berths have now been removed. This is an end of an era but we are excited to see our new and improved marina once it is completed! The use of the modified trailer and public jetty will continue until further notice. It is anticipated that the Kaikōura Marina will be fully restored in October 2017. Below is a graphic (indicative only) of what is being restored at the marina.

Currently our available tour times are based around the tide times on the day and may differ from the tour times originally advertised, please bear with us as we continue to work toward being fully operational again. For an update on the tour times available, please contact our Customer Service team directly either by email on res@whalewatch.co.nz, phone +64 3 319 6767 or free phone 0800 655 121 (within NZ) and they will be able to help you with your inquiry.  Please note we are operating at a reduced capacity in the interim with up to 3 tours available per day. Please contact our team prior to arriving in Kaikōura to secure a space on one of our tours and to save disappointment.


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. 


IntercityHasslefree Tours & Canterbury Leisure Tours have daily services from Christchurch to Kaikōura with a return service from Christchurch, as well as Kiwi Experience now having the option of a day tour out of Christchurch for their travellers.

Progress on the work being done on roads (along with harbour repairs) can be found on this dedicated KAIKOURA EARTHQUAKE RESPONSE page provided by the team at NZTA. This page is updated weekly on Friday. Work is also starting to take place on the railway network, please be aware and take care when using rail crossings.

The team at Whale Watch Kaikoura.