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





We had it all over the weekend – sunshine, wild wind, sleet, warmth, cold and beautiful new snow on the Kaikoura ranges. Despite the conditions over the weekend in the days leading up we had some great tours with sightings of semi-resident sperm whales Manu and Tiaki and hen time allowed we also saw dusky dolphins, Hector’s dolphins, NZ fur seals and marine birds.

The most recent update on State Highway 1 South from Kaikoura is that it is expected to remain closed till the end of May to allow the construction of a temporary road and rail alignment around the base of the large landslide that came down during April’s heavy rain at Easter. Please allow extra time as you travel through Inland Route 70 which 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 being made on the repair of the Kaikōura Marina and we continue to switch between using a berth and our modified trailer unit for launching our vessel Tohorā, when and where possible we are also making use of the public jetty that we have modified, this is due to tidal restrictions and repair work as a result of the coastline lifting by +1.0m. It is anticipated that the Kaikōura Marina will be fully restored by October 2017.

Dredging of the outer channel of the Kaikōura marina is well advanced.

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 or 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 Business Update:

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.

Transport Update:

All subject to weather conditions, slips, repair work and seismic activity. Updates available from the NZTA WEBSITE.

Intercity, Hasslefree 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.

Please consider taking the time to visit Kaikōura, your support is most welcome.

The team at Whale Watch Kaikoura.