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 some stunning weather over the weekend along with some great sightings on our tours. Not only were we able to see sperm whales but also the rare opportunity of seeing a pod of beaked whales pass by the Kaikōura coastline. Not a common sight at all and one that is very treasured by all when we do.

Over the weekend we also had a visit from a couple of the crew from Emirates Team New Zealand with the America’s Cup. It was great to have the opportunity to see the cup up close. Check out this video to see how the afternoon went.

The Huttons Shearwater (Tītī) are special to us in Kaikōura. Their habitat sustained considerable loss during the Nov 2016 earthquake. Please take the time to vote for them as Bird of the Year and this status will help secure the much needed funding for more research so we can plan for their future.


The highway will be open during daylight hours on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays (perfect for a long weekend getaway) from 7AM to 7PM.

The highway will be closed on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays for repairs to take place. 

The closure schedule is expected to remain in place until December 2017.

There is a possibility of short delays and it will be 30km/hour through parts of the route. Check the NZTA website for road updates before traveling. Inland Route 70 remains open 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

Please be aware that this week is a full closure week - Monday 16 to Friday 20 October. The road will reopen to the public midday on Friday 20 October for Labour weekend travellers. Another full week closure is scheduled for Monday 6 to Friday 10 November. 

Something worth celebrating...

Restoration work on the Kaikoura marina begun 10 months ago, and over the weekend we celebrated being able to now use berth 3 & 4. We have been using our trailer unit & the public jetty for some time now so to be able to pull up into our berths is quite an exciting feat. We still have a wee way to go but this is a HUGE step closer to being fully operational. We are very thankful for the amazing work the harbour repair crew are doing in what are at times trying conditions. We are excited to see our new and improved marina once it is completed! We cannot thank the tireless effort that the workers have put in to get us to this stage especially in what has been trying conditions at times.

More great news…

We thank you all for your patience over the last 11 months with the changing tour times with having work in line with the tides but with being able to now use berth 3 & 4 it means that we are now back running on our original fixed tour timetable. 0715, 1000, 1245 & 1530 (Nov-Mar)


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. 


Hasslefree ToursCanterbury Leisure Tours & Kaikoura Express 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.

11 months on and we are starting to see some real progress – the teams out on the road, rail and the marina are all doing such an amazing job for which we are so thankful. And, we cannot thank you all enough for your continual support.

The team at Whale Watch Kaikoura