A Look Back Over November 2015

This year has gone by at a rapid speed of knots. November is behind us and we are moving into our busier summer months. During November we had a couple of days where we woke up to fresh snow on the mountains but this soon melted away but those mountains are still very beautiful.

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Kaikoura ranges reflecting in the tide pools

We had transient sperm whales come in and out of the Kaikoura canyon throughout the month with a whale that we have unofficially named Jonah (very big whale and in memory of New Zealand rugby legend Jonah Lomu) being a frequent visitor close inshore. Looking back over photo ID records we have been seeing this beautiful whale off our coastline from 1991. Amazing.

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It is around this time of the year that we start to see Orca passing by the Kaikoura coastline – usually between the months of November to March. And it seems they were right on cue again this year with sightings of them on the 26th & 30th November with between 6-8 individuals each time.


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Orca sighted on one of our tours during November

Other species of marine life sighted at times throughout this month included: dusky dolphins, hectors dolphins, NZ fur seals and the cute blue penguins. Did you know that you can view the blue penguins in their nesting boxes which are found under the local Coast Guard building? Check out what the team at K.O.R.I have on offer and be sure to check out their P.E.A.P (Penguin Education Awareness Program) one night, really is a great experience.

We are very blessed with the abundance of marine life we can see of the Kaikoura coastline including the many species of marine birds that feed off the nutrient rich waters here such as: Hutton shearwaters, cape petrels, bullers shearwaters, Wandering  & Royal albatross, various species of mollymawks and giant petrels to name a few.

 Wandering wing span

It is hard to believe that December is upon us, not long until Christmas now. The team at Whale Watch Kaikoura would like to thank all of you who have visited us this year, those who have followed us on facebook, twitter and you tube and shared with us your photos / videos and feedback. For those of you who are thinking about joining Whale Watch Kaikoura over the summer season please remember to book well in advance, if you have any questions at all please feel free to contact us.

Enjoy the beautiful summer weather,

The team at Whale Watch Kaikoura

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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.