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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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