Marine Mammal Spotlight - Blue Whale

Kaikōura plays host to not only the largest of the toothed whales – the sperm whales all year round but we also play host too many other species of whales and dolphins as they migrate past our coastline one of which is the mighty blue whale.

The blue whale is the largest animal known to have ever lived on Earth and is the largest mammal in the world. These massive creatures are ginormous from the moment they are born and continue to add to their girth throughout their first year. A blue whale calf weighs two tons at birth and gains an extra 200 pounds each day of its first year.

Blue Whale Side View

Blue whale - largest animal on the planet

Blue whales are able to breathe air, but they are very comfortable in the ocean waters where buoyancy helps to support their incredible bulk. They can move along at great speeds in short bursts which can make them hard to watch at times. Here is a short video of one of those beautiful creatures that one of our crew managed to capture. Blue Whale passing through Kaikoura

These mammals are found in all the world's oceans and often swim in small groups or alone. They usually spend summers feeding in the polar regions. 

Blue Whale 4

Thar she blows!

These giant creatures feed on tiny shrimp-like animals called krill. Blue whales are baleen whales and feed through a comb-like filter of some 400 plates equipped with bristles to capture tiny morsels of food as the whale swims. When in full feeding mode these whales can eat up to 3-4 tonne of krill in one day.

Krill Side View

Krill - a small crustacean that the blue whales feast upon

Blue whales are the loudest animals on Earth! Their call reaches levels up to 188 decibels. This low-frequency whistle can be heard for hundreds of miles. The blue whale is louder than a jet, which reaches only 140 decibels! Human shouting is 70 decibels; sounds over 120 decibels are painful to human ears.

Only a few thousand blue whales are believed to swim the world's oceans. They were hunted for many years for their blubber and oil, and they were almost hunted to extinction. In the 1930-31 season alone, whalers killed almost 30,000 blue whales.

Blue Whale 7

Baby blue whale sighted on one of our tours

They were protected under the 1966 International Whaling Convention and are now considered to be an endangered species. 

Fun Facts

Blue Whale 6

Given their name due to their blue colouration.

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.