Weekly Update - 18th September 2017
Kaikōura truly is a marine mecca. This week we’ve had some successful days out on the water, sighting Beaked Whales, Humpback Whales as well as the Mighty Sperm Whale! It’s so great to see the Humpback Whales still stopping in to say hello as they migrate past Kaikōura. This week we found them right off the Kaikōura Peninsula, making for a very short trip out to see them! When time allowed we also saw Dusky Dolphins, Hectors Dolphins and NZ Fur Seals on our tours, taking passengers to Barney’s Rock where a number of them reside.
On Friday we had a Leopard Seal over at Kaikōura’s South Bay! Leopard Seals are normally found along the edge of the Antarctic pack ice but in winter, some move throughout the Southern Ocean visiting New Zealand. As seen below, their mouths are permanently curled upwards in the shape of a smile. However happy they may look, don’t be fooled! They are potentially aggressive animals so make sure you retain that 20M distance. It is important that any Leopard Seal sightings be reported to the Department of Conservation as they are rarely seen in New Zealand, especially in the warmer months.
Term 3 School Holidays are fast approaching, we advise you get a head start planning some fun activates for your kids now and utilise our School Holiday Special! From the 30th of September to the 15th of October 2017 (inclusive), kids travel with us for free with every full fare paying adult! Consider taking the time to visit Kaikōura and showing your tamariki the spectacular marine life on offer. Reserve your seats here before spaces fill up.
This weekend, Kaikōura is holding a special Welcome Home event for the Hutton Shearwaters. We’ve had some awesome sightings of them on our whale watching tours this week. If you want a ticket, then head down to the Kaikoura Museum or flick an email through to Alisa. Explore Kaikoura’s new, award-winning Museum, attend the welcome home ceremony, witness the Seabirds Beyond the Mountain Crest book launch or better yet, travel by boat with Albatross Encounter to see the Hutton’s for yourself! The Hutton Shearwaters were caught up in our 7.8 magnitude earthquake whilst they were breeding in their mountain colonies, so this year it is significantly special to welcome them back home.
REGULAR, SCHEDULED CLOSURES OF STATE HIGHWAY 1 SOUTH OF KAIKOURA
- The highway will be open during daylight hours on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays (perfect for a long weekend getaway) from 7AM to 6PM.
- 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 will be a five-day road closure on SH1 next week, from Monday 25th September – Friday 29th September to remove unstable materials.
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.
From Tuesday, 22nd August, drivers will need to watch for 28 metre truck loads moving bridge beams to Kaikōura, via the Lewis Pass and the inland road via Waiau/Mt Lyford. The beams are for a new bridge build as well as smaller bridge sites north of Kaikōura. Some minor delays can be expected due to the length of the load and the slow and winding nature of parts of the route. These truckloads are scheduled to follow this inland route until September.
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 our facilities will be 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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.
- Our Customer Service team are available from 7am – 5.30pm daily.
- Our Gift Shop’s opening hours are in line with our daily tour times. There are many fantastic marine & local based products available both in store and online BUY ONLINE TODAY.
- Flukes Café’s opening hours are in line with our daily tour times, with fresh baking, great coffee, friendly service and stunning views on offer.
KAIKOURA 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.
- SH1 SOUTH Christchurch – Cheviot - Kaikōura is open 7.00am to 6.00pm Friday – Monday (scheduled closures on Tues/Wed/Thurs for repair work)
- INLAND ROUTE 70 Christchurch - Hanmer Springs - Kaikōura is open 24/7
- SH1 NORTH from Kaikōura - Picton is closed until December 2017
- All subject to weather conditions, slips, repair work and seismic activity. Updates available from the NZTA WEBSITE.
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.
The team at Whale Watch Kaikoura.