Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a tour cost?

Adult NZ$150.00 valid to 30 September 2017.   

Child rate NZ$60.00 (3-15yrs inclusive).

Children under 3yrs are not permitted on the tour. See here for further details on our child policy.

Tour costs can change without notice.

Please note:

What are the tour times?

Please note that we are currently having to work around the tide times each day until work is completed on the South Bay Marina, we are unsure on a date when this work will be complete. This impacts our tour schedule and makes for our available tour times to change on a daily basis and also determines the amount of tours that can take place. Our Customer Service team have an updated tour schedule available, please contact them directly with any booking inquiries. 

Tour scheduling is subject to customer demand, please note that check-in times do not indicate when the actual tour departs but when check-in procedures begin. Whale Watch operate tours every day (weather permitting) excluding Christmas Day. Tour check-in occurs at the Whaleway Station (Whale Watch Office).

How do I make a reservation?

To make an immediate confirmed booking with payment by credit card, click Book Now. (The name Whale Watch Kaikoura will appear on cardholder statements for bookings made through this website.)

Contact Information
Freephone
0800 655 121
International
+ 64 3 319 6767
Fax
+ 64 3 319 6545
Email
res@whalewatch.co.nz

Please call our 0800 number for a weather update if travelling to Kaikoura on your day of travel with us.

We accept VISA, MASTERCARD and UNION PAY credit cards! (Please Note: Union Pay Co-Association Visa or Mastercard can be used for online bookings, Union Pay Credit Card or Debit Card cannot be used for online bookings).

Do I need to book in advance?

Yes. There is a high demand for our tours. We advise you to book well in advance.

Am I guaranteed to see a whale?

No. However, the chances are very high. Whale Watch have a 95% success rate in finding whales. If your tour does not see a whale we guarantee to refund 80% of your fare.

What will I see?

Every Whale Watch tour is a unique experience and the sightings vary. Giant Sperm Whales are the stars of the show and year-round residents. A typical Whale Watch tour may encounter New Zealand Fur Seals, pods of Dusky Dolphins and the endangered Wandering Albatross. Depending on the season you may also see migrating Humpback Whales, Pilot Whales, Blue Whales and Southern Right Whales. Kaikōura often hosts the world's largest dolphin - the Orca - and is home to the world's smallest and rarest - the Hector's. Kaikōura also attracts the largest concentration and variety of seabirds on mainland New Zealand including 13 species of Albatross, 14 varieties of Petrels and 7 types of Shearwater. If your Whale Watch Kaikoura tour does not see a whale we will refund 80% of your fare.

Please note that during the months of Nov - Mar there is a rest period in place for viewing of the Dusky Dolphins between the hours of 11.30am to 1.30pm. This is mandatory for all vessels and has been put in place by the Department of Conservation, this restricts viewing of dolphins on our tours during these times. 

Do Whale Watch Kaikoura have rules & regulations to follow?

Yes. Whale Watch Kaikoura follows the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1978 and Marine Mammal Protection Regulations of 1992. These ensure that the marine mammals of New Zealand are protected and that their conservation is of top priority.

Please note that at times images viewed on our website and social media channels have been taken with a zoom lens. Our interactions with marine mammals adhere to all regulations set in place, with these being outlined during our tours.

What happens if the sea and weather conditions are not suitable?

Whale Watch tours are always dependent on sea conditions. Whale Watch staff constantly monitor the weather and respond professionally to any changes. This may mean a tour is cancelled or safety restrictions placed on children or passengers with medical problems. Passenger comfort and safety is always our priority. Passengers travelling to join us on the day of their tour are strongly advised to telephone the FREEPHONE number 0800 655 121 for a sea conditions update.

If my tour is cancelled, will I be transferred to the next one?

No. When a tour is cancelled, we will do our best to accommodate you on another one. However, you need to request this.

How long is the tour?

The actual time on the water is up to 2.5 hours. Including check-in time, safety briefing and bus transfers you should allow 3.5 hours in total.

What should I wear on my whale watch tour?

Dress warmly and wear flat shoes. If you wish to spend time on the outside decks of our vessels you may need light waterproof clothing depending on the sea conditions.

What if I suffer from motion-sickness?

If you are susceptible to motion-sickness Whale Watch offer Aqua Straps for hire or purchase. Whale Watch also sells natural active motion-sickness tablets but we are not permitted to sell medicated options which can be purchased at the local pharmacy located in the town centre. All our Whale Watch tours are graded with a seasickness warning announced over our PA system prior to tour departure.

Can I buy batteries or memory cards aboard the whale watch vessels?

No. So please stock up on these items at the Whale Watch Gift Shop before departure.

Do Whale Watch sell food and drinks aboard whale watch vessels?

No. Delicious hot food, fresh coffee and a selection of cold drinks are available to purchase before or after your tour at Flukes Cafe adjacent to the Whale Watch reservations office.

Kia Ora Friends

***WHALE WATCH KAIKOURA UPDATE***

Kaikōura is as beautiful as ever with so much on offer. Over the last week we have had opportunities to view a pod of orca, a humpback whale, an Erect Crested & Yellow-Eyed Penguin as well as our commonly sighted sperm whales, dusky dolphins, NZ fur seals and amazing marine birds on our tours. We are certainly well worth considering when planning your next holiday.

Progress is being made on repairs to the Kaikōura Marina and we continue to switch between using a berth and our modified trailer unit for launching our vessel Tohorā, this is due to tidal restrictions and repair work as a result of the coastline lifting by +1.0m. Launching from the trailer is how we loaded our passengers in the old days of whale watching.

Currently our available tour times are based around the tide times on the day and may differ from the tour times originally advertised (please note we are working hard at being able to return to a fixed tour schedule from Mon 27th Feb 2017  – please watch this space). 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 operating 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 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.

Again we thank you for your patience as we continue to work toward being back fully functional, but for now we are very thankful for the ability to be able to take the people we can out whale watching.

The team at Whale Watch Kaikoura.