5 Reasons to visit Kaikōura

The scenery

Where the mountains meet the sea. The picturesque views of the blue waters meeting the mountains is unique to Kaikōura. Mount Fyffe and the Kaikōura seaward mountain range can be seen from all around the township and is the ideal background for photo enthusiasts. The Kaikōura peninsula is close to the township and there is a lovely walk around the peninsula which offer great views over the South Pacific Ocean, the mountains and the town.

Penisula and mountains Photo Bare Kiwi

Photo Credit: Bare Kiwi

The Canyon

The Kaikōura submarine canyon with a depth of up to 1140 metres sits only 3 nautical miles from the South Bay marina. Major currents merge into this canyon and it produces a highly productive underwater system which brings a huge variety of marine life to Kaikōura. The convergence of sub-tropical and sub-Antarctic currents helps bringing nutrients from the seabed to the surface. The closest point to land is Goose Bay which is located just to the south of Kaikōura. Here the canyon starts only 800 metres from land.

Kaikoura canyon


The star of the show here at Whale Watch Kaikōura is of course the mighty male sperm whale. They are a part of an extremely diverse marine eco-system and there is a huge variety of life found in and out of the water. Sperm whales can be found in the canyon all year round along with the Dusky dolphins and the Hector’s dolphins. Spread along the coastline are several breeding sites for the NZ fur seal which also venture out into the deeper waters. Over 20 species of cetaceans (whales, dolphins & porpoises) can be sighted in Kaikōura, some of the more common ones include; Orca, Humpback whales, Blue whales and Common dolphins.

Being a known seabird capital of the world, you will not be disappointed if you hope to see some rare birdlife. With a great variety of albatross, petrels, shearwaters and even penguins it is a birders paradise!


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When you come aboard our boats powered by jet propulsion units you will have a fully narrated tour by our conservation minded sea crew. By joining one of our tours you also support many local projects. The Hutton’s shearwater project is very close to heart as Kaikōura’s local titi bird. This endangered bird is the only known seabird to nest in alpine regions.


Whale Watch Kaikōura have supported researchers from the New Zealand Whale & Dolphin Trust who has researched the sperm whales in Kaikōura for over 30 years. Since 1990 the trust has supported research made from students of the University of Otago where studies have been made on population size, behaviour and ecology and much more.

Other things to do in town

Once you have finished your whale watching tour there are many other things to do in town! For the adventurous you can swim with dolphins and/or seals, climb to the top of mount Fyffe or go for a kayak trip around the peninsula. Being a small town with a lot of history there is the local Kaikōura museum and a whaling museum built on whale bones.

Meet the friendly locals at any of our great cafes, restaurants and local brewery.

Contact the local Kaikoura i-SITE for more information about the different activities in town!

Destination Kaikoura Logo Moana Blue Blue


Further reading:
Hutton’s shearwater project

NZ Whale Dolphin Trust

Kaikoura i-SITE

Kia Ora

Whale Watch monitors the latest public health advice and adapts the operation accordingly.

Key Themes:

  1. If you are unwell, have been to a place of interest in the last 14-days or are awaiting a covid test please stay home.
  2. Contact tracing is required so we ask you to scan in with the covid tracer app or use the manual sign-in option provided.
  3. We ask that you wear a face covering.
  4. Our cleaning procedures have been enhanced and hand sanitizer is available.
  5. We ask that you listen to all instructions provided by our team, please be patient and kind.

Vaccination Mandates - The Vaccine Pass - Covid19 Protection Framework

From Friday 3rd December 2021 all customers to Whale Watch will be required to present a valid New Zealand Government vaccine pass as part of the New Zealand Governments Covid19 Protection Framework to travel on our tours and enter our premises unless they are exempt.

You are exempt if;

  1. You are ineligible for vaccination.
  2. Children under 12-years and 3-months of age.
  3. People who are clinically exempted.

Please note: You may also be required to show a valid form of ID in the form of a current New Zealand drivers license, Passport or 18+ Kiwi Access Card to validate your ID. Please ensure you have one of these options readily available upon request.

The message from the New Zealand Government is clear. To enjoy the full life everyone in New Zealand deserves, get vaccinated today. If you are already vaccinated, do your best to help your friends and family get their vaccinations so we can all enjoy life within the new system. 

Covid19 Protection Framework

Should you have any concerns or questions in this regard, please do not hesitate to contact our Customer Support Services team.