Whale Watching was high on my bucket list when I visited New Zealand.
We headed to the town of Kaikoura on the East Coast of the South Island. Its the perfect place to spot not just magnificent Sperm Whales, but Dolphins and a colony of New Zealand Fur Seals too!
Hoping to spot some Whales on your New Zealand adventure? Here’s everything you need to know…
Whale Watch Kaikoura
Whale Watch was formed in 1987, and now carries over 100,000 passengers across the waters each year. Designed specifically for Whale Watching, their boats are equipped with engines which minimise underwater noise and even toilets which don’t pollute the sea!
Using hydrophones to pick up on a Whale’s echolocation (which they use to hunt, navigate and communicate), it’s highly likely you’ll be able to spot at least one Sperm Whale on your tour. In fact, Whale Watch Kaikoura have a 95% success rate of spotting these magnificent creatures, and even offer an 80% refund if you’re unfortunate enough to miss out on spotting a Whale.
With 80% of the world’s whale and dolphin species migrating through these waters each year, it’s not uncommon to spot a variety of species including Humpback Whales, Orcas, Bottlenose Dolphins and Elephant Seals. If you’re a bird fan, there’s dozens of sea-bird species including Wandering Albatross, Gannets and Herons. So if you’re a nature lover and want to see some of the world’s most beautiful animals, you can’t pass on this adventure!
Whale Watch’s spends around 2 hours on the water, giving you ample time to spot a whale or two. The cabin is spacious and has plenty of outdoor spaces offering plenty of viewing and photo opportunities.
The captain and tour guides are honestly some of the most passionate people you’ll meet. Their knowledge of the area and the wildlife are second to none – and they go above and beyond to make sure you’re comfortable, enjoying your tour and will answer any questions you have (big or small).
What I loved about the tour is that passenger numbers are kept relatively low compared to the capacity of the boat, which makes sure you can get the best experience possible.
Tickets are priced at $60NZD for children (aged 3-15) and $150NZD for adults, which to be honest, is an absolute bargain.
To find out more about Whale Watch Kaikoura and to book your tickets, head to their website here.
Kaikoura’s Seal Colony
If you take a walk along Kaikoura’s Peninsula Walkway, you’ll soon stumble upon a large Fur Seal Colony, who more often than not are lazing about across the footpaths and main road. The walkway is around a 25 minute walk from the town centre, and there are loads of picnic benches and a car park if you’d rather drive.
Its so important to make sure you keep your distance from these seals, not just for your safety but for theirs too. It’s easy to forget these are wild animals and can easily become dangerous if they get spooked. So if you’re wanting to take photos, maybe use the zoom feature on your camera to save getting too close!
On your walk to visit the Seal Colony, you’ll walk past Fyffe House, a pink House full of history. Here you can discover the stories behind Kaikoura’s Whale history and how it’s transformed into today’s industry!
Places to Stay
We stayed in a local hostel called The Lazy Shag, which was amazing. It has a movie room, spacious kitchen and communal area as well as plenty of outside seating. I’m pretty sure all their rooms are ensuite – ours even had separate toilet and shower rooms which was honestly so helpful.
Have you been Whale Watching before? Let us know in the comments!