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Whale Watching in Kaikoura by boat

Highlights
  • Explore the deep waters off Kaikoura by speedy catamaran with your guide
  • Sightings of native sperm whales in their natural environment
  • Live commentary sheds light on the whales’ habits and life-cycle
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Whale Watching in Kaikoura by boat
From $105.26
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  • Overview
  • What to Expect
  • Important Information
  • Reviews
  • Q&A
Select Date and Travelers
10.00am TourMost Popular
Please note that these are check-in times only - please do not come earlier than the times specified. Please allow 3.5 hours with us.
From $105.26
12.45pm Tour
Please note that these are check-in times only - please do not come earlier than the times specified. Please allow 3.5 hours with us.
From $105.26
10.30am Tour
Please note that these are check-in times only - please do not come earlier than the times specified. Please allow 3.5 hours with us.
From $105.26
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Overview
Located on the eastern shores of New Zealand’s South Island, Kaikoura is famous for the spectacular array of marine wildlife living off its shores—but to see the best of it, you have to take to the waves. On this tour, cruise into Kaikoura’s deep waters by speedy catamaran with running commentary throughout from your guide, and spot dolphins, seals, and sperm whales in their natural habitat.
What to Expect

Our office is located a scenic 5-minute walk from the Kaikōura town centre, once you are at The Whaleway Station you will check for your whale watching tour, you will then take part in a safety briefing before taking a short ride on our coach to the marina where your sea crew will be waiting for you. Once everyone is seated and the all clear is given you will begin your journey out to see what marine life you can in the 2.5 hours spent on the water.

Kaikōura is the whale watching capital of New Zealand, 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.

Our on-board plasma screens display a virtual animated whale watching tour while the tour is actually taking place! You will experience your own tour through the eye of the albatross in real-time. As your vessel approaches the Kaikōura Canyon the ocean will be 'removed' to show the sheer scale of the abyss that plunges kilometres beneath you.

Once your tour returns back to our marina our coach will be there to take you back to our office where situated right on the seafront, Whale Watch Kaikoura’s - Flukes Café is (Kaikōura's best kept secret), offering a relaxed atmosphere with one of the best views in town. Flukes breakfast and brunch menu is on offer all day. Enjoy a cup of freshly-made coffee and sample the homemade cakes and savoury items along with daily blackboard specials to choose from.

Reviews (52)
1 - 5 of 52 reviews
Reviewed 1 week ago
A Magical Experience That I will Remember For A Lifetime! :D :)

5 out of 5 Stars! Beautiful wildlife, friendly and knowledgeable staff, modern and clean facilities. Unlike other whale watching tours in kaikoura, if you don't get that beautiful experience seeing a whale - you get a 80% refund! This is a 100% must do in...More

Thank Pink-Wolf
Reviewed 1 week ago
note that wildlife doesn't perform to order, but chances are pretty good here

one sperm whale (twice), albatross, a large school of dolphins and some NZ fur seals were the score for my trip - so I can hardly complain about the humpback hiding; so the chance of seeing something interesting seems high.

Thank Mythaluk
KaikouraWhaleWatch, Manager at Whale Watch Kaikoura, responded to this reviewResponded 1 week ago

Kia Ora Thank you for taking the time to review your whale watching experience with us. It sounds as though you were able to encounter a variety of marine life whilst travelling with us. We hope you enjoy the rest of your New Zealand adventure.

Reviewed 1 week ago
Do not book on TripAdvisor/Viator!

We booked this trip online through TripAdvisor which turns out is Viator. The trip was canceled due to no whales in the area. We were told that because we had booked on TripAdvisor/Viator we had to contact them for a refund. In the Viator website,...More

1  Thank Carol F
KaikouraWhaleWatch, Manager at Whale Watch Kaikoura, responded to this reviewResponded 1 week ago

Kia Ora Thank you for taking the time to review your whale watching experience with us. We are sorry to hear that you had a bad experience trying to contact your Agent for a refund. We have passed your review on to our Customer Services...More

Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile
Whales are wild. There’s no guarantee of spotting them.

Whales are wild. Despite sending out several boats and a small airplane to spot whales we were not fortunate enough to see any. We saw dolphins alongside the boat as they playfully swam alongside of us. The view was beautiful. The staff was friendly. We...More

1  Thank D7499FGaudreyh
KaikouraWhaleWatch, Manager at Whale Watch Kaikoura, responded to this reviewResponded 1 week ago

Kia Ora Thank you for taking the time to review your whale watching experience with us. We are sorry to hear that you tour was unsuccessful in sighting a whale, but thank you for understanding that these are wild mammals and we do not control...More

Reviewed 2 weeks ago
One time experience

Arrived for a briefing on land before we were taken by coach to the South shore where the boat was parked. Excellent commentary on board by Faye, supplemented with pictures and explanations of what we might see. Very chilly on deck so take something warm...More

1  Thank Jan P
KaikouraWhaleWatch, Manager at Whale Watch Kaikoura, responded to this reviewResponded 1 week ago

Kia Ora Thank you for taking the time to review your whale watching experience with us. It sounds as though you had some incredible marine life sightings on your tour! We hope to see you back in Kaikoura sometime in the future.

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Questions & Answers
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YakS7
August 22, 2018|
AnswerShow all 6 answers
Response from Rochelle F | Reviewed this property |
Hi! there is no actual best time to whale watch. The whales surface regularly -- so a lot of it will depend on luck and patience. My best tip would be to arrive energized, alert and refreshed :)
0
Votes
Teresa S
June 4, 2018|
AnswerShow all 3 answers
Response from Barbara A | Reviewed this property |
Definitely take warm and wind proof clothing, as it can get very windy, especially if you are outside taking photos.
1
Vote
Margaret A
May 5, 2018|
Answer
Response from julianhR5588UJ | Reviewed this property |
From what I could gather the whales are there all year - I did notice the company offer an 80% refund if you don’t see whales so I assume they are confident each time they run the trip! Enjoy.
-7
Votes
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