North Canterbury, South Island

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Whale Watch Kaikoura - Marine Experience

Whale Watch - Kaikoura – NZ's Whale Watching capital!

Whale Watch - Kaikoura – Giant Sperm Whale

Whale Watch - Kaikoura – Dusky Dolphins

Whale Watch - Kaikoura

Whale Watch - Kaikoura

Whale Watch - Kaikõura

NZ's Whale Watching capital!

Situated against an absolutely stunning backdrop that takes in views from the alps to the ocean is a pretty special township called Kaikõura, where Whale Watch operates its tours year round.  This is NZ's whale watching capital and Whale Watch is NZ's only vessel based whale watching company that offers your family an exciting up-close encounter with the Giant Sperm Whale in their natural environment. With a purpose built vessel, from which you will enjoy your tour you are provided with great viewing and photographic opportunities, and limited not only to viewing whales but potential encounters with NZ Fur Seals, Dusky Dolphins, Albatross and other marine life.
Note: Tour departures are weather dependent and the minimum age for children is 3 years and over.  We reserve the right to raise our minimum age requirement if we feel sea/weather conditions are not suitable for younger children.

Our Tour:

Every Whale Watch tour provides a unique experience and of course the sightings may vary, but typically the Giant Sperm Whales are the stars of the show and our year-round residents.

A typical Whale Watch tour may encounter: -

  • NZ Fur Seals
  • pods of Dusky Dolphins
  • the endangered Wandering Albatross

Depending on the season you may also see and experience: -

  • migrating Humpback Whales
  • Pilot Whales
  • Blue Whales
  • Southern Right Whales
  • Orca

Kaikõura is home to the worlds smallest and rarest marine dolphin - the Hector's.  Kaikõura 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.

Our Boat:

Your family will be amazed to see up close and personal these spectacular creatures in their own environment, all from the comfort of our specially designed catamaran boat that has been purpose built for whale watching.  Our boats engines minimize underwater noise too and have been fitted with an internal propeller so the risk of a propeller strike of these amazing mammals is completely eliminated.  Our main passenger cabin is enclosed and the outside decks offer great viewing and photo opportunities for all onboard the vessel.

Tour Times

Tour check-in times all year are: - 7:15am - 10:00am - 12:45pm.
An extra tour is scheduled at 3:30pm from November to March.

Whale Watch operate tours every day (weather permitting), excluding Christmas Day.

For more General Information and Tour Features with Whale Watch Kaikoura, please click here.

Combo Deals
Interested in the Kaikõura Marine Combo, where you can have your experience on, above and below the water.  Click here for more information.

Flukes Cafe

To round off your experience either before or after your tour, check out Flukes Cafe for a chance to refuel the kids and enjoy a cuppa and some daily blackboard specials. Situated right on the sea front, this place offers a relaxed atmosphere with the best views in town.
Plus there is a great little playground complete with slides, swings and climbing frames for the kids to enjoy that's right on the beach!

Whale Watch Gift Shop

Take some of the magic home with you. Whale Watch offer a unique selection of toys, clothing, books, posters, postcards, jewellery and souvenirs.

Map of New Zealand
  • Central Otago
  • Bay of Plenty
  • Coromandel
  • Dunedin
  • Gisborne
  • Fiordland
  • Hawkes Bay
  • North Canterbury
  • Manawatu
  • Nelson & Golden Bay
  • Northland
  • Marlborough Sounds
  • Rotorua
  • Queenstown
  • Taranaki
  • South Canterbury
  • Taupo
  • Southland
  • Waikato
  • Wanaka
  • West Coast
  • Whangarei
  • Bay of Islands
  • Tauranga
  • Gisborne
  • Hamilton
  • Napier
  • Kapiti
  • Palmerston North
  • Whanganui
  • New Plymouth
  • Arrowtown
  • Te Anau
  • Akaroa
  • Ashburton
  • Hanmer
  • Kaikoura
  • Methven
  • Mt Cook
  • Oamaru
  • Tekapo
  • Timaru
  • Abel Tasman
  • Motueka
  • Nelson Lakes
  • Blenheim
  • Picton
  • Catlins
  • Gore
  • Stewart Island
  • Central Plateau
  • Invercargill
  • Cromwell
  • Greymouth
  • Hokitika
  • Westport
  • Glenorchy

Our favourite destinations…

Auckland destination2


New Zealand’s economic heart and biggest city is also an exciting family visitor destination, situated on a sunny harbour with city beaches just minutes away from the CBD. Orientate yourself by heading down to Viaduct Harbour, wandering the waterfront, checking out the super yachts or enjoying the waterfront restaurants. Nearby is the must-visit Sky Tower along with excellent and kid-friendly museums and tons of exciting activities!


Wellington is New Zealand’s capital. Here you will find New Zealand's parliament buildings, including the 'Executive Wing', more well-known as 'The Beehive' due to its distinctive shape. Another icon to look out for is the Wellington Tram, which was the main means of public transport between 1878 and 1964.


With a population of around 400,000 Christchurch, in Canterbury, is the South Island ’s largest city, yet much of it has the feel of a small town. Perhaps that’s why it’s known as the Garden City but with the expansive Hagley Park, Botanic Gardens, Port Hills, River Avon and numerous beaches the city certainly has an open, relaxed feel that’s hard to beat.


With its well-deserved reputation as New Zealand’s activity adventure capital you’ll never run out of activities and things to do in Queenstown, but you may run out of time! With breathtaking scenery, activities and festivals, cafes and restaurants, skiing and snowboarding, shopping and wineries, this lakeside alpine resort rates as one of the world’s top vacation destinations for all ages and seasons.


Rotorua sits on the shore of Lake Rotorua, one of sixteen lakes in the area formed by hundreds of thousands of years of eruptions from the Taupo Volcanic Zone. The area is renowned for its geothermal activity and top of any activity list is to see the bubbling mud pools that are around the region for yourself. The Waimangu Volcanic Valley offers a first hand insight into the devastation caused by the 1886 eruption of Mount Tarawera and is a great place to discover steaming volcanic craters and bubbling, spitting  pools of mud!

Nelson and Golden Bay

The Nelson and Golden Bay regions, at the top of the South Island, boast enviable sunshine hours, glorious sandy beaches, safe swimming spots, lots of wildlife to look out for, and Abel Tasman National Park - an absolute must to explore, on foot, by kayak, your own craft or watertaxi.  Nelson is home to a vibrant arts and crafts community with a fabulous Saturday market, and is close to award-winning wineries and family-friendly bike tracks to take you around the coast.

Hawkes Bay

Napier was rebuilt after the 1931 earthquake and is now known as NZ's Art Deco City.  The Art Deco influence has created a unique city – nowhere else can you see such a varied concentration of art deco style. With over 2,200 sunshine hours a year, Napier is a year-round holiday destination with countless activities to entertain the kids – there's days of entertainment on Marine Parade alone, plus numerous other family-friendly trips and activities.  Add to that the beaches, walks and flat cycle paths, outdoor cafes and entertainment, and you have a perfect holiday destination!


Beautiful, unspoiled beaches, fishing, historic gum fields, kauri forests – the Far North has it all. With subtropical temperatures, it's often known as ‘the Winterless north', with warm, humid summers and mild winters.
Gateway to the Bay of Islands, Paihia is a pretty, lively beachside town and a perfect base for your family holiday. It’s your start point for Bay of Island adventures including day cruises, sailing, kayaking, swimming with dolphins and reef or wreck diving.