Sperm Whale, Kaikoura © davidwallphoto.com

Whale Watching


View the map

TAP FOR MORE INFO:

It’s all about the shelving. Not that buckled bench in the caravan, but the Hikurangi Trench.

Around 80km off the coast, it’s 3.5km deep, a place where warm and cold currents meet, so it attracts a wealth of deep-sea marine life. Hence, the whales: sperm whales, orca, blue whales and humpback whales. And they have to come up for air, right?

Forget the whales for a second. OK, sounds ridic’, right? But picture this: you’re bobbing gently out on the open sea, the prospect of a whale enough to make things pretty exciting. You turn around, and across that gorgeous sea is a strip of land, a few cutesy cribs/cottages, the township of Kaikoura. Then the Seaward Kaikouras, a rugged range of mountains that keep their snow beyond the winter months. Then, likely, a blue, blue sky. Paradise?

Then, over the side of the boat, a t-shaped miracle. There is no screen-derived, social media switcheroo that equates, dammit comes even close, to the real thing.

You see one of these stupendous creatures come up for air before thumping back down again? You will never forget it. And you will never do anything at all like it.

Those whales are spectacular from above, as well. You can charter just about anything at Kaikoura, dude: the place is kitted out to get you up close, but not too close, to a big fella. A plane, or a chopper, means you’re likely to see the whole beast rather than just a tail, so it ends up being up to you which experience you’d prefer.

A minor word of preparation: this is very much a weather-dependent exercise.

Weather, like the whales, can’t just be dialled up to suit your timetable. Allow a few days in and around the area — it’s not hard, it’s an amazing part of the country — and book yourself in. Avoid disappoint and max your chances of having a good tale of good tails to tell.

SH 1 is closed to through traffic between Blenheim and Christchurch. Please check the latest travel information before planning your trip to Kaikoura.


Be the first to comment on this page. You cannot post comments until you have logged in. Please log in or register if you don't have an account.

More stories like this

Find out more

Must-Do's

Bluff Oyster Festival

See, it’s that whole food in situ thing again.

Find out more

Must-Do's

Cheese Rolls

Food in situ. It’s a simple pleasure, but one not to be overlooked. Context is all in all matters culinary.

Find out more

Must-Do's

Larnach Castle

If you missed Larnach Castle on your trip out to wing it with the albatrosses, you must have been on Facebook.

Find out more

Must-Do's

Olveston House

Designed by a London architect and built in 1904 — well, this was really something.