Whale watching at Kaikoura

Whale watching at Kaikoura

Whale watching at Kaikoura

My personal Whale Watching experience in Kaikoura

As Kaikoura is one of the best places for whale watching and snorkeling, and in fact, for all forms of wildlife encounters (such as swimming with dolphins), exploring the wildlife here is definitely on the top of the list of things to do for a Kaikoura Holiday.

There are two options available for whale watching. One is by the usual way that is by cruise on the sea. Another is via a mini-plane. Each has its own pros.

Me, being a marine enthusiast, I persuaded my friends to purchase the combination 3 package. Its an over, on and below the sea package. This package includes Whale Watching Cruise, Wings over Whales and a Swimming with Dolphins experience. In this post, I shall share with you my personal experience and reviews on the Whale Watching  tours I had.

Whale Watching Cruise

Whale watching cruise

This was the vessel we were on board for whale watching. It was not huge, but big enough to accommodate everybody comfortably. It was my 2nd whale watching experience by far and I actually much perfer this experience better. This is because the cruise does not contain too many people. As a result, it allows better view, without having to compete with your cruise-mates for the view.  It was about 3 hours cruise ride, thus, it was quite the worth the price paid.

Sperm whale 1

Sperm whale breaching

Sperm Whale 3Sperm Whale 4Sperm Whale 5

It was truly exciting to witness this massive creature displaying its signature tail-slapping motion. Although it was not a close view, for the whale’s  safety reason,  I was satisfied with it as I managed to at least catch this beautiful view.

The guide at the cruise was very professional and knowledgeable. I loved her detailed and interesting presentation about the biology and behaviour of whales and also about Kaikoura.

Apart from spotting the Sperm Whale, we also  managed to spot some lazy seals sun- tanning on the rocks.  As we were close to the rocks, we were able to smell the seals. It was an odd oily smell that they emitted.


As the cruise was rather small, it can get really shaky. To tourists who have motion sickness, do be aware that you may want to prepare some pills prior the trip  to make you feel more comfortable during the tour.  Otherwise, you may become like me and my friends, we kept vomiting throughout. It was probably also because we  went for the swimming with dolphins prior to this cruise, hence our motion sickness doubled in intensity. Despite so, it was nevertheless, a very interesting experience.

Wings over Whales

We began our tour with a presentation by the pilot introducing Kaikoura and also its marine life. Next, we hopped on to the mini plane as shown in the picture below. The plane was able to accommodate 6 people including the pilot.


On the screen shown below, it marks the position of the dusky dolphins and also our star of the day, in this case, the Sperm Whales. Both of these species are permanently residing near to the coasts of Kaikoura due to the nutrient rich waters.

Whale 6

There we went, whoohoo!

mini plane

Up we went….into the air…and higher up..

.Mini plane 2

Magnificent view 1

Mini plane 3

The view of the Sperm whale from high above…To ensure that everyone from both sides of the plane had a chance to view the whale, the pilot turned clockwise and anti-clockwise each time we spotted any whales.

Sperm Whale from the top

Whale watching is definitely the top attraction in Kaikoura…Are you able to spot the ferries which were also searching for this beautiful whale?

Sperm Whale from the top 2

We were not just rewarded with the view of the incredible massive creature, but also treated to the beautiful coastline view of Kaikoura.

Magnificent view 2

Magnificent view 3

In addition to Sperm Whale, Humpback Whale was also joining the party showcasing his favourite body- twisting and flipping- dance moves.

Humpback whale

The whole “wings over whales” trip lasted for about 15minutes.  It involves around 3 times of driving out to the sea back and fro. For this, it is recommended that you pop some motion-sickness pills prior to setting off.  If you are also taking the combo 3 package (swimming with dolphins, whale watching cruise and wings over whales). try to allocate around 4 days to complete it. We used two days to complete all straight after we landed at New Zealand, it was quite exhausting, and very rush. Our bodies couldnt take it and we felt a little ill after accumulating all the motion sickness from every activities we had. Despite so, it was definitely a very unforgettable experience. A must-try for outdoor enthusiasts and nature-lovers!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *