Whale Watching Kaikoura

We are famous for our marine life and when you come- you'll see why!

With the option of doing this by boat, plane or helicopter it’s definitely something everyone can enjoy. All three are completely different experiences and appeal to all budgets so here is our run through from our experiences with our local tour operators.


Kaikoura is known for its history of whaling. Luckily, commercial whaling ended in New Zealand in 1964 and we now enjoy them from a distance and appreciate their beauty! The team at Whale Watch Kaikoura offer multiple trips a day in high season and booking is essential to secure your spot, you don’t want to miss out on these breath taking mammals in their natural habitat. Plus, you never know what other amazing sea creatures you will come across on your boat trip! We have spotted albatross, dolphins, penguins and seals on our voyages out to see the whales, so you'll often get more than you pay for! By boat, there is only one company that takes you out and that is Whale watch Kaikoura. This is the classic experience and although you do not see the whole of the whale as you do by air, you do get a close up shot of the tail so it really is incredible! The tour goes for about 3 hours and you get partially refunded if you do not see a whale. Don't worry- We have been here for many years and rarely get reports of no shows! The staff really know their stuff so test their local knowledge. If you get seasick we recommend you visit the Kaikoura Pharmacy and ask for the 'Kraken"- Kaikoura’s very own special sea sickness tablets.


For whale watching by plane, we recommend Wings over Whales as they are incredibly friendly and lovely to go out with! They are surprisingly very affordable and we have been several times and absolutely love it! For those who are worried about sea sickness, we recommend this as a stomach friendly option. One of our team members feels sick even watching boats from the shore and she loves doing this tour!  After a safety briefing and boarding the plane, when you see a whale, the plane will start spiralling down to get closer. You can see the whale's whole body instead of just their tail so you get a great view of their movement in the water. They do this a couple of times so everyone gets a good view from both sides. We love watching Humpback Whales from the air as they dance in the water- especially if they breach. Remember-If you whale watch by boat you cannot board with children under 3, but there is no age restrictions on flights so we recommend this for those with young children who don’t want to miss out and want to give their wee ones an amazing experience! Prices depend on how many people book so if you are a family you often get a good deal so always ask. There is something about being up in a little plane with your ear muffs on that we love. The views really are breath-taking.




If you're feeling like a VIP trip- we recommend South Pacific Helicopters NZ for their helicopter flights. We have been treated several times and boy oh boy this is a favourite of ours! Not only do you get to see the whales, but you also land on private land with spectacular views of the coast. Helicopters are amazing because they have the ability to land in incredible and very hard to reach places. If you want an exclusive not often seen by tourists view, definitely book a helicopter flight. They have just recently bought an incredibly swanky helicopter with a glass ceiling so everyone gets an amazing view.  Don't forget they also have other trips such as those to our famous blue lake. Definitely something to consider if a special occasion is coming up!





 Fyffe House

If you want to explore Kaikoura’s rich history, visit Fyffe House- Kaikoura’s oldest surviving building and the last remnant of a pioneer whaling station established in 1842. If you are doing the peninsula walk, Fyffe house is the perfect stop on the way to the seal colony and offers a fantastic insight into the harsh lives of the early whaling community. Scotsman Robert Fyfe arrived in the early 1840s accompanied by four whaleboats to chase tohorā, the mighty southern right whale. Their oil was sent back to Europe to light the homes of hundreds far far away. Come and explore the past at this wooden colonial whaling station built on a foundation of whale bones. It’s eerie but interesting!


Follow the links below to each tour operator and lock in your once in a life time experience!




If you want to read more about the history of whaling in Kaikoura, follow the link below!





Contact Us

NZ Free phone: 0800 692322
Ph: +64 3 319 6275
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69 Beach Road
New Zealand