Whale watching in New Zealand
Whale watching in New Zealand really brings one word to mind: Kaikoura. There are a host of places where dolphins can be seen, but to see whales, head to Kaikoura. The unique geography of the Kaikoura area, a series of very deep trenches just off the coast known as the Kaikoura canyon, provides a perfect environment for some key whale a dolphin prey species, including giant squid.
Sperm whales are the most common and visible species, and you are almost guaranteed to see one at anytime of the year, with the best months being in the summer (December to March). Orca are often seen too, feeding on the large pods of dusky and common dolphins that are resident all year. Other whales occasionally seen include Humpback and Pilot whales, and very occasional sightings of Cuviers Beaked, Southern Right and even giant Blue whales.
As well as boat based tours, whales can be seen from the air, from either light aircraft or helicopters. This is a spectacular way to see the whales, and gives a great perspective. It is also possible to sea Kayak from Kaikoura which can be very exciting, but is more dependent on the weather.
Dolphins are also a major draw at Kaikoura, and this is one of the best places in the world to “swim with dolphins”. If you imagined that you will be swimming around leisurely spotting the dolphins as they swim below you, think again. This is the dolphins’ home environment, and if they want to come and see you, they will. Sometimes your best bet is to sing/groan/hum and if you hit the right note, you will suddenly become aware that you are not alone. On a good day the dolphins will swim around you, under you, upside down beneath you and they will even jump over you. Just as you begin to get used to it, they will disappear, and, and they will come and go at their whim.
Even if you don’t feel like the swim, boat based viewing can be very rewarding as you have a great chance of seeing the playful dusky dolphins, as well as possible sightings of Common and the rare Hectors dolphins (Strictly speaking, both Killer and Pilot whales are actually dolphins too).
Recent New Zealand news
- Critically Endangered Maui's dolphin found dead
- Government fiddles while Maui's dolphins edge towards extinction
- International Whaling Commission asks NZ Government to do act now to save world's rarest dolphins
- 1000 whales & dolphins still being killed every day worldwide – Time to stop the slaughter
- Blue whales are feeding off New Zealand, not just migrating
- Scientists urge end to seismic tests to protect rarest dolphin
- Maui's dolphins to be extinct by 2030: World's marine mammal scientists urge immediate action
- Researchers leave port to search for and tag Blue whales in Antarctica
- World's rarest whale seen for the first time
- New Zealand chastised by IWC for failure to protect world's rarest dolphins
- South Korea launches alleged 'Scientific whaling' to add to their 'bycatch' - ARSE
- One of the world’s rarest dolphins found dead on New Zealand beach
- Large Marine Protected Areas work for dolphins
- Another of the world's rarest dolphins killed by a fishing net
- Endangered Bryde's whale killed by apparent ship strike
More New Zealand news
- Countdown to extinction continues for world’s rarest dolphin
- 99 whales stranded in New Zealand
- Successful breeding for New Zealand’s Doubtful Sound dolphins
- 65 Pilot whales die after stranding in New Zealand
- Hector’s dolphins still headed for extinction
- Right whales returning to New Zealand
- Humpback whales in the Cook Strait
- Massive whale washed up in New Zealand
- Net ban may be last hope for New Zealand’s most endangered dolphins
- Report blames both captains for sinking of the Ady Gil in the Antarctic
- New Environmental group launched by the man expelled from Sea Shepherd
- Two endangered Hector’s dolphins killed in fishing nets
- New Zealand high court sides with rare dolphins against fisheries
- 273 pilot whales beach in New Zealand, 230 die.
- New Zealand Fishermen taking minister to court for protecting endangered dolphins!