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There are over 79 species of whale and dolphin in the world today and 34 of these species have been sighted in New Zealand waters with over half of these in the waters off Kaikoura.
The real highlight
When whale watching in New Zealand, the most common whales on the coast are the sperm whales, but in addition there are frequent sightings of other types of whales; including humpback, minke and orca, which pass through the area at regular intervals.
When you go whale watching in New Zealand, you’ll be able to experience the unmatching majesty of the native sperm whales. The sperm whale is the world’s largest carnivore and is in fact the largest known predator ever to exist. They are equivalent in size to four elephants and each of their teeth can weigh more than a kilogram and grow to 20cm long. Sperm whales dive 2,000m into the dark abyss of the Kaikoura Canyon to hunt prey such as giant squid – many of Kaikoura’s sperm whales wear battle scars from close encounters with this monster of the deep.
Whale watching is the real highlight of a trip to Kaikoura. You can view these huge animals at close quarters by whale watching by boat with Whale Watch or try whale watching from the air with Wings over Whales.
Whale Watch Kaikoura
Whale Watch is New Zealand’s only vessel based whale watching company, located in the town of Kaikoura.
Towering snow covered peaks fall to the Pacific Ocean where a deep undersea canyon just offshore attracts an extraordinary abundance of marine life, the most famous being the sperm whale.
Whale Watch Kaikoura have an impressive 95% success rate which means that you are guaranteed an 80% refund if your tour does not see a whale. As well as whales, a typical Whale Watch tour may encounter New Zealand fur seals, pods of dusky dolphins and the endangered wandering albatross. Depending on the season you may also see a number of migrating whale species including humpback, pilot, blue and southern right.
Kaikoura also hosts the world’s largest dolphin, the orca, and is home to the world’s smallest and rarest, the Hector’s. Kaikoura also attracts the largest concentration and variety of seabirds on mainland New Zealand including 13 species of albatross, 14 varieties of petrel and 7 types of shearwater.
The company’s fleet of modern catamarans are purpose designed for whale watching with engines that minimise underwater noise and toilets that never pollute the sea. The main passenger cabin is enclosed and outside decks offer great viewing and photo opportunities.