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Kaikoura

Cruises & Boat Tours

Our most recommended Kaikoura Cruises & Boat Tours

Kaikoura: Whale Watching Cruise

1. Kaikoura: Whale Watching Cruise

Take a whale-watching cruise off the Kaikoura coast, and see giant sperm whales in their natural environment. Enjoy onboard commentary as you encounter a range of wildlife, including fur seals, pods of dolphins, and the endangered wandering albatross. Set sail on a catamaran, equipped with engines that minimize underwater noise and nonpolluting toilets. Take in the views from the large outdoor decks or stay inside the air-conditioned interiors with comfortable seating and plasma screens displaying marine wildlife animations. Gain an insight into the habitat with scientific information and indigenous knowledge about these creatures from the crew. Passenger numbers are kept well below the vessel's capacity to ensure a more personal experience.

Kaikoura: Dolphin Encounter Cruise

2. Kaikoura: Dolphin Encounter Cruise

Cruise along the scenic Kaikoura coast as you watch for dolphins. During the cruise, you'll be able to swim with the dolphins in their natural habitat or watch their antics from the comfort of the boat. Kaikoura is one of the best places in the world to encounter the Dusky Dolphins in their natural environment. The Dusky Dolphins are some of the most interactive and acrobatic species of dolphins, making them thrilling to watch and interact with. 

Kaikoura: Half-Day Wildlife Kayaking Tour

3. Kaikoura: Half-Day Wildlife Kayaking Tour

Begin your adventure in the town of Kaikoura where you will meet your professional guides. Receive a short safety briefing and paddling lesson before being allocated all the necessary equipment for the tour. Head out on the waters of the beautiful ocean surrounding the city. Kayak along the Kaikoura coastline, where you will take in the magnificent views of sheer cliff faces, craggy rocks, and mountain ranges while searching for chance encounters with Dusky Dolphins and Blue Penguins. Experience the excitement of watching cute fur seals ducking, weaving, and diving around your kayak. During your tour, you will have the opportunity to paddle gently along with these beautiful animals as they swim around the Kaikoura Peninsula hunting for their favourite feed of octopus. This tour is suitable for all ages and abilities while operating year-round, and doesn't require any previous kayaking experience. Encounter a diverse range of wildlife on the New Zealand coastline and see some of the country's most beautiful animals.

Kaikoura: 2.5-hour Albatross Encounter and Wildlife Cruise

4. Kaikoura: 2.5-hour Albatross Encounter and Wildlife Cruise

Enjoy this once in a lifetime bird watching experience just 15 minutes of the coast of Kaikoura. Within just a small area, meet one of the greatest varieties of seabirds and pelagic bird life you'll find anywhere in the world. Up to 12 species of albatross alone can be viewed at various times of the year. Equip yourself with your bird identification list, your expert local guide and driver will take you on a journey from the Port out into the open ocean. Enjoy the opportunity to watch the birds come in close to the boat for a unique feeding experience. Throughout the tour, your guide will take you to various different spots to ensure you see as many species as possible. As you make your way back to Kaikoura, come in close to the shore and marvel at the picturesque New Zealand coastline. If you’re lucky, you will have an opportunity to see beautiful fur seals basking in the sunshine.

Kaikoura: Guided Family Kayaking Adventure

5. Kaikoura: Guided Family Kayaking Adventure

Hop into a kayak and paddle around the beautiful coastal waters of New Zealand for up to 2 hours. Take in the unique landscapes as you go or enjoy the thrill of getting right up close to New Zealand's unique marine life. Spot the curious fur seals swimming and diverse range of birds, fish, and more. Listen to a short briefing explaining how to gear up, paddle, and steer your kayak. Then with full confidence, embark on this adventure. The highly stable sea kayaks allow children to safely enjoy the kayaking experience with an adult paddling right behind them. Professional, qualified guides will remain close to you throughout the kayaking time. Take photos of the amazing mountainous region around you, absorb the sheer sublime rocks, and meet some playful New Zealand Fur Seals.

Kaikoura: 1-Hour Whale Watching Helicopter Tour

6. Kaikoura: 1-Hour Whale Watching Helicopter Tour

Spot sperm whales, dusky dolphins, and fur seals from above before making a summit landing among the towering peaks of the Seaward Kaikoura Mountain Ranges on this 1-hour helicopter tour. The adventure begins with a short safety briefing from the pilot, as well as additional information about the year-round population of sperm whales and the unique underwater Kaikoura Canyon. Next, jump in the helicopter and head out over the Whale Sanctuary and Hikurangi Marine Reserve for a chance to view the pod of sperm whales. Taking on a bird's-eye-view maximizes time viewing the wildlife while not disrupting their natural behavior. Continue along the magnificent coastline of the Kaikoura Peninsula keeping an eye out for playful dusky dolphins and New Zealand fur seals. The last stop of the day will be the towering peaks of the Seaward Kaikoura Mountain Ranges for an incredible alpine landing. Get out and walk around on rugged pristine land with breathtaking vistas of the mountains, peninsula, and ocean.

Kaikoura: 120 Minutes Ultimate Adventure Helicopter Tour

7. Kaikoura: 120 Minutes Ultimate Adventure Helicopter Tour

Begin your adventure are Kaikōura Airport where you will receive a short safety briefing from your pilot, as well as additional information about the year-round population of sperm whales and the unique underwater Kaikōura Canyon. As you head out over the Pacific Ocean you are surrounded on all sides by the gorgeous scenery of Kaikōura, with the coastal mountains as a backdrop. Slowly orbit the whales so you can see the whole animal from head to tail, minimising your impact on the animal while maximising your time and viewing. Soar back along the coastline keeping an eye out for any other animals that may be around, including the resident population of dusky dolphins and New Zealand fur seals, as well as any other whale species that may be migrating through including blue, humpback, fin, and killer whales. After completing your wildlife viewing, head for the Seaward Kaikōura Mountain Ranges. Fly along the coastline to see the impact from the magnitude 7.8 earthquake that changed the entire landscape of the coastal mountains and see the new Papatea Fault where it scars the land and runs out to sea. Fly inland along the Clarence River Valley and back up through the mountain range for a landing at the turquoise waters of the newly created Hapuku Dam Lake, which was created during the November 2016 earthquake. Enjoy the scenery as you fly back through the mountain range to land.

Kaikoura: Sunset Kayaking Tour

8. Kaikoura: Sunset Kayaking Tour

Join your guide as you kayak during sunset to experience the stunning glow of the seaward-facing Kaikoura Mountains. Have the chance to watch seals dive and maneuver around and under your kayak as the sunsets. Paddle with them as they swim around the peninsula hunting for octopus. Along the way keep an eye out for blue penguins or albatross and have a possible encounter with dusky dolphins. Your kayak is enclosed, safe, stable, and easily steered using a rudder. It's fast on the water, but still keeps you warm and dry. Your qualified and experienced local guide will teach you how to handle the kayak and paddle you through areas used years ago by local Maori and early whalers. Enjoy watching the light change as the day draws to an end.

New Zealand: 11 Day South Island Tour

9. New Zealand: 11 Day South Island Tour

Set off on an adventure-filled 11-day tour to discover and explore New Zealand's South Island with accommodation and some activities included. Day 1 - Wellington to Kaikoura Travel across the Cook Strait, one of the most enjoyable and beautiful ferry journeys in the world. Go for a wine tasting in the Marlborough region and visit the Kaikoura Seal colony. Day 2 - Kaikoura to Christchurch Hike the Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway. Enjoy the amazing panoramic views of Kaikoura and discover hidden gems of Christchurch in a city street art trail. Day 3 - Christchurch to Lake Tekapo Marvel at the stars at the Dark Sky Project, Lake Tekapo. Visit The Church of the Good Shepherd. Hike up Mount John for panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and lakes. Day 4 - Lake Tekapo to Mount Cook (return) Spend the day at Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park before Hiking the Hooker Valley Track to Hooker Lake. Day 5 - Lake Tekapo to Queenstown Delight your palate with a buffet dinner with panoramic views of Queenstown at the Skyline Stratosphere Restaurant (at your own expense). Day 6 - Queenstown free day Have the whole day to yourself and explore the wonders of Queenstown. Day 7 - Queenstown to Glenorchy day trip Cruise past the late, soaking up the views, and onto Glenorchy where you'll do some short walks. Day 8 - Queenstown to Wanaka Hike Roys Peak (6-hour return) and take in breathtaking views over Lake Wānaka (only accessible from November to May). Mt Iron hike (alternative to Roys Peak); provides 360-degree views of The Pisa range. Visit the famous Wanaka tree. Day 9 - Wanaka to Franz Josef Thunder Creek falls in Mt Aspiring National Park. Visit Lake Matheson, famous for mirror views of Aoraki/Mount Cook. Day 10 - Franz Josef Design and carve your own Greenstone jewelry in a West Coast workshop (included) and walk the Glacier valley walk in Franz Josef. Day 11 - Franz Josef to Christchurch Take a scenic hike across Arthurs Pass, walk the Castle Hill track, and admire Devils Punchbowl waterfalls.

New Zealand North & South Island: 14-Day Tour

10. New Zealand North & South Island: 14-Day Tour

Day 1 - Auckland to Hot Water Beach Depart Auckland and head south-east to the pristine beaches of the Coromandel and the world-famous Cathedral Cove. Kayak around this stunning coastline (optional activity) and have the opportunity to visit Hot Water Beach; a unique surf beach where if you catch the tide right, you can dig a hole in the sand to create your own personal spa pool. Day 2 - Hot Water Beach to Waitomo Venture into the enchanting Karangahake Gorge nestled among the Kaimai Ranges, for a hike amongst the walkways and old mining tunnels. Next, head over to Waitomo for a magical tour of the world-famous glow-worm caves. You will also have the opportunity to experience a Black Water Rafting trip. Day 3 - Waitomo to Rotorua Start the day with a walk through the Ruakuri Reserve. Pass through The Shire of Hobbiton where you’ll have the opportunity to discover the Hobbiton Movie Set (optional activity) before rolling on through to Rotorua; a mystical land of bubbling mud pools, rocketing geysers, and natural hot springs. Optional activities are luging down the SkyLine, White Water Rafting, Hells Gate, Mountain biking through the Redwoods, Zorb, Wai-o-tapu, Polynesian Spa, or National Kiwi Hatchery. Day 4 - Rotorua free day and Tamaki Maori Village Explore the geothermal reserve of Te Puia, with New Zealand’s largest geyser, and a chance to see a real live Kiwi bird. Visit the Tamaki Māori Village and be immersed in the traditions and cultural values of the Māori people. Participate in a pōwhiri (welcoming ceremony), learn about the history of the marae (village) and the Rotorua-area from a local Māori guide before feasting on some top kai food from the hāngi pit. Gather around a blazing bonfire and enjoy listening to Māori myths and legends before relaxing in a private forest spa pool and retiring for the night in a traditional carved whare moe (sleeping house). Day 5 - Tamaki Maori Village to Taupo Day 6 - Taupo free day Day 7 - Taupo to Wellington Day 8 - Wellington to Kaikoura Day 9 - Kaikoura to Christchurch Day 10 - Christchurch to Lake Tekapo Day 11 - Lake Tekapo to Wanaka via Mount Cook Day 12 - Wanaka to Queenstown Day 13 - Queenstown free day Day 14 - Queenstown to Glenorchy day trip

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What people are saying about Kaikoura

Overall rating

4.9 / 5

based on 9 reviews

A very enjoyable trip. Stuff were helpful and knowledgeable. Unfortunatelly the sperm whale did not want to make an appearance but we saw quite a few humpback whales and plenty of dolphins.

Guide on the boat was excellent with some humour to get everyone in a relaxed fun mood. Saw a humpback whale several times and dolphins were playing beside us. Well worth the experience

We seen 3 Sperm Whales and a pod of about 200 Dusky dolphins ! It was amazing ! Would definitely recommend. Boat crew also super friendly and inviting! Can’t wait to do it again !

Check the exact time of the Whale Watch departure. We turned up at 0940 (as suggested by Get Your Guide) for a check in that didn’t start until 1000 at the earliest.

1 Sperm Whale 2 Humpback whales Dolphins Seals Albatross ✔️ Kaikoura whale watching trip YOU ARE THE BEST !! Thanks for the Memories.