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Kaikoura

Sightseeing cruises

Our most recommended Kaikoura Sightseeing Cruises

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: 2.5-hour Albatross Encounter and Wildlife Cruise

3. 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: Half-Day Wildlife Kayaking Tour

4. 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: 120 Minutes Ultimate Adventure Helicopter Tour

5. 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: 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.

New Zealand: 11 Day South Island Tour

7. 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

8. 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

From Wellington: 7-Day South Island Tour with Wine Tasting

9. From Wellington: 7-Day South Island Tour with Wine Tasting

Unlock the beauty of the South Island with the convenience of a multi-day guided tour. All activities are included unless states otherwise. Day 1 - Wellington to Kaikoura Kick off the adventure with one of the most beautiful inter-island crossings in the world, the Cook Straight. Arrive at the top of the South Island and journey through the Marlborough region, home to endless rolling vineyards. Stop for a tasting along the way to sample some local Kiwi cuisine. Day 2 - Kaikoura to Christchurch Choose between a lie-in, or, for the more adventurous, an ocean excursion (extra cost) to try your luck spotting dolphins, whales, albatrosses, and more. Around mid-morning, head up the Kaikoura Peninsula to walk among a large seal colony. Next up is the diverse city of Christchurch. Here, take a walking tour of the city to learn about its street art, see the blooming botanical gardens, and learn about the city's recent history. Day 3 - Christchurch to Lake Tekapo Hit the road and cruise into Mackenzie Country, home to Lake Tekapo. Visit the stone Church of the Good Shepherd and admire Lake Tekapo's blue waters framed with colorful lupins. As night falls, visit the Dark Sky Project to learn about the importance of preserving dark skies and take a peek at all that lies above. Day 4 - Lake Tekapo to Wanaka via Mount Cook Cruise past Lake Pukaki (you'll know how it got its nickname The Powerade Factory when you see it) and head for Mount Cook village. Take some scenic hikes in the National Park with stops to soak up the mountain views. Here choose to view the Tasman Glacier by helicopter or take a scenic flight through the Mt. Cook National Park. From mid-morning, continue to traverse through the National Park through Lindis Pass and on to Wanaka. Day 5 - Wanaka to Queenstown Have the morning to hike Wanaka's famous Roys Peak, snap "That Wanaka Tree," or climb Mount Iron. For the more daring in the group, there’s the option to experience a via Ferrata Wild Wire or hit up the lakeside trails on a mountain bike. Later, sit back and relax on the bus while viewing the scenery of the Crown ranges on the way to the adrenaline-fuelled Queenstown. End the day with a trip up the Gondola for a dinner overlooking Queenstown. Day 6 - Queenstown free dayTake a day to explore the city with lunch and activities on your own. Day 7 - Queenstown to Glenorchy Day Trip Head out into the heartlands of Otago to the picturesque town of Glenorchy to experience a scenic landscape.

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What people are saying about Kaikoura

Great experience very lucky with weather, a day later and it may not have been quite so nice. The staff were professional and seemed to be enjoying their work which added to the tourists enjoyment - of course the wildlife helped.

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 !

What a beautiful place for an afternoon of kayaking! Miles was great and the crew had absolutely everything we need for kayaking (right down to shoes!).

Captain really professional. Made every attempt for us all to interact with as many aquatic animals as possible. Would recommend to others .

We saw a lot of Orcas and dolphins. We also saw 3 sperm whales