Kaikoura
Viewing Points

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Our most recommended Kaikoura Viewing Points

Kaikoura: Dolphin Encounter Cruise

1. 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. 

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Kaikoura: Whale Watching Cruise

2. Kaikoura: Whale Watching Cruise

Take a whale watching cruise off the Kaikoura coast, and see giant sperm whales in their natural environment. Enjoy up-close encounters with a range of other wildlife, including fur seals, pods of dolphins, and the endangered wandering albatross. Your experienced crew will provide scientific information and indigenous knowledge about these amazing creatures throughout the tour. Set sail in a modern catamaran, equipped with engines that minimize underwater noise and nonpolluting toilets. Large outdoor decks offer great viewing and photo opportunities, and the air-conditioned interiors are fitted with comfortable seating and plasma screens displaying award-winning marine wildlife animations. Passenger numbers are kept well below the vessel carrying capacity to ensure a more personal experience.

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Kaikoura: 30-Minute Whale Watching Flight

3. Kaikoura: 30-Minute Whale Watching Flight

Receive an informative briefing of the Sperm Whales and other wildlife of Kaikoura, ready for your 30-minute flight experience. Learn about its unique geology, and what you can expect to see during the flight. Spend a special half hour viewing these majestic creatures from a unique vantage point.  Head directly out over the Kaikoura Whale Sanctuary to start looking for Kaikoura's wildlife. This whale watching flight showcases the year-round whales and dolphins, as well as the stunning coastline and peninsula. Focusing on the mighty Sperm Whale, this is a once-in-a-lifetime flight to view these animals, as well as other whale and dolphin species that migrate through Kaikoura's waters.  All aircraft are high-winged, which allows each person their own window seat and optimal, unobstructed viewing and photography opportunities. Your tour finishes back at the terminal where there is a gift shop and refreshments available.

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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.

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Kaikoura: 1-Hour Whale Watching Helicopter Tour

5. 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.

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Kaikoura: Sunset Kayaking Tour

6. 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.

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Kaikoura: 30-Minute Whale Watching Helicopter Tour

7. Kaikoura: 30-Minute Whale Watching Helicopter Tour

Soar above Kaikoura on a whale watching flight and enjoy the marine wonders of this stunning area. Focusing on the sperm whales that are prevalent year-round, during the 30-minute flight your pilot will position the helicopter for the perfect view of these mighty creatures. See a whale in its entirety from tip to tail, and take in incredible photos as you fly past some of New Zealand's most beautiful coastline. Marvel at a diverse variety of marine life from humpback, southern right, and blue whales to playful dolphins and New Zealand fur seals. Your headset will keep you in constant contact with your pilot who will showcase some of the spectacular scenery and wildlife. Admire rugged coastline, enjoy the views, and look out for other wildlife.

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Kaikoura: 1 Hour 20 Minute Adventure Helicopter Tour

8. Kaikoura: 1 Hour 20 Minute Adventure Helicopter Tour

Begin your adventure are Kaikoura 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 Kaikoura Canyon. As you head out over the Pacific Ocean you are surrounded on all sides by the gorgeous scenery of Kaikoura, 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 Kaikoura 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.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Kaikoura

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What people are saying about Kaikoura

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 15 reviews

We thought that Peter did an excellent job introducing us to whale spotting, watching and took time to explain whale habits, their environment and put us in good positions to take photos. We enjoyed the explanations around earthquakes and road restoration works and it was quite spectacular to land & stop for a very cold but spectacular photo on the top of Mt Fyfe. I wonder if pilots or ground crew have any particular tips to offer relating to photographing with telephoto lenses. Maybe high shutter speeds, Tv, auto ISO. The photos we took where good and reasonably in close but not as sharp as I hoped for. Pretty tricky with moving chopper, sea and whale I guess. Overall 10 out of 10. Thank you. Very memorable!

We were told no whales were to be seen and offered a full refund if required. We decided to fly anyway. Our pilot Mike found an orca for us but no other whales so he gave us an amazing flight over the snow capped mountains, it was amazing we had so much fun

Great trip even if the birds were a limited in number. we did get to see a few species up close. Excellent skipper too who knew his stuff.

Wonderful cruise! We saw plenty albatrosses, gulls and penguins too. Gary was a very knowledgeable person and answered all our queries.

Perfect conditions, took heaps of photos. Skipper knew lots about the different bird species.