5 star rating: Highly Recommended 31 Reviews

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  • Location:Christchurch, New Zealand
  • Duration:11 hrs

Best Kaikoura Whale Watch Day Tour from Christchurch

Experience the natural treasures of New Zealand on a whale-watching cruise from the picturesque town of Kaikoura. Look for the mighty sperm whales that live in these waters along with dolphins, New Zealand fur seals and seabirds. Admire breathtaking views of the snow-capped Kaikoura Ranges and visit a fur seal colony on land. Wrap up the day with a wine tasting at a vineyard in North Canterbury. Your experienced guide shares informative commentary throughout the day on this fun and fascinating tour.


  • Full-day tour with whale-watching cruise in Kaikoura, from Christchurch
  • Marvel at the scenery as you drive through North Canterbury's gorgeous countryside
  • Take a whale-watching cruise with expert guides to look for sperm whales, dolphins, New Zealand fur seals and seabirds
  • Learn about the marine mammals of Kaikoura and the town’s whaling industry history from your knowledgeable guide
  • Observe a fur seal colony on the shore near Kaikoura
  • Relax with an afternoon wine tasting at a North Canterbury vineyard
  • Includes pickup and drop off from centrally located Christchurch hotels

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What You Can Expect

Best Kaikoura Whale Watch Day Tour from Christchurch

Kaikoura Whale Watch Day Tour from Christchurch

Your day starts with pickup from your Christchurch hotel, then travel in a comfortable coach for about 2.5 hours to reach Kaikoura, taking a scenic road through the North Canterbury region.

In Kaikoura, meet your boat for your whale-watching tour with expert local guides. As you cruise, learn about the town, its whaling history and its natural features. Not far offshore lies the Hikurangi Trench, which creates the upwelling that attracts an abundance of marine life. If you’re lucky, you can watch the whales breach, spout and lift their huge fins and tails out of the water.

While the giant sperm whales are the stars of the show and live here year-round, you might also see New Zealand fur seals, dusky dolphins and, depending on the season, migrating humpback whales, pilot whales, blue whales and southern right whales. Kaikoura’s waters also host the world's largest dolphins—the orca–and the world's smallest and rarest—Hector’s dolphins.

On the feathered side of life, Kaikoura has the largest concentration and variety of seabirds on mainland New Zealand, with 13 species of albatross, 14 varieties of petrels and 7 types of shearwaters.

After your whale-watching cruise, take a break for a tasty lunch at a local restaurant with great views of the snow-dusted mountains of the Seaward Kaikoura Range. Have the option to include the lunch in your tour at additional cost, or to purchase your own meal.

Once you have refueled, hop back on the bus to visit a nearby New Zealand fur seal colony where you can observe the seals at close quarters. Then begin your return journey to Christchurch, stopping at a North Canterbury vineyard for a wine tasting as time allows. Your tour ends in the evening when your guide returns you to your hotel.

Customer Reviews

5 star rating: Highly Recommended March 2015

Amazing experience. We were already satisfied with watching one but we got to see two. After that, our driver took our small group to see seals and then to a lovely vinyard for wine tasting. The time we had was used efficiently and fully.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended March 2015

Great trip!

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2014

We had the most amazing day. Karen was our driver and she was great! We stopped on the way there to do some seal watching and stopped at a winery after and did some wine tasting. We did a lot of tasting in a short period of time, lol. We were most fortunate as we heard there had only been one whale sighted during tours in the prior days. Not us - we saw four!! We saw two sperm whales separate from one another and two humpbacks traveling together. As a result, we saw 2 whale tales. The whale tour crew was great as well. We traveled almost 30 nautical miles to find the sperm whales. As part of our tour we got lunch (fish and chips) which was provided by the whale tour kitchen and it was very good. All in all, a perfect day of whale watching!

5 star rating: Highly Recommended February 2014

this was my favourite trip.. it was all well organised and the guide was full of information which enhanced our experience .. nice lunch by the sea.. and got to see a whale .. excellent !!

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2013

Great tour, Great tour guide Karen! It was too windy to go out by boat so we were flying! Even though it was rough water we got to see the Sperm whale. Thank you for making it possible!

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2013

Almost guaranteed to see whales and dolphins - a must!!

Magda N

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2012

Absolutely lovely trip!

Lindsay H

5 star rating: Highly Recommended September 2011

The whale watching was phenominal, Saw at least 6 whales with little time trying to find them. The whale watch team are very professional and highly organised. The bus trip there is quite good and senic. We unfortunately had a mecahnical problem which took a little while to resolve but we had the added attraction of being driven into town by a friendly New Zealand highway patrol officer in his police car.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended August 2011


Fiona C

5 star rating: Highly Recommended February 2011

Saw two huge whales - had to go a way out though so no time to see Dolphins - great setup and well organised

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Tour code: 2950CLT08


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