5 star rating: Highly Recommended 31 Reviews

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

Kaikoura Whale Watch Day Tour from Christchurch

Experience the natural treasures of New Zealand on a Kaikoura whale-watching cruise. Look for impressive sperm whales along with migrating humpbacks and southern right whales, and search the waters for orcas and other dolphins as an experienced guide shares informative commentary. Visit a New Zealand fur seal colony on land, glimpse the snowy peaks of the Kaikoura Ranges and top off your full-day tour with a wine-tasting in North Canterbury. Includes optional lunch, with round-trip hotel transport from Christchurch to the picturesque town of Kaikoura. 


  • 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

Kaikoura Whale Watch Day Tour from Christchurch

Kaikoura Whale Watch Day Tour from Christchurch

Following hotel pickup in Christchurch, settle in for a comfortable 2.5-hour scenic drive by coach. You’ll drive through the North Canterbury region of the North Island to Kaikoura, New Zealand’s prime whale-watching locale.

Climb aboard your boat and meet expert guides who explain the town’s whaling history and point out the area’s abundant marine life throughout your Kaikoura whale-watching cruise. 

Hikurangi Trench, located not far offshore, creates an upwelling that draws the showstopper attraction — mighty sperm whales, who ply Kaikoura’s waters year-round — as well as migrating blue whales, pilot whales, humpback whales and southern right whales, depending on the season. Be prepared to watch the whales spout, breach and slap their large tails on the water. Keep an eye out for orcas as well as Hector’s dolphins, the world's smallest and rarest dolphins.

Kaikoura boasts the largest concentration and variety of seabirds on New Zealand’s mainland, including seven types of shearwaters, 13 species of albatross and 14 varieties of petrels.

Sate your appetite with lunch at a local restaurant (if option selected) or purchase your own meal. Relax with views of the imposing snow-capped peaks of the Seaward Kaikoura Range. 

Then re-board the coach to witness New Zealand fur seals at a nearby colony. Stop for wine tasting at a North Canterbury vineyard en route to Christchurch, where 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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