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.