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This Kaikoura whale watching excursion travels from Christchurch through the rolling hills of North Canterbury by coach, with return transport by Coastal Pacific railway. During your Kaikoura cruise you’ll get up close to a variety of marine mammals including giant sperm whales and acrobatic dusky dolphins. Enjoy an optional lunch and visit a New Zealand fur seal colony before your scenic train journey back to Christchurch.


  • Take a scenic Coastal Pacific Train journey from Kaikoura to Christchurch
  • Join a whale watching tour in Kaikoura and see giant sperm whales, dolphins and seals
  • Visit a fur seal colony
  • Enjoy an optional lunch at a local restaurant
  • Local guide
  • Plenty of photo opportunities
  • Hotel pickup and drop off from centrally located Christchurch hotels

What You Can Expect

Kaikoura Whale Watch Tour from Christchurch including Coastal Pacific Train Journey

Kaikoura Whale Watch Tour including TranzCoastal Train from Christchurch to Kaikoura

Spend the day getting close to nature on this Kaikoura whale watching tour from Christchurch. After hotel pickup, the approximate 3-hour journey by coach takes you through the pastoral scenes of North Canterbury to Kaikoura, a renowned whale-watching destination where forest-clad mountains meet the sea.

On arrival, you’re transferred to the cruise boat. Listen to lively commentary on board as you search the waters for the giant sperm whale and other whale species. Be on the lookout, too, for dusky dolphins, New Zealand fur seals and the southern royal albatross.

Follow up your whale-watching expedition with lunch at the Craypot Cafe and Bar (if option selected). In the afternoon, your guide takes you to visit a fur seal colony where the marine mammals may be viewed at close quarters.

You’ll return to Christchurch by rail aboard the Coastal Pacific, considered one of New Zealand’s most scenic train journeys. From the comfort of your train carriage, take in the South Island’s rugged eastern coastline. Upon reaching your destination, you’re transferred to your hotel.

Customer Reviews

Aaron S

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2016

Everything went well, Hank, our personal driver, was there punctually in the morning, to pick us up. We had a nice ride north to Kaikoura. The whale watching was great, although a lot of people got seasick. We saw lots of birds and two, almost three sperm whales!
The train ride back to Christchurch was comfy, we were very tired though because of the jetlag, so we slept most of the ride home.


5 star rating: Highly Recommended March 2015

It was good trip but the wave was too high and I got sea sickness.
I did not enjoy it that much.
If you are planning to go take sea sickness tablet .
We did not manage to see the whale and we get partial refund.
Boat stuff was very good and very helpful.
The boat was nice.
It was great adventur


5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2011

Wonderful day & extremely well managed by the tour company when everything went south. Everyone was accommodated and nothing was lost. I cannot say enough for the tour company personnel and the way they handled everything...especially the driver, Chris. DON'T MISS THIS ONE!!!

Lesley S United Kingdom

5 star rating: Highly Recommended March 2010

We only had a short stay in NZ so wanted to see as much as we could. Guide on bus was very informative, the whale watch was good - professional, good safety briefing and equipment and we saw whales and dolphins. The train trip back enabled us to see more of the countryside. Pickups from hotel were good. Best to do 1 way coach and 1 way train.

Joerg L

4 star rating: Recommended April 2012

Very interesting and fascinating trip!

June S Australia

4 star rating: Recommended November 2008

Itinerary different to that printed so rather a "mystery trip". Coach travel very pleasant with excellent driver. Whale watching boat trip exceeded 5 stars. Would have loved more time at winery.

Patricia R Australia

4 star rating: Recommended November 2008

The care by our tour director/bus driver was excellent. We loved our trip to Kaikoura by bus and the morning tea/loo stop. Our meal at Kaikoura was 5 star and we really enjoyed the day. here was only one thing that let the day down a bit. his was nothing to do with the company or TranzScenic railway. The attitude of some of the staff of the "WhaleWatch" crew at Kaikoura left a little to be desired. .I think they just need to improve on their inter-personal and customer service skills. My mother said "good morning" to two of the crew and had absolutely no response and they were a little rude. Other than that, I would definitely recommend Viator to anyone and will use Viator again. Thank you.


4 star rating: Recommended November 2008

Train component was cancelled due to track damage, and we didn't see any whales despite substituting airplane for boat. But scenery was wonderful and tour guide was entertaining, despite driving too fast. Also, I thought it was a mistake for him to meet us on main street of Kaikoura instead of picking us up where we had lunch.

Robert L USA

3 star rating: Worth doing May 2012

This was OK. The whale watching itself was amazing and we got to see Kaiko for a long time. The guide was nice but the wait between whale watching and the train back home was long (2.5 hours) without anything to do.

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