Kaikoura Whale Watch Day Tour from Christchurch

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Kaikoura Whale Watch Day Tour from Christchurch
from AUD $355.40
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.
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In Brief

Christchurch, New Zealand
New Zealand
11 hours


Important InfoInfo
This is a typical itinerary for this product

Stop At: Kaikoura, Kaikoura, Canterbury Region, South Island

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.


  • Air-conditioned vehicle
  • Live commentary on board
  • Whale watching tour by boat
  • Lunch (if option is selected)
  • Fur seal colony viewing
  • North Canterbury vineyard visit and wine tasting


  • Gratuities

Departure Time

8:00 AM

Departure Point

Cathedral Square, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch 8011, New Zealand

Traveler pickup is offered
We pickup from most Hotel's, Motels & Backpackers in Christchurch, If you are staying elsewhere we will suggest a suitable pickup place.

Returns To

Returns to original departure point

Additional Information

  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Minimum numbers apply. There is a possibility of cancellation after confirmation, if there are not enough passengers to meet requirements. In the event of this occurring, you will be offered an alternative or full refund.
  • Please note, infants under 3 years of age may not join the cruises but may travel on the light aircraft tours
  • Once the tour has commenced only the unused portion of the tour will be refunded should the boats not sail or the planes not fly.
  • If due to whale sightings or weather conditions the boat offers a partial refund, this refund will be passed on to our customers.
  • If whale watch is undertaken by light aircraft and no whales are seen, no refund applies.
  • A decision is made at 6:30am each day, based on local weather conditions, as to whether the tour will depart Christchurch or be canceled. If the tour is canceled, clients are notified by 7:15am and no cancellation fees are charged. If the tour travels to Kaikoura and the whale watch cruises are canceled, whale watch plane tours are offered as an alternative. If clients do not wish to fly, or the plane tours are also canceled, a cash refund of NZD 120.00 per adult is given. Refund is issued on the day of the tour by the tour operator in Christchurch.
  • As the wineries close at 5pm daily and on selected public holidays, a stop may not be possible. On these occasions no refund is applicable.
  • Currently, the tour cost has been discounted by $15.00 per a person. Due to road conditions following the Kaikoura earthquake in 2016 it may not be possible on all occasions to include a winery due to the wineries closing times.
  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund
  • This experience requires a minimum number of travelers. If it’s canceled because the minimum isn’t met, you’ll be offered a different date/experience or a full refund

Booking Information

You can present either a paper or an electronic voucher for this activity.

Cancellation Terms

Once booked, this trip is fully non-refundable

Booking Terms and Conditions

When you book this trip, you need to read and accept the terms and conditions for booking our day trips in excursions.

Hotel Pickup

When you book, we will ask you to select a hotel to be picked up from. Once your booking is confirmed, we'll send you a confirmation voucher with full contact information (phone number, email address) for our local operator in case you need to update or change your hotel pick-up details.

Here are answers to some commonly asked questions about hotel pickup:

What if my hotel is not listed?
That's okay. When you book you can select an hotel from our list and make your way there on the day of departure; or you can contact our local operator directly to make alternate pick-up arrangements.

What if I have not yet booked a hotel?
Once your hotel arrangements are finalised, you can contact our local operator directly with your hotel details.

What if I live locally, am staying with friends or relatives, and/or don't require pick-up?
Once your booking is confirmed, we'll send you complete details and directions to the tour/activity departure point.

Scoring an average traveller rating of 5 out of 5 based on the last 24 recent reviews

What an exciting day with breath taking whale sightings!
• Submitted 23 Mar 2018
We had a great day. We were very fortunate with the weather and we managed to see four sperm whales, albatross and lots of dusky dolphins. Our driver Sue was wonderful, helpful and informative. Our advice: do not book the lunch. It was extremely rushed compared to our wonderful lunch at Akaroa.
• Submitted 15 Mar 2018
OMG! We saw two sperm whales surface very close up and saw them dive back down. Watching that tail wave to you as they disappeared was amazing. Dolphins as well so it couldn't have been any more thrilling. The downside is that I was seasick but who cares. I would not have missed it for anything. Fish and chip lunch was really good too.
• Submitted 18 Mar 2016
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.
• Submitted 03 Mar 2015
Great trip!
• Submitted 03 Mar 2015
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!
• Submitted 04 Nov 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 !!
• Submitted 03 Feb 2014
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!
• Submitted 11 Jun 2013
Almost guaranteed to see whales and dolphins - a must!!
• Submitted 07 Jan 2013
Absolutely lovely trip!
• Submitted 26 Nov 2012
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.
• Submitted 03 Sep 2011
• Submitted 07 Aug 2011
Saw two huge whales - had to go a way out though so no time to see Dolphins - great setup and well organised
• Submitted 15 Feb 2011
fantastic trip,highly recommend it.kaikoura is beautiful and the whale watching is amazing
• Submitted 20 Jan 2011
This was an absolutely fantastic tour!! Highly recommend if you have some free time in Christchurch to go and spend the day up at Kaikoura with the whales, seals and dolphins. Also recommend to choose the lunch option. It made things so much easier and the food was lovely.
• Submitted 01 Feb 2011
it's a must! but you might consider doing it if u have seasick as the normal sea conditions are waves 1-2m high,
• Submitted 14 Jun 2010
Not to be missed. As there is a 'resident' Sperm Whale in the bay. It is almost certain that you will see it surface blow and dive. Also the sight of the Albatross is memorable. pick - up and Guide very good. All done professionally.
• Submitted 27 May 2010
The trip did all it stated and luckily the weather changed as we were out on the sea so although cut short we saw a sperm whale and 100s of dolphins.
• Submitted 27 May 2010
Everything and more than expected from the trip. Inspiring.
• Submitted 27 May 2010
This was well worth doing! We had an exceptional day with pods of Killer Whales all around the boat and a massive pod of dolphins, as well as the expected Sperm whale. No trip will be the same and it's pretty exciting being on deck not knowing what's going to appear from the depths. We were told we had an exceptional day but I'm certainly going to do it every time I return to New Zealand. Our driver for the day was excellent and got on with everybody, doing his utmost to make the day as memorable as possible.
• Submitted 07 Feb 2010
This was a great day trip. Great scenery around Kaikoura. Not to mention five sperm whale sightings. Very professional operation. Go do it!!!
• Submitted 28 Jan 2010
The trip was cancelled on the day we booked due to bad weather but we were asked if we wanted to go the following day and there was no hassle arranging this. The trip was well organised and definitely the highlight of the holiday. It was quite moving to be so close to a whale. We also saw an albatross, dolphins, petrels and seals.
• Submitted 27 May 2010
Amazing! Our guide knew a lot about the area and its cultural background. The boat caught sight of a whale and we were off!
• Submitted 06 Dec 2009
Fantastic day out, the driver/guide was excellent, the team on the boat looked after us well and the food for lunch was delicious. And I got to see a sperm whale, perfect!
• Submitted 25 Mar 2009

In Brief

Christchurch, New Zealand
New Zealand
11 hours