Now New Zealand is opening up with the rest of the world we can start planning some amazing itineraries to see the beauty of these beautiful island and it’s stunning wildlife.
Seeing the whales in New Zealand has to be one of the highlights and here are the best places to see whales on your wildlife escape:
Kaikoura is one of the few places on earth where you can see giant sperm whales. Plus, in this part of New Zealand you can see them all year round. Not only can you view the whales by boat, but you can hop on a plane and get a unique view of them from the sky. On a whale-watching encounter in Kaikoura, you are very likely to see other sea life, such as fur seals and dolphins. All of which are attracted to the continental shelf close to the land known as the Kaikoura Canyon. Kaikoura is also a great overnight stop on the tranz-coastal train when you travel from Picton down to Christchurch and if you have time stay an extra night!
Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf
Search for whales straight from the city of Auckland. Orcas are known to be regular visitors into the Auckland Harbour itself, making the Hauraki Gulf, the body of water on the east coast of Auckland, a great place to start searching for our flippered friends. Bryde’s whales and common dolphins are the usual species seen on the Auckland Whale and Dolphin Safari, although you may see four or five different species on one trip. The probability of seeing a whale on an Auckland whale-watching cruise is pretty high.
Bay of Islands
Although there are no tours dedicated to whale watching in the Bay of Islands, whales are frequent visitors to the bay. Keep an eye out for orca and Bryde’s whales, most often seen between May and July, when on a boat or kayaking trip out in the bay. It is also possible to see long-finned pilot whales, humpback whales and even blue whales. Your best chance to see whales is from one of the Bay of Islands cruises.
Marlborough Sounds (Picton)
Situated along a migratory route in between the North and South Island, it’s no surprise that the Marlborough Sounds has its fair share of marine mammals. Back in the day, Marlborough Sounds was a hub for whaling but today, thankfully, all that has changed to viewing the whales from a safe distance You are most likely to spot baleen whales in June/July when they migrate through the Cook Strait, as well as the odd sighting of orcas in Marlborough Sounds. Although not solely dedicated to whale watching (their focus is more on dolphin swimming).
Take a cruise from Whakatane to the aptly named Whale Island/Moutohorā or around the active marine volcano White Island for multiple wildlife encounters. The ocean around White Island is a hugely popular diving spot and with that a great attraction for marine mammals. Spot whales and dolphins on boat tours departing from Whakatane. Otherwise, orca whales, minke whales and pilot whales can sometimes be seen from the shoreline.
Book with wildlife escapes today and turn your whale watching dreams into a reality.