The Best Seal, Dolphin and Whale Tours in Kaikoura
Kaikoura is the marine mammal mecca in New Zealand so if you have any interest in marine life, then you need to stop by. Choosing what wildlife tours to do in Kaikoura brings its own challenges; they are all epic! To help you narrow your options, we’ve picked five top wildlife activities in Kaikoura.
You’re bound to have a blast on any of the wildlife tours in Kaikoura listed below. The majority of the time, the wildlife plays ball and you’re very likely to get a chance to see whales, dolphins, seals and seabirds up-close in their natural environment. However, they are wild animals, so if your trip is unsuccessful then there’s usually an option to join another trip free of charge.
But watching wildlife isn’t the only experience in Kaikoura. For more things to do, check out the 20 Best Things to Do in Kaikoura. Now let’s get into the top Kaikoura nature tours.
1. Whale Watching Cruise
Get out on the ocean and look out for Kaikoura’s locals; sperm whales. Not only is a cruise one of the most popular ways to see whales in Kaikoura, but your expert whale watching guides have all the right tools to find their location. While a highlight of any whale cruise is seeing a whale fluke rising into the air as it dives, there are also opportunities to see all kinds of wildlife. Tours will stop for photos of dolphins, albatrosses, penguins and anything else of interest. For more places to see whales, check out the 5 Best Places to Spot Whales in New Zealand.
2. Whale Watching Fixed-Wing Flights
Take the skies and get a unique perspective of sperm whales from above! Vastly underrated but definitely worth considering, especially when fixed-wing whale watching flights are cheaper than a cruise, flights give you the opportunity to see the whole length of the whale swimming on the surface. The scenic views of Kaikoura from above are just a bonus. As a bonus, whale watching flights are a good way to avoid seasickness.
3. Whale Watching Helicopter Flights
If the first two points weren’t enough, another way to see Kaikoura’s famous sperm whales, as well as huge pods of dolphins, is on a whale watching helicopter flight. Enjoy the manoeuvrability and epic feeling of flying over the whales by helicopter, with some tours also incorporating mountain landings. Discover more upscale experiences in the 7 Luxury Experiences in Kaikoura.
4. Swimming with Dolphins
Kaikoura’s most common dolphins are the dusky dolphins. This species is known for being playful and even acrobatic so getting in the water with them is a fun and memorable experience. Dusky dolphins are abundant off the coast of Kaikoura meaning you could be swimming with pods of hundreds of dolphins! Need more dolphins in your life? Check out the 5 Best Places to Swim with Dolphins in New Zealand.
Book your dolphin swimming cruise with Dolphin Encounter.
5. Albatross Cruise
Marine mammals take all the glory in Kaikoura, but Kaikoura is also home to some fascinating seabirds, such as the albatross! Albatross boat tours give you the opportunity to get up close to these giant seabirds and see how big these creatures really are. You’ll see many birds out on the waters, as well as have the opportunity to stop for dolphins if there’s the opportunity to.
Book your albatross cruise with Albatross Encounter.
6. Seal Kayaking
Seals are at their most playful when they are in the water, so join them in their element on a seal kayaking tour! One of the most affordable wildlife experiences in Kaikoura, kayaking with seals is easy and fun for all experience levels, even beginners and families. Paddle past seal colonies, where it’s common for these creatures to approach you in the water, and look out for dolphins, penguins and more.
7. Scuba Diving
Finally, nothing gets you closer to the action than scuba diving. Observe the underwater wildlife of Kaikoura that very few get to experience, whether you’re a newbie or are a fully certified diver. While it’s unlikely that you’ll encounter a whale while diving, you may be lucky to swim with dolphins, while it’s common to spot seals, stingrays, octopuses, sharks, nudibranchs and lots and lots of fish! See how diving in Kaikoura compares to the 10 Best Places to Scuba Dive in New Zealand.
Book your scuba diving tour with Daves’ Diving.
Swimming with Seals [CLOSED]
One of the surprising and more affordable wildlife activities in Kaikoura is swimming with seals. On land, seals are not all that fond of humans being near them. In the water, it’s a different story! Join them in their element with a seal swimming tour in Kaikoura where you will get to put on a mask, snorkel and wetsuit and jump into the water surrounding a seal colony. New Zealand fur seals are often very curious and even playful.
More About Wildlife and Kaikoura
That’s it for the best wildlife tours in Kaikoura. Now plan the rest of your trip to Kaikoura with the following guides:
- 15 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Kaikoura
- 10 Things to Do in Kaikoura with Kids
- 10 Romantic Things to Do in Kaikoura
- 7 Luxury Experiences in Kaikoura
- 20 Best Things to Do in Kaikoura
Finally, find out everything you need to know about New Zealand crayfish town in The Complete Travel Guide to Kaikoura.