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Whale Watching in Kaikoura by Boat

Kaikoura, New Zealand

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Free Cancellation
up to 24 hours in advance
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icon3 hours 30 minutes  (Approx.)
Mobile ticket
iconOffered in: English
Good for avoiding crowds


Located on the eastern shores of New Zealand’s South Island, Kaikoura is famous for the spectacular array of marine wildlife living off its shores—but to see the best of it, you have to take to the waves. On this tour, cruise into Kaikoura’s deep waters by speedy catamaran with running commentary throughout from your guide, and spot dolphins, seals, and sperm whales in their natural habitat.
  • Explore the deep waters off Kaikoura by speedy catamaran with your guide
  • Sightings of native sperm whales in their natural environment
  • Live commentary sheds light on the whales’ habits and life-cycle
  • 80% refund if you don’t see a whale on your tour
Saved to wishlist!
Tours operates all year round
Modern fleet of purpose built catamarans
95% success rate backed up by an 80% refund if your tour does not see a whale
Experienced knowledgeable staff providing a running commentary throughout your tour
Award winning onboard animations
Bus ride to and from our marina
Food and drinks

Departure Point

Whaleway Station Road, Kaikoura 7300, New Zealand

Return Details

Returns to original departure point
  • Confirmation will be received within 48 hours of booking, subject to availability
  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Tours operate all year: 7.15am, 10.00am, 12.45pm & 3.30pm (Nov-Mar)—Please note that these are check-in times only - please do not come earlier than the times specified.
  • The minimum age limit for children traveling on a whale watch tour is 3yrs+, although Whale Watch Kaikōura maintains the right to raise the age limit depending on sea and weather conditions at the time of check-in.
  • All our tour are subject to favourable weather & sea conditions. If cancelled due to poor weather, you will be given the option of an alternative date or full refund.
  • Whale Watch staff constantly monitor the weather and respond professionally to any changes. This may mean a tour is cancelled or safety restrictions placed on children or passengers with medical problems. Passenger comfort and safety is always our priority. Passengers travelling to join us on the day of their tour are strongly advised to telephone the FREEPHONE number 0800 655 121 for a sea conditions update.
  • Dress warmly and wear flat shoes. If you wish to spend time on the outside decks of our vessels you may need light waterproof clothing depending on the sea conditions.
  • Don't let sea sickness ruin your whale watch tour experience. Purchase motion sickness pills to help prevent sea sickness, car sickness, or any type of travel sickness from our Retail Store before you travel.
  • The actual time on the water is up to 2.5 hours. Including check-in time, safety briefing and bus transfers you should allow 3.5 hours in total.
  • Stroller accessible
  • Near public transportation
  • Transportation is wheelchair accessible
  • Surfaces are wheelchair accessible
  • Most travelers can participate
  • If travelling in a wheelchair please contact us prior to arrival so we can provide additional details and advise how we can assist you
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 48 travelers
  • OPERATED BY Whale Watch Kaikoura Ltd

For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.

  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund.

Learn more about cancellations.

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What is the maximum group size during Whale Watching in Kaikoura by Boat?
This activity will have a maximum of 48 travelers.

See all safety measures taken by Whale Watching in Kaikoura by Boat.

Traveler Tips

  • "This was not the case as you are required to be seated the whole time the boat is moving and there is really nothing to see but water!" See review


2,257 Reviews
Reviews by Viator travelers
Showing 1-10 of 2,257 reviews
Kaikoura at it's best
, Sep 2020
What a fantastic experience. The crew were great. Informative entertaining and commentary. The only disappointing aspect was the receptionist at the booking office on our arrival. She was very surly. Highly recommended experience.
Bucket List
, Sep 2020
We had an excellent day. The sea was calm and the sun was shining. We only got to see one whale but it was wonderful and all the dolphins were amazing
Whale watching March 9th
, Apr 2020
We had a brilliant time we also saw dolphins seals albatross and 2 whales the commentary and knowledge was excellent would recommend a worthy purchase
Lovely experience!
, Mar 2020
2 sperm whales, an amazing amount of dolphins happily swimming and bouncing in the air, and seals soaking up sun on rock ledges. Be sure to take sea sickness meds before you go.
The boat crew were amazing. Knowledgeable and friendly.
, Mar 2020
Amazing staff. Helpful and friendly. I highly recommend to all travellers wanting to experience true NZ hospitality
paying passenger
, Mar 2020
This was unfortunately the low point of an otherwise great cruising vacation. The day before for this activity was cancelled due to rough seas, and should have been on the day we went. The seas were very rough and I got motion sickness early and threw up for about 1.5 hours and was just miserable. In over 2 hours we only saw one whale for a few minutes, and you could barely just see it's back only, so not worth the money or being totally uncomfortable. They did not want to lose money by cancelling 2 days in a row so they had the tour anyway. I wish I could get a refund or future voucher from Viator. I would appreciate a reply on this.
A boat trip not to miss !!
, Mar 2020
A very well organised boat trip. The commentary on board was informative and we were given every opportunity to photograph the whales, dolphins and even the blue shark that was spotted very close to the boat. All the crew were very helpful. Would definitely recommend this trip.
Whale watch
, Mar 2020
Saw two sperm whales for about 5 and 3 minutes respectively in a trip of 2 hours 20 minutes. It took 50 minutes to travel out and back leaving 40 minutes trying to find whales. I know they are wild animals but for the price there are better things to do like swim with dolphins which was much more exciting and rewarding. And lasted longer.
3 whales
, Mar 2020
Amazing tour. Very knowledgeable and friendly staff. Comfortable seating. Well worth the trip. Would go again.
Highly recommended
, Mar 2020
Unfortunately our cruise was cancelled cos of bad weather but rescheduled for the following day. However sadly we had no luck spotting whales so the company is issuing full refunds. Good PR🙂. Highly recommend Wjale Watch Kaikoura. On board crew were great with special shout out for the witty and knowledgeable narrator. I'll definitely go back with fingers crossed that I'll see some whales.

Product code: 66962P1

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