We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Kaikoura Whale Watch Day Tour from Christchurch

Select Date and Travellers
2 travellers
    What to Expect
    Following hotel pickup in Christchurch, settle in for a comfortable 2.5-hour scenic drive by coach. You’ll drive through the North Canterbury region of the North Island to Kaikoura, New Zealand’s prime whale-watching locale.

    Climb aboard your boat and meet expert guides who explain the town’s whaling history and point out the area’s abundant marine life throughout your Kaikoura whale-watching cruise. 

    Hikurangi Trench, located not far offshore, creates an upwelling that draws the showstopper attraction — mighty sperm whales, who ply Kaikoura’s waters year-round — as well as migrating blue whales, pilot whales, humpback whales and southern right whales, depending on the season. Be prepared to watch the whales spout, breach and slap their large tails on the water. Keep an eye out for orcas as well as Hector’s dolphins, the world's smallest and rarest dolphins.

    Kaikoura boasts the largest concentration and variety of seabirds on New Zealand’s mainland, including seven types of shearwaters, 13 species of albatross and 14 varieties of petrels.

    Sate your appetite with lunch at a local restaurant (if option selected) or purchase your own meal. Relax with views of the imposing snow-capped peaks of the Seaward Kaikoura Range. 

    Then re-board the coach to witness New Zealand fur seals at a nearby colony. Stop for wine tasting at a North Canterbury vineyard en route to Christchurch, where your tour ends in the evening when your guide returns you to your hotel.
    Show More
    Important Information
    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.
    Departure Time
    8:00 AM
    Return Details
    Returns to original departure point
    • 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
    Show More
    Additional Info
    • 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
    Cancellation Policy
    If you cancel at least 7 days in advance of the scheduled departure, there is no cancellation fee. If you cancel between 3 and 6 day(s) in advance of the scheduled departure, there is a 50 percent cancellation fee. If you cancel within 2 days of the scheduled departure, there is a 100 percent cancellation fee.
    Reviews (49)
    Filter reviews
    11 results
    Traveller rating
    Traveller type
    Time of year
    Traveller rating
    Show reviews that mention
    All reviews seal colony sperm whales pod winery kaikoura
    Selected filters
    Updating list...
    1 - 5 of 11 reviews
    Reviewed 6 September 2019

    The tour was marketed to us as whales + wine tour. When we asked the tour guide why we didn't get to a winery he said that they hadn't done that for 3 years. When we asked the tour company afterwards they said that the...More

    Date of experience: August 2019
    Thank Colin B
    Canterburyleisure, Manager at Leisure Tours, responded to this reviewResponded 13 September 2019

    We received a complaint via email from this group a few weeks back and fully investigated this matter. We explained to them that this tour was never marketed as a 'Whale Watch + Wine Tour' and never has been. The winery visit on the way...More

    Reviewed 21 March 2019

    We just wanted to say thank you to Jeanine for taking us from Christchurch to Kaikoura on 7th February 2019 for the whale watching tour. We were lucky enough to see a sperm whale and a pod of pilot whales on this trip. Jeanine was...More

    Date of experience: February 2019
    Thank MandLLLL
    Canterburyleisure, Digital Marketing Manager at Leisure Tours, responded to this reviewResponded 24 March 2019

    Thank you for the positive review. I'm glad to hear that you had a great time on the Whale Watch boat. Pilot Whales are not very frequent visitors to the Kaikoura peninsula (they tend to come through Kaikoura about once or twice a month) so...More

    Reviewed 4 March 2019

    Not impressed overall. The driver Rob, was good .informative and knowledgeable However what was advertised and what we got differed just a bit Advert offered a fully air conditioned coach. What we got was a squishy mini bus, where a 2 seater was barely big...More

    Date of experience: March 2019
    Thank CassandraBlackSun
    Canterburyleisure, Manager at Leisure Tours, responded to this reviewResponded 18 March 2019

    Thank you for taking the time to submit your review, these reviews are important to us to ensure we meet and where possible exceed our customers expectations. Your comments with regard to the vehicle have come as something of a surprise. You travelled in one...More

    Reviewed 27 January 2019 via mobile

    Excellent Trip.Well organised and the knowledge of Janet was phenomenal . She made the whole trip interesting. Definitely 10/10More

    Thank FrequentFlier538673
    Canterburyleisure, Digital Marketing Manager at Leisure Tours, responded to this reviewResponded 28 January 2019

    Thanks for such a positive review. It's great to hear that you had a great day with us in Kaikoura and that your guide, Janet, ensured that your day was both interesting and memorable. We'll be sure to pass on your positive feedback to her....More

    Reviewed 27 December 2018

    No trip for us because these guys were honest. No whale noise detected in the bay, the whales are not there to see, trips are cancelled. Many places say that's the nature of nature, sometimes it doesn't show. Here, if it's definitely not to be...More

    Date of experience: October 2018
    Thank readysteadyteddy
    Canterburyleisure, Digital Marketing Manager at Leisure Tours, responded to this reviewResponded 27 December 2018

    Thanks for your honest review. Yes, occasionally Whale Watch may have to cancel boat tours due to inclement weather, poor sea conditions, etc. We are always honest with our customers and will offer alternatives or a partial refund where available if activities are cancelled. And...More

    View more reviews
    Questions & Answers
    Get quick answers from Kaikoura Whale Watch Day Tour from Christchurch staff and past visitors.
    Note: your question will be posted publicly on the Questions & Answers page.
    Posting guidelines
    Key Details
    • Leisure Tours
    • Duration: 11h
    • Mobile Ticket Accepted
    • Instant confirmation
    • Hotel Pickup
    • Languages Offered: English
    Why Book on TripAdvisor?
    • Free Cancellation up to 7 days in advance
    • Low Price Guarantee
    • No Booking Fees
    • Secure Payments
    • 24/7 SupportCall: +44 12 2492 8241