Kaikoura
Culture & History

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Our most recommended Kaikoura Culture & History

Kaikoura: 30-Minute Whale Watching Flight

1. Kaikoura: 30-Minute Whale Watching Flight

Receive an informative briefing of the Sperm Whales and other wildlife of Kaikoura, ready for your 30-minute flight experience. Learn about its unique geology, and what you can expect to see during the flight. Spend a special half hour viewing these majestic creatures from a unique vantage point.  Head directly out over the Kaikoura Whale Sanctuary to start looking for Kaikoura's wildlife. This whale watching flight showcases the year-round whales and dolphins, as well as the stunning coastline and peninsula. Focusing on the mighty Sperm Whale, this is a once-in-a-lifetime flight to view these animals, as well as other whale and dolphin species that migrate through Kaikoura's waters.  All aircraft are high-winged, which allows each person their own window seat and optimal, unobstructed viewing and photography opportunities. Your tour finishes back at the terminal where there is a gift shop and refreshments available.

Kaikoura: 1-Hour Whale Watching Helicopter Tour

2. Kaikoura: 1-Hour Whale Watching Helicopter Tour

Spot sperm whales, dusky dolphins, and fur seals from above before making a summit landing among the towering peaks of the Seaward Kaikoura Mountain Ranges on this 1-hour helicopter tour. The adventure begins with a short safety briefing from the pilot, as well as additional information about the year-round population of sperm whales and the unique underwater Kaikoura Canyon. Next, jump in the helicopter and head out over the Whale Sanctuary and Hikurangi Marine Reserve for a chance to view the pod of sperm whales. Taking on a bird's-eye-view maximizes time viewing the wildlife while not disrupting their natural behavior. Continue along the magnificent coastline of the Kaikoura Peninsula keeping an eye out for playful dusky dolphins and New Zealand fur seals. The last stop of the day will be the towering peaks of the Seaward Kaikoura Mountain Ranges for an incredible alpine landing. Get out and walk around on rugged pristine land with breathtaking vistas of the mountains, peninsula, and ocean.

Kaikoura: 1 Hour 20 Minute Adventure Helicopter Tour

3. Kaikoura: 1 Hour 20 Minute Adventure Helicopter Tour

Begin your adventure are Kaikoura Airport where you will receive a short safety briefing from your pilot, as well as additional information about the year-round population of sperm whales and the unique underwater Kaikoura Canyon. As you head out over the Pacific Ocean you are surrounded on all sides by the gorgeous scenery of Kaikoura, with the coastal mountains as a backdrop. Slowly orbit the whales so you can see the whole animal from head to tail, minimising your impact on the animal while maximising your time and viewing. Soar back along the coastline keeping an eye out for any other animals that may be around, including the resident population of dusky dolphins and New Zealand fur seals, as well as any other whale species that may be migrating through including blue, humpback, fin, and killer whales. After completing your wildlife viewing, head for the Seaward Kaikoura Mountain Ranges. Fly along the coastline to see the impact from the magnitude 7.8 earthquake that changed the entire landscape of the coastal mountains and see the new Papatea Fault where it scars the land and runs out to sea. Fly inland along the Clarence River Valley and back up through the mountain range for a landing at the turquoise waters of the newly created Hapuku Dam Lake, which was created during the November 2016 earthquake. Enjoy the scenery as you fly back through the mountain range to land.

New Zealand North & South Island: 14-Day Tour

4. New Zealand North & South Island: 14-Day Tour

Day 1 - Auckland to Hot Water Beach Depart Auckland and head south-east to the pristine beaches of the Coromandel and the world-famous Cathedral Cove. Kayak around this stunning coastline (optional activity) and have the opportunity to visit Hot Water Beach; a unique surf beach where if you catch the tide right, you can dig a hole in the sand to create your own personal spa pool. Day 2 - Hot Water Beach to Waitomo Venture into the enchanting Karangahake Gorge nestled among the Kaimai Ranges, for a hike amongst the walkways and old mining tunnels. Next, head over to Waitomo for a magical tour of the world-famous glow-worm caves. You will also have the opportunity to experience a Black Water Rafting trip. Day 3 - Waitomo to Rotorua Start the day with a walk through the Ruakuri Reserve. Pass through The Shire of Hobbiton where you’ll have the opportunity to discover the Hobbiton Movie Set (optional activity) before rolling on through to Rotorua; a mystical land of bubbling mud pools, rocketing geysers, and natural hot springs. Optional activities are luging down the SkyLine, White Water Rafting, Hells Gate, Mountain biking through the Redwoods, Zorb, Wai-o-tapu, Polynesian Spa, or National Kiwi Hatchery. Day 4 - Rotorua free day and Tamaki Maori Village Explore the geothermal reserve of Te Puia, with New Zealand’s largest geyser, and a chance to see a real live Kiwi bird. Visit the Tamaki Māori Village and be immersed in the traditions and cultural values of the Māori people. Participate in a pōwhiri (welcoming ceremony), learn about the history of the marae (village) and the Rotorua-area from a local Māori guide before feasting on some top kai food from the hāngi pit. Gather around a blazing bonfire and enjoy listening to Māori myths and legends before relaxing in a private forest spa pool and retiring for the night in a traditional carved whare moe (sleeping house). Day 5 - Tamaki Maori Village to Taupo Day 6 - Taupo free day Day 7 - Taupo to Wellington Day 8 - Wellington to Kaikoura Day 9 - Kaikoura to Christchurch Day 10 - Christchurch to Lake Tekapo Day 11 - Lake Tekapo to Wanaka via Mount Cook Day 12 - Wanaka to Queenstown Day 13 - Queenstown free day Day 14 - Queenstown to Glenorchy day trip

From Wellington: 7-Day South Island Tour with Wine Tasting

5. From Wellington: 7-Day South Island Tour with Wine Tasting

Unlock the beauty of the South Island with the convenience of a multi-day guided tour. All activities are included unless states otherwise. Day 1 - Wellington to Kaikoura Kick off the adventure with one of the most beautiful inter-island crossings in the world, the Cook Straight. Arrive at the top of the South Island and journey through the Marlborough region, home to endless rolling vineyards. Stop for a tasting along the way to sample some local Kiwi cuisine. Day 2 - Kaikoura to Christchurch Choose between a lie-in, or, for the more adventurous, an ocean excursion (extra cost) to try your luck spotting dolphins, whales, albatrosses, and more. Around mid-morning, head up the Kaikoura Peninsula to walk among a large seal colony. Next up is the diverse city of Christchurch. Here, take a walking tour of the city to learn about its street art, see the blooming botanical gardens, and learn about the city's recent history. Day 3 - Christchurch to Lake Tekapo Hit the road and cruise into Mackenzie Country, home to Lake Tekapo. Visit the stone Church of the Good Shepherd and admire Lake Tekapo's blue waters framed with colorful lupins. As night falls, visit the Dark Sky Project to learn about the importance of preserving dark skies and take a peek at all that lies above. Day 4 - Lake Tekapo to Wanaka via Mount Cook Cruise past Lake Pukaki (you'll know how it got its nickname The Powerade Factory when you see it) and head for Mount Cook village. Take some scenic hikes in the National Park with stops to soak up the mountain views. Here choose to view the Tasman Glacier by helicopter or take a scenic flight through the Mt. Cook National Park. From mid-morning, continue to traverse through the National Park through Lindis Pass and on to Wanaka. Day 5 - Wanaka to Queenstown Have the morning to hike Wanaka's famous Roys Peak, snap "That Wanaka Tree," or climb Mount Iron. For the more daring in the group, there’s the option to experience a via Ferrata Wild Wire or hit up the lakeside trails on a mountain bike. Later, sit back and relax on the bus while viewing the scenery of the Crown ranges on the way to the adrenaline-fuelled Queenstown. End the day with a trip up the Gondola for a dinner overlooking Queenstown. Day 6 - Queenstown free dayTake a day to explore the city with lunch and activities on your own. Day 7 - Queenstown to Glenorchy Day Trip Head out into the heartlands of Otago to the picturesque town of Glenorchy to experience a scenic landscape.

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What people are saying about Kaikoura

We thought that Peter did an excellent job introducing us to whale spotting, watching and took time to explain whale habits, their environment and put us in good positions to take photos. We enjoyed the explanations around earthquakes and road restoration works and it was quite spectacular to land & stop for a very cold but spectacular photo on the top of Mt Fyfe. I wonder if pilots or ground crew have any particular tips to offer relating to photographing with telephoto lenses. Maybe high shutter speeds, Tv, auto ISO. The photos we took where good and reasonably in close but not as sharp as I hoped for. Pretty tricky with moving chopper, sea and whale I guess. Overall 10 out of 10. Thank you. Very memorable!

It was a fantastic tour with the pilot - sorry forgot his name. He is very good at flying and very friendly. We saw the huge whale, which is approximately the same length with the 23m boat, and heaps of dusk dolphins, and the pilot knew the whale so well and counted-down the exact time when it dived into deep water with iconic tail. The pilot also flew us to see the Kaikoura Earth-Quake fault-line, landslide and even the barrier lake. Really enjoy it. Thanks.

We were told no whales were to be seen and offered a full refund if required. We decided to fly anyway. Our pilot Mike found an orca for us but no other whales so he gave us an amazing flight over the snow capped mountains, it was amazing we had so much fun

Absolutely wonderful. Didn't see whales though not thru lack of trying! Amazing pod of dolphins! Such lovely people, loved every minute!

very friendly and professional team giving us an incredible sightseeing experience