Whale Watching
Flights in Kaikōura

Definitely one of the best whale watching spots in Aotearoa New Zealand, but Kaikōura is also recognized internationally as one of the only spots in the world where you can easily see sperm whales from tip to tail.

Kaikōura’s rich marine wildlife also gets seasonal visitors, like Orca and Humpback whales, Blue and Finn whales as well as Southern Right and Pilot whales, delivering an amazing spectacle that is not to be missed.

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Our helicopter whale watching tours do not only provide excellent and unmatched views of the ocean’s giants but also give you the great opportunity to learn and discover more about the animal’s behaviour. Observe the water creatures from above and understand their feeding, diving, and breathing patterns as well as their speed, strength, and swimming manoeuvres.

Due to the special underwater geography of the area with a large upwelling and mixing of both warm and cold currents, Kaikōura’s ocean produces an abundance of feeding opportunities for its whale residency, making it the perfect habitat for breeding and living.

Marine life

Learn more about the marine wildlife that you will discover on your whale watching flight with us! 


Humpback Whale

The humpback whale is a species of baleen whale. It is one of the larger rorqual species, with adults ranging in length from 12–16 m and weighing around 25–30 t. The humpback has a distinctive body shape, with long pectoral fins and a knobbly head. 

  • Mass: 25,000 – 30,000 kg
  • Lifespan: 45 – 50 years
  • Conservation status: Least Concern (Population increasing)
  • Scientific name: Megaptera novaeangliae
  • Gestation period: 11 months Encyclopedia of Life
  • Order: Artiodactyla
Wings Over Whales Sperm Whale

Sperm Whale

The sperm whale or cachalot is the largest of the toothed whales and the largest toothed predator. It is the only living member of the genus Physeter and one of three extant species in the sperm whale family, along with the pygmy sperm whale and dwarf sperm whale of the genus Kogia. 

  • Conservation status: Vulnerable 
  • Length: 16 m (Adult)
  • Species: P. macrocephalus
  • Class: Mammalia
  • Order: Artiodactyla
  • Family: Physeteridae
  • Mass: 41,000 kg (Adult), 14,000 kg (Adult)
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Southern Right Whale

The southern right whale is a baleen whale, one of three species classified as right whales belonging to the genus Eubalaena. Southern right whales inhabit oceans south of the Equator, between the latitudes of 20° and 60° south. In 2009 the global population was estimated to be approximately 13,600. 

  • Scientific name: Eubalaena australis
  • Conservation status: Least Concern (Population increasing) Encyclopedia of Life
  • Mass: 23,000 kg (Adult) Encyclopedia of Life
  • Order: Artiodactyla
  • Family: Balaenidae
  • Phylum: Chordata
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Blue Whale

The blue whale is a marine mammal belonging to the baleen whale parvorder Mysticeti. Reaching a maximum confirmed length of 29.9 metres and weighing up to 199 tonnes, it is the largest animal known to have ever existed. 

  • Mass: 130,000 – 150,000 kg (Adult)
  • Lifespan: 80 – 90 years (In the wild, Estimated)
  • Gestation period: 10 – 12 months
  • Conservation status: Endangered (Population increasing) Encyclopedia of Life
  • Species: B. musculus
  • Class: Mammalia
  • Length: 26 m (Southern hemisphere population, Adult), 24 m (Northern hemisphere population, Adult)
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Dusky Dolphin

The dusky dolphin is a dolphin found in coastal waters in the Southern Hemisphere. Its specific epithet is Latin for "dark" or "dim". It is very closely genetically related to the Pacific white-sided dolphin, but current scientific consensus holds they are distinct species.

  • Species: L. obscurus
  • Order: Artiodactyla
  • Family: Delphinidae
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Mammalia
  • Genus: Lagenorhynchus
  • Kingdom: Animalia
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Hector's Dolphin

Hector's dolphin is one of four dolphin species belonging to the genus Cephalorhynchus. Hector's dolphin is the only cetacean endemic to New Zealand, and comprises two subspecies: C. h. hectori, the ... Wikipedia

  • Conservation status: Endangered (Population decreasing) 
  • Scientific name: Cephalorhynchus hectori
  • Trophic level: Carnivorous Encyclopedia of Life
  • Mass: 50 kg (Adult) Encyclopedia of Life
  • Order: Artiodactyla
  • Family: Delphinidae
  • Phylum: Chordata
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Bottlenose Dolphin

Bottlenose dolphins are aquatic mammals in the genus Tursiops. They are common, cosmopolitan members of the family Delphinidae, the family of oceanic dolphins. Molecular studies show the genus definitively contains two species: the common bottlenose dolphin and the Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin.

  • Scientific name: Tursiops
  • Order: Artiodactyla
  • Family: Delphinidae
  • Subfamily: Delphininae
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Kingdom: Animalia