Kaikoura was one of the towns we went to a few times to have a little break. It was small but full of nice little restaurants and friendly people. It was right along the coast and has a big mountain range with good hiking trails that offer incredible picturesque views. It is a great place to see seals up close along the coastline, and if you time it right, there’s a little cove with a waterfall about ten minutes outside of Kaikoura with baby seals. The last trip we took was to go on a whale watch, and we really lucked out in the whale-finding department.
I don’t think you can actually ever get sick of seeing that whale tale come up when the whale decides to go back under the water. We saw about five whales, which is pretty incredible for a whale watch that only lasts a few hours. Even the tour guide said there must be a lucky charm on board because it was the best whale watch he’d been a part of in a long time. At one point, we pulled up to a whale and watched it for a while, it seemed to be sleeping (apparently you can tell because they are just visible above the surface and give off regular short bursts of water while they breathe) and all of a sudden it turned towards us and disappeared under our little boat. I was a little scared that it was going to knock us right over! It then came right up off the back of the boat and gave the most spectacular tail display we saw all day (video below). It was a really unforgettable day, but I’m kind of scared to go on another whale watch for fear it won’t be as amazing. You realise how small you really are when faced with something so massive.
Have any of you ever been on a whale watch? If you’re ever in Kaikoura you should check out their tours, the one we went on offered part of your money back if you don’t see any whales, but it’s worth it just for the boat ride around the mountains.
(All pictures and video from 2009-2010)