New Zealand

The Best Places To Go Whale Watching In New Zealand

By Albert Cho
8th May 2018

The Best Places To Go Whale Watching In New Zealand

There really isn’t anything that is more stunning and beautiful than seeing a massive sea creature in its natural habitat. Little did you know that whale watching is actually one of the things New Zealand is internationally recognised for as having some of the best views of whales and we’re lucky to have such easy access to these beauties.

Here is a run-down of the top locations to go whale watching in New Zealand.



A coastal town on the South Island, Kaikōura has become one of the top tourist destinations in New Zealand for its abundance of rare marine life. Sperm whales are one of the deepest diving and rarest whales in the world and Kaikōura offers the best views of the marine mammal. You can also get a look at the Blue Whale which is the largest, heaviest and loudest animal on this Earth. Despite their size, these animals are some of the hardest to catch a glimpse of as they almost went extinct during the whaling season—leaving around 2000 to swim around the oceans in the Southern Hemisphere. But you can spot them swimming and diving along on one of the tours in Kaikōura if you’re lucky.

Malborough Sounds

North of the South Island

During the times of whaling, Malborough Sounds was the place to go to for its high population of whales. Luckily, times have changed and we just appreciate them from a distance and admire them in their comfortable and natural habitat. During the months between October and March, you increase your chances of seeing orca, better known as the Killer Whale. Being one of the most social whales in the world, these guys love to show off so you’ll have some fun observing them.

Hauraki Gulf Marine Park

Depart From The Viaduct

Not all whale watching hot spots are located in the South Island of Aotearoa. The Hauraki Gulf Marine Park is the wonderland for marine life with more than 1.2 million hectares, 50 islands and six marine reserves, making it a great whale watching spot in New Zealand. This has made it a paradise for the sea creatures, resulting in one third of the world’s marine species having visited the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park. This is the home to the highly rare Bryde’s whale, as there are fewer than 200 of them in New Zealand, all located within or close to the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park.

Moutohora Island

Bay of Plenty

Moutohora Island, otherwise called Whale Island is named that for a very good reason. Not only being the home to endangered whales but the unharmed nature of Moutohora Island has made it a sanctuary for other endangered and rare species such as plants, reptiles, birds and other sea life. The four-hour tour allows us to get a good look at the magic of the island while preserving the natural beauty of this safe haven for rare specimens. It’s one of the best places to see whales in New Zealand.


South Island

Many associate Akaroa with the infamous Akaroa salmon they’re so renowned for. Akaroa is also where dolphins love to swim and whales love to dive. In fact, over the past couple of years, the number of visitors of Humpback whales have been increasing and if you get lucky, you can catch a glimpse of these highly rare mammals passing through the waters at Akaroa.

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