Here in New Zealand we are lucky enough to live along the very path of our beautiful flippered friends. Yep, we’re talking about whales. With our waters the fourth largest marine territory in the world you could say, it’s a little over-whale-ming. There’s simply nothing better than the rush of excitement of spotting the beauty of our New Zealand marine life flourish in their natural habitat with a cheeky tail slap or two.
And, here in the City of Sails, we have the chance to spot these epic creatures in our very own harbour. While there aren’t many options when checking out nature’s biggest and bravest, there are some places where you may be able to see them.
Here’s where to go whale watching in Auckland.
Hauraki Gulf Marine Park
Hop on board the Auckland Whale & Dolphin Safari for your chance to see whales. Departing from the heart of Auckland City, it will take you to the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park—a dreamland of all marine life it is visited by one third of the world’s total marine species. With 1.2 million hectares, 50 islands and six marine reserves, it’s fair to say that beneath the beautiful blue waters of the Hauraki Gulf is the perfect place to start searching for those stunning sea creatures. It’ll be a whale of a time!
The Hauraki Gulf Marine Park is home to the critically endangered Bryde’s whale, with less than 200 living in or around this area. Luckily, this means sightings of this particular whale on this trip are regular all year round. The Sei whale is a migratory species found in majority of the world’s oceans and seas. It has been likened to Hauraki Gulf’s permanent resident, the Bryde’s whale, adding them to the list of the top sighted species among this tour. In terms of the stunning blue whale, the Pygmy blues are slightly smaller than your average true-blue, reaching 24m in length. Although it is unknown whether these incredible Pygmy blues set out on the swim of a life time and migrate or stay all year round, they have sure been sighted visiting the Hauraki Gulf. It might be best to have your cameras ready and keep your eyes peeled for this one!
As if all this whale business isn’t enough. A typical Safari is likely to encounter more of New Zealand’s wildlife that will leave you wanting more. The common and bottlenose dolphins make a regular appearance which is almost enough to steal the show! The leopard and New Zealand fur seals, sharks, turtles, manta ray and the amazing orca all come out to show off a little from time to time, depending on the time of year, that is. Of course, we can’t forget about the 26 species of seabird confirmed to be breeding in or around the Marine Park. Get excited because this includes the gorgeous little blue penguin, we’ll all ‘oooh’ and ‘ahhh’ together shall we?