If you’re looking to catch a glimpse of some majestic whales in New Zealand, you’re in luck! The country is home to a variety of whale species, including humpbacks, southern rights, and orcas. Here are a few of the best spots to check out:
Best Whale Watching Locations in New Zealand
Located on the east coast of the South Island, Kaikoura is one of the most popular spots for whale watching in New Zealand. The town is situated on a unique underwater canyon that attracts a variety of marine life, making it a hot spot for whale watching. Humpback and sperm whales can be seen here year-round, with peak viewing season from May to October. The best way to see them is by taking a boat tour, which will take you out to the deeper waters where the whales feed. Some tour operators also offer the option to swim or snorkel with the whales, for those who want a closer encounter
Bay of Islands
This picturesque area on the north island is known for its clear waters and abundance of marine life. The Bay of Islands is home to a large population of humpback and pilot whales, which can be spotted here between June and August. The best way to see the whales is by taking a boat tour from the nearby towns of Paihia or Russell. These tours typically last around 3-4 hours and offer a great chance to see not only the whales, but also other marine life like dolphins and seals.
The city of Auckland is a great spot for those looking to combine whale watching with urban exploration. The Hauraki Gulf Marine Park, located just a short boat ride from the city, is home to a variety of whale species, including humpbacks and orca. These waters are also known for their beautiful scenery and peaceful atmosphere, making them a great spot for a relaxing day trip. Many tour operators offer boat tours from the city, which typically last around 3-4 hours.
The Marlborough Sounds, located on the north-east coast of the South Island, is a great spot to see humpback and sperm whales. These waters are known for their beautiful scenery, and the area is also home to a variety of other marine life, including dolphins and seals. The best way to see the whales is by taking a boat tour from the nearby town of Picton. These tours typically last around 3-4 hours and offer a great chance to see not only the whales, but also the beautiful scenery of the Marlborough Sounds.
This southern island is one of the best places in New Zealand to see orcas. The island also offers a great chance to see other marine life like seals, penguins and dolphins. Stewart Island is home to a resident pod of orcas, which can be seen all year round. The best way to see the orcas is by taking a boat tour from the nearby town of Oban. These tours typically last around 3-4 hours and offer a great chance to see not only the orcas, but also the other marine life that calls Stewart Island home.