Where to See Whales in New Zealand

Where to see whales in New Zealand

Ready for an unforgettable adventure? New Zealand is a whale-watching paradise, and Kaikoura, in particular, is stealing the spotlight.

In this blog post, we’re diving into the best whale-watching spots in New Zealand, shining a spotlight on the awesome experiences you can have. From the lively Bay of Islands to the peaceful Marlborough Sounds, we’ll guide you through the diverse landscapes where humpbacks, orcas, and other incredible marine life steal the show.

Let’s embark on a journey into the breathtaking world of whale watching in New Zealand, with Whale Watching Kaikoura leading the way for nature lovers and adventure seekers.

Best Whale Watching spots in New Zealand


Welcome to Kaikoura – the whale-watching haven on the east coast of the South Island, and yes, we might be a bit biased, being based right here!

Nestled by a unique underwater canyon, our charming town has become one of the go-to spots for whale watching in New Zealand. Picture this: Humpback and sperm whales grace our waters year-round, showing off their majestic moves, with peak viewing season hitting from May to October.

Now, we might be tempted to say we have the best view from our backyard, but we’ll let you in on a secret – it’s true! Hop on a boat tour (click here for availability and cost), and let us take you to the deeper waters where these whales love to hang out and feast.

And here’s the kicker – some tour operators even let you swim or snorkel with the unique Dusky dolphins in Kaikoura. if you’re feeling particularly brave and want that up-close-and-personal encounter.

But hey, don’t take our word for it – dive into the adventures Kaikoura has to offer and see for yourself!

Whale Watching in Kaikoura

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.

For the best experience, hop on a boat tour departing from the nearby charming towns of Paihia or Russell. These 3-4 hour tours are not just about whales – get ready to meet dolphins, seals, and perhaps a few surprises along the way.

Now, we might not have our roots planted here, but if you’re looking for an incredible tour, Explore Group New Zealand is a fantastic choice to book your Bay of Islands adventure. They know how to turn a boat trip into a marine extravaganza you won’t forget!

whale watching bay islands in New Zealand


If you’re yearning for a unique blend of city life and marine wonders, you’re in for an exceptional experience. Just a short boat journey from Auckland awaits the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park, a realm inhabited by a diverse array of whale species, including the majestic humpbacks and the awe-inspiring orcas.

Immerse yourself in these waters, known not only for their fascinating marine life but also for the captivating beauty of the surroundings and the tranquil ambiance – a perfect recipe for a rejuvenating day trip. Numerous tour operators stand ready in the city, offering boat tours that span around 3-4 hours, providing ample time to witness these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat.

For an eco-friendly twist to your adventure, consider booking with Auckland Whale & Dolphin Safari. They’ve earned a reputation for providing sustainable and responsible tours, ensuring your whale-watching experience leaves a positive impact on the marine environment. Transform your boat excursion into an urban-meets-marine escapade, resonating with the spirit of conservation and admiration for nature’s wonders.

whale watching in Auckland New Zealand


Embarking on the thrilling adventure of whale watching in Tauranga with Bay Explorer opens the door to a world as vast as the surrounding ocean. Nestled within the Bay of Plenty, this coastal haven beckons enthusiasts with a passion for whales, offering a glimpse into the mesmerizing tapestry of marine life.

The journey goes beyond the mere chance of spotting whales. As the boat sets sail, the ocean reveals a diverse spectacle, featuring seasonal seabirds, penguins, seals, sunfish, school fish, sharks, orca, and even turtles. The limited passenger numbers ensure a comfortable and intimately personalized experience, making this maritime escapade ideal for families aboard the spacious custom-built boat.

Guided by the expertise of Bay Explorer’s Captain and experienced crew, the voyage transforms into an immersive exploration of the marine world. Their wealth of knowledge elevates the experience, providing fascinating commentary that points out every captivating detail along the way.

whale watching Tauranga

Stewart Island

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 2-3 hours and offer a great chance to see not only the orcas, but also the other marine life that calls Stewart Island home.

Final words

As our journey through New Zealand’s whale-watching spots draws to a close, let’s take a moment to savor the memories. From the charming Kaikoura to the bustling Auckland and the tranquil Tauranga, each place offered a unique peek into the world of marine wonders.

Until our next adventure, may your days be filled with the magic of whale watching and the endless wonders of the sea!