Whales or Dolphins

Dec 11th, 2011, 05:30 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 15
Whales or Dolphins

My husband and I leave in 2 weeks for our 2 week tour of the SI. We have procrastinated in booking some excursions and need some help.

We will only be in Kaikoura for one day and would love to do either the whale watching or dolphin encounter. I would prefer the whales, but have not seen many good reviews so I wanted to throw it out there on here and see if I could get some feedback. Are the whales worth the money or should we go with the dolphins?
hartman32 is offline  
Dec 11th, 2011, 08:25 AM
Join Date: Jun 2005
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I haven't done the whale watching trip in Kaikoura, but I do know from whale watching trips in the U.S. that you spend a lot of time on the boat NOT seeing whales. In fact, on every whale watching tour that I've been, we've been told upfront that they don't guarantee finding whales (and sometimes they haven't).

On the other hand, I have done the Dolphin Encounter in Kaikoura and it was a great experience. It was wonderful being in the water and having the dolphins swimming under and around us.
longhorn55 is offline  
Dec 11th, 2011, 01:29 PM
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 1,691
From http://www.whalewatch.co.nz/ "If your Whale Watch Kaikoura tour does not see a whale we will refund 80% of your fare."

I have not done the Whale Watching with any company from Kaikoura but all those I've met who have said it was great. I went out to look at the seabirds.
AlanJG is offline  
Dec 11th, 2011, 08:42 PM
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 1,785
My husband and I made reservations to go whale watching in Kaikoura in 2000 or 2001, but our morning whale watch trip was cancelled due to rough ocean conditions, so we ended up swimming with the dolphins instead. By afternoon, whale watching trips had resumed, but by then we wanted to just relax and enjoy the area for a bit.

The sperm whales of Kaikoura feed in the deep sea trench (the Hikorangi Trench), so are generally found farther out to sea than the dolphins. Thus whale watching trips are more subject to rough water than the dolphin trips, which are closer in to Kaikoura (though the dolphins can venture out farther in winter months).

When we got back to the US, I was still disappointed by having missed my chance to see whales, so I looked into the possibility of whale watching out of San Francisco, which is close to where I live. I ended up seeing so many humpbacks out near northern California's Farralon Islands, including a female, her calf, and another humpback spent who spent about 40 minutes right next to our boat--so close you could smell their breath and look right into their eyes! I also saw a great white shark attack a sea lion. I have since returned to the Farralones nearly every autumn to see the whales: humpbacks, blues, greys, and--once--even a fin whale. You can see hundreds of dolphins and porpoises, too, and more seabirds than you can imagine. But whale sightings are not guaranteed, and you certainly cannot swim with dolphins here! So if you end up not seeing whales in NZ, you might try your luck at seeing them the next time you visit the US West Coast. I hear New England is also a great place for whale watch trips.
Diamantina is offline  
Dec 12th, 2011, 09:33 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 15
Thank you! We are so restricted in our time with only the one day there. We may try to squeeze in both.
hartman32 is offline  
Dec 12th, 2011, 10:02 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 866
We did the dolphin swim in Kaikoura and it was amazing. If you are prone to sea-sickness, I would get a prescription for Transderm motion sickness patches. They were the only thing that kept me from not getting sick, most people were not so fortunate and the sea condition that day was considered "moderate."
britomart is offline  
Dec 14th, 2011, 11:46 AM
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 2
You can also swim with very rare Hector's dolphins in Akaroa which is about one and a half hours drive from Christchurch. Akaroa is a small French inspired sea side village and very beautiful. The Hector's dolphins are only found in New Zealand so your only opportunity to swim with these types of dolphins. dont expect to see hundreds though, they are the rarest dolphin in the world so a real priviledge to see them in the wild.
Alison_DykesFleming is offline  
Jul 26th, 2013, 12:16 AM
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 2
Both whale watching and dolphin encounter are best. it depends upon the season.so this season is best for the whale watching
DrewSchmidt is offline  

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