Your day starts with an early transfer from your Christchurch hotel to the Railway Station, travel by Coastal Pacific Train taking a scenic rail journey North to arrive into Kaikoura.
In Kaikoura, meet your boat for your whale-watching tour with expert local guides. As you cruise, learn about the town, its whaling history and its natural features. Not far offshore lies the Hikurangi Trench, which creates the upwelling that attracts an abundance of marine life. If you’re lucky, you can watch the whales breach, spout and lift their huge fins and tails out of the water.
While the giant sperm whales are the stars of the show and live here year-round, you might also see New Zealand fur seals, dusky dolphins and, depending on the season, migrating humpback whales, pilot whales, blue whales and southern right whales. Kaikoura’s waters also host the world's largest dolphins—the orca–and the world's smallest and rarest—Hector’s dolphins.
On the feathered side of life, Kaikoura has the largest concentration and variety of seabirds on mainland New Zealand, with 13 species of albatross, 14 varieties of petrels and 7 types of shearwaters.
After your whale-watching cruise, take a break for a tasty lunch at a local restaurant with great views of the snow-dusted mountains of the Seaward Kaikoura Range. Have the option to include the lunch in your tour at additional cost, or to purchase your own meal.
Once you have refueled, hop back on the bus to visit a nearby New Zealand fur seal colony where you can observe the seals at close quarters. Then begin your return journey to Christchurch, stopping at a North Canterbury vineyard for a wine tasting as time allows. Your tour ends in the evening when your guide returns you to your hotel.