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Review of Wings Over Whales

Wings Over Whales
Ranked #5 of 27 Tours in Kaikoura
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: <1 hour
Owner description: Adventure through the skies and experience the true magic of Kaikoura. Wings Over Whales are a Qualmark endorsed visitor activity providing whale watching flights, scenic air tours and point to point private aircraft charter. The focus at Wings Over Whales is to deliver a friendly, high quality, boutique experience to all customers where the comfort and safety of each passenger is paramount. The company operate two aircraft; a 4-seater Cessna 172 as well as an 8-seater Gippsland Airvan. Both planes are high-winged allowing each passenger their own window seat and unobstructed views of Kaikoura’s marine wild life and majestic scenery. Wings Over Whales are situated at Kaikoura Airport, an 8km drive south from the town centre. Located in an inviting log cabin terminal, customers can enjoy great facilities with on-site gift shop, cafe and rest room facilities. In typical 30 minute flight you will see the majestic Sperm Whale preparing for his next dive and up to 500 Dusky Dolphins playfully swimming. Occasional sightings include Southern Right, Humpback, Fin, Sei, Brydes, Pilot, Southern Bottlenose and Blue Whales. Other, less frequent visitors to the area include Southern Right Whale, Orca and the endangered blue whale
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Food available for purchase, Bathroom facilities, Activities for older children, Wheelchair access, Baby buggy parking
London, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 19 March 2014

1st March 2014. We were supposed to do the whale watch boat trip but rough seas caused our, and all subsequent, trip to be cancelled. There was a refund on offer but we would have had to claim back from our travel agent in the uk. We were offered the Wings over Whales option at no extra cost. Glad we took up the offer. Weview of the peninsula with snow capped mou collected by Josh, pilot, who was so courteous and made us feel at ease about flying in a light aircraft.
We were so lucky to see the resident Sperm Whale on the surface for quite a long time. Josh gave both sides of the plane an equal opportunity to see it. Lovely view of it when it finally dived. Josh then found a huge pod of dolphins and great views of them, alas the time ran out and we had to return but not before a great view of the peninsula and snow capped mountains beyond. All in all a fantastic, memorable trip. Thank you Josh and the folks at Whale Watching.

Visited March 2014
1 Thank John W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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213 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
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English first
Fladbury, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
20 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Excellent Effort!”
Reviewed 4 March 2014

We had chosen a day when the whales could easily be spotted. Unfortunately though, due possibly to the storm which came through the night before, all we saw was a pod of 4 beaked whales who dived within less than a minute of us spotting them.
Jess tried his hardest to find the whales but without success. He also had no help from the boats, as none had gone out due to the swell. He was clearly as disappointed as us - but that's nature and there is nothing that can be done about it!
I thoroughly enjoyed the flight and would love to go back for another try sometime.

Visited January 2014
1 Thank AvonReflectionsC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Island of Anglesey, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
13 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Can't fault the service but unfortunately no whales!”
Reviewed 4 February 2014

Superb service. Very friendly, honest and professional. We really enjoyed the flight. Yes its short (30 mins) but everyone gets a window seat and they promise that if you see something they will turn so you can see from both sides of the plane.

We tried really hard. We all scanned the sea, they flew really low. I am convinced if they were on the surface we'd have seen the whales but they just weren't there. Yes we were really disappointed but I guess that's the chance you take. The flight was 30 mins and the whales can dive for 45 mins at least. Its the luck of the draw. On the way back though we saw a huge pod of dusky dolphins. We circled left and right so we could all see them Fantastic. OK not the whales we went to see but a superb experience.

Visited December 2013
Thank S V W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Eastbourne, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
15 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Bad Luck - saw absolutely nothing!”
Reviewed 13 January 2014

Took to the skies on 4th January 2014. Very excited as had been wanting to whale watch for a number of years. Flight duration 30mins. The pilot tried his best but couldn't find us anything to see... other than the whale watch boats out on the sea. So very upset at seeing nothing. Perhaps should have gone on boat trip instead... that way i would have got 80% refund if no whale seen and also opportunity of seeing dolphins and seals?

Visited January 2014
Thank DawnW10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 attraction reviews
“Bad luck - no whales”
Reviewed 8 January 2014

We were very excited to take the small plane and to see a whale....there is a 95 percent change. Unfortunately, we were part of the 5 percent.
The pilot did his best and searched for it....but no whale....fortunately, we saw a very big pod of dolphins, which was great.
We were disappointed, as there was not a refund or second trip or even some friendly words during/after the trip. If I had known before that there were only a few whales at that time and that they dive very deep and for a long time, I would not have booked the trip. Inform very well prior booking. (The boat trips offer a partial refund if no whales are seen). Especially due to th high price, think twice.

Visited January 2014
Thank Hesp2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Wings0verWhales, Manager at Wings Over Whales, responded to this review, 20 June 2016
Hi there,
Thank you for taking the time to review your trip with Wings Over Whales. We're very sorry that you were unsuccessful in seeing whales during your flight. Due to being a small operator we are unable to offer refunds however since your visit we have had a change of ownership and management. We take our level of customer service very seriously and in considering your feedback have since made changes to our pre flight briefing. It is our priority to be very honest with our customers and while Kaikoura does have a year round population of Sperm Whales, they are still wild animals and sometimes nature does not play to our favour. We hope to see you again in the future.

Kindest regards,
Wings Over Whales Kaikoura
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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