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“Great flight. Good views. 90% hitrate!”
Review of Wings Over Whales

Wings Over Whales
Ranked #4 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 older children, Baby buggy parking, Activities for young children, Food available for purchase, Bathroom facilities, Wheelchair access
Copenhagen, Denmark
Level Contributor
20 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Great flight. Good views. 90% hitrate!”
Reviewed 22 April 2014

We dropped in by coincidence on our way to the city of Kaikoura. One hour after we were sitting in their plane flying across the ocean. Fortunately there was one whale who was about to descent to show off his back fin. Two boats where down there too... The chances to see a whale are more than 90%. If you are afraid of ending up in the 10% you should choose the boat. There will be a refund. The view from up there is better though as you see real proportions and the whole animal. The pilot explained us all rules and need-to-knows before and it was a fantastic experience with wonderful weather and animal entertainment... Not to be missed! Make sure you bring a 2,8 / 200mm zoom to get a decent output which is not blurry!

Visited April 2014
Thank Exithamster
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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216 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
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English first
Melksham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Not sure....”
Reviewed 13 April 2014

We booked this trip as we thought it would be a better option than the boat as you'd be able to see the whales from above and get a perspective of their size. In hindsight, I think we would have preferred the boat.

We made our own way to the airfield and we then hung around for ages. Apparently a whale had been spotted earlier and we were going to wait to see if we could catch it when it came back out again. Eventually we got going over an hour later and just as we were about to leave a 'late comer' arrived and jumped on the plane with us. Call me cynical but I couldn't help but think our delay was so that they could get the only person booked onto the 11 o'clock trip with some others. I may be wrong of course....

Luckily we did get to see a whale so it was worth the wait. We did get the size perspective however I would think you'd get a better look from the boat. We were only in Kaikoura for one night specifically for this activity so I guess we were less likely to have this cancelled than a boat trip.

It was expensive and I don't think it was great value for money.

Visited January 2014
1 Thank 101ED
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cologne, Germany
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Disappointed - no whales and no refund policy”
Reviewed 27 March 2014

Such a flight is very expensive (~180 NZD), lasts about approx. 30 minutes and we saw unfortunately no whales. The pilot tried its best but no luck. This is disappointing but can happen. What I find inacceptable is the policy on how to handle this. No partial refund is given, not even a second opportunity at a discounted rate. At least providing some picture material on CD from previous successful flights would be a nice gesture but nothing there. If you spend such an amount of money you do that to see some whales and in the case this does not happen there should be a proper policy in place how to deal with this. As long as this does not change I absolutely recommend to go for the boat trip instead - cheaper and a 80% refund in case you won't see whales.

Visited March 2014
4 Thank cocette23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Norfolk, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
17 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“A short Whale of a time!”
Reviewed 23 March 2014

We did this trip in February with our 2 kids (aged 8 & 11). We, like others, had our Whale watch boat trip cancelled. We rang Wings over Whales who were happy to accommodate us and their price for the 4 of us compared favorably with the boat trip. Before we took off the pilot does a really good briefing about where we would fly, what to look out for and a short video about whales. We all thought that this made a great introduction to the flight. All seats are window seats and our 8 year old was thrilled to be invited to fly up font. During the flight we spotted 2 whales, 1 for a short time and the other for 10 /15 minutes. What impressed was that it was not just a fly past but the pilot was able to fly fairly slowly, in tight circles, low down so that we all got a really good view and then fly the other way round so that those on the other side also got a good view. The other advantage about seeing a Whale from the air is that you really get to see all of it and can appreciate just how big they are. We were only in Kaikoura for one day and this was our only opportunity to see whales - thanks to Wings over Whales we all left Kaikoura happy!

Visited February 2014
1 Thank Struan M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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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