Sperm Whale from above Whale watching scenic flight

Whale Watching Scenic Flight in Kaikoura (2024)

Would you be amazed if I said you can go on flights for whale watching at Kaikoura? Yes, the town has whale watching scenic flights where you can go on a flight to follow and see these magnificent mammals.

Since it is whale-watching season in Australia and New Zealand, I thought maybe it was time to talk about watching the whales from a flight I had taken during my visit to Kaikoura. I have always watched these beautiful, gentle giants from a viewpoint point on coastal walks in Sydney or a whale-watching cruise. Up until I visited Kaikoura, I had never even thought of seeing them from up in the air.

While planning to spend 3 days in Kaikoura, I researched the unique things to do, and one of the things that came up was taking a scenic flight to watch the whales. I was super excited when I read about this adventure on the internet. I couldn’t have visualized how these creatures would look from above. It was beyond my happiness.

After consulting with my two friends joining me on this trip, we booked the tour.

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What is a Whale Watching scenic flight?

Whale watching scenic flights are the flights that take people out to spot the sperm whales. It is a highlight and one of the fascinating things to do in Kaikoura. The flight time is around 20 minutes, and one can see these large mammals from the flight. There are opportunities to see other marine life as well. My friends and I saw lots of dolphins.

You can also swim with the dolphins in Kaikoura, refer Swimming with dusky dolphins for more details.

Dolphins during my whale watching scenic flight in Kaikoura
Dolphins during my whale-watching scenic flight in Kaikoura

The best time to see whales is in the colder season, i.e., between June and August. I believe the sperm whales are seen throughout the year in Kaikoura. But the humpback whales are spotted in June and July, and the killer whales/orcas are spotted between December and March.

Whale Watching Scenic Flight in Kaikoura (2024)
Timelines and the whale season

I saw this sperm whale in April. Even though we saw only one sperm whale during our trip, it is said that it can be seen throughout the year in Kaikoura.

The spectacular and beautiful Kaikoura
The spectacular and beautiful Kaikoura

Tour details for Whale Watching in Kaikoura

  • Provider: Air Kaikoura.
  • Cost: NZD 150 per person. For an up-to-date cost, refer to their website.
  • Website: https://www.airkaikoura.co.nz/
  • Flight time: 20 minutes.
  • Departure location: Kaikoura Airport.

How to Reach Kaikoura Airport?

Kaikoura Airport is an uncontrolled airfield where the charter and scenic flights operate. The airport is around 8 kilometres from Kaikoura City. There is no public transport to reach Kaikoura Airport. The only way to reach it is to drive or take a taxi.

About Sperm Whales

The sperm whale is the most giant-toothed whale and predator. They are known for their large heads that account for one-third of their body length.

Sperm Whale from above Whale watching scenic flight

The reason why sperm whales are known as sperm whales is because of the waxy substance known as spermaceti in their heads. They mainly feed on squids and rarely attack other mammals unless mistaken for seals or prey. A fascinating fact about a sperm whale is that it can dive up to 3280 feet in search of squids and can hold its breath for up to 90 minutes.

Sperm Whale from above Whale watching scenic flight

Did you know that sperm whales are so loud that they are capable of killing a human being with their clicks? The clicks are so powerful that they can blow out a human’s eardrums.

Whale watching scenic flight
Sperm Whale from above

About Whale Watching in Kaikoura (Whale Watching Scenic Flight)

On the day of the flight, my friends and I arrived at the airport (departure point) on time, about 10 to 15 minutes before departure, where our captain met us. After the paperwork and the briefing by the captain, we were set to take off. I was excited and could not wait for what was in store. The flight was small, seating four passengers, including the captain. We took off towards the ocean.

A few minutes passed, and that’s when our captain yelled out, pointing towards a direction. All three of us, like little kids, peeped out of our windows, trying to spot the whale. And then there it was, a giant sperm whale, alone. The sperm whale was giant, and the water bubbles it blew created a fountain just above its head. It was brilliant. I was so mesmerised just by looking at the whale from the top. I had never seen a sight like that before.

Sperm Whale from above during Whale watching scenic flight

This has been one of the most incredible things I have ever done in my entire life. Seeing a sperm whale from the top was unique and breathtaking. I have always loved the whales, and anything about them excites me. But this experience is beyond words, and I loved it. Undoubtedly, I recommend this scenic flight to everyone who visits Kaikoura.

Sperm Whale from above Whale watching scenic flight

Is Kaikoura Safe for Solo Female Travelers?

New Zealand is very safe for travelers, including solo female travelers. I have been to New Zealand about 5 to 6 times and have always had a great time. I also backpacked in the South Island solo and had a fantastic time. Kaikoura is a safe destination, and I had no issues there. Even though I traveled with my two friends, there were times when I stepped out alone and explored the place.

Like any other place, I suggest being cautious and trusting your instincts, especially at night. Besides, there is nothing to worry about while traveling in New Zealand.

Closing notes

As I mentioned above, this whale-watching scenic flight has been the highlight of my travel to Kaikoura. I had so much fun seeing the whales and the dolphins. You need to do this one activity; you will thank me later for that!

If you have taken scenic flights with an excellent experience, please share it with me. Please drop a comment below or send me an email at Solopassport@gmail.com.

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