Whale watching scenic flight in Kaikoura

Whale watching scenic flight

Since it is a whale-watching season, I thought maybe it is time for me to post about watching the whales from a flight. I have always watched these beautiful gentle giants from a lookout point or from a boat. Up until my visit to Kaikoura, I had never even thought of seeing them from up in the air.

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

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

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Whale watching scenic flight (Kaikoura)
PIN for later reference – Whale watching scenic flight Kaikoura, New Zealand

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 where one gets to 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.

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

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

Whale watching scenic flight in Kaikoura
Timelines and the whale season

I saw this sperm whale in the month of April. Even though it was a single sperm whale we spotted, it is said that the sperm whales can be seen throughout the year in Kaikoura.

Whale watching scenic flight
A sperm whale spotted during my whale watching scenic flight

Tour details

  • 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 aerodrome 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 is either to drive or take a taxi.

Sperm whales

The sperm whale is the largest toothed whales and predators. They are known for their large heads that account for one-third of their body length.

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 any 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 breath up to 90 minutes.

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.

A few more pictures…

My experience

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

A few minutes passed by and that’s when our captain yelled out pointing towards a direction. All the three of us, like little kids, peeped out of our windows trying to spot the whale. And then there it was a huge sperm whale, alone. The sperm whale was huge 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.

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

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 now and I have always had a great time. I have also backpacked in the South Island solo and I had an amazing time. Kaikoura is a very safe destination and I did not have any issues there. Even though I traveled with my two friends, there were times where I stepped out alone and explored the place.

Like any other place, I would suggest being cautious especially at nights and trusting your instinct. Other than that, there is nothing to worry 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. This is one activity that you definitely need to do, you will thank me later for that!

If you have taken any of the scenic flights where you had an awesome experience, please share it with me. Drop a comment below or send me an email on Raksha.Nagaraj@Solopassport.com or Solopassport@gmail.com.

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Whale watching scenic flight (Kaikoura)
PIN for later reference – Whale watching scenic flight Kaikoura, New Zealand

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