Kaikoura Peninsula

Kaikoura Peninsula

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‘Thar She Blows!’ The cry goes out and our cruise boat heads off in hot pursuit of a broaching sperm whale.

The skipper adroitly positions the vessel parallel to the mammoth creature, staying the mandatory distance away. Our guide gives a shout of warning as the whale prepares to sound. Twenty cameras click in unison as the gigantic tail flukes rise majestically into the air, releasing a stream of water that glistens in the sunlight, before the monster plunges into the depths.

Later we see a pod of Hector’s dolphins (the smallest and rarest species) and two bottlenose dolphins. Other species often seen here are dusky dolphins, humpback and pilot whales and orcas, along with royal and wandering albatrosses, mollymawks, gannets and petrels.

Kaikoura is placed in a superb coastal setting with a backdrop of snow-capped mountains and a front door to an incredibly rich marine environment. The continental shelf is near the coast here, so nutrients carried up from Antarctic waters provide feeding grounds of krill for the marine mammals. Legions of crayfish march over the seabed to this productive area, hence the Maori name Kaikoura, meaning ‘a place for eating crayfish.’

Wildlife tours abound and you can consort with creatures in many ways. Swimming with dolphins is an exciting interaction with these streamlined back-flipping circus performers. Seals dart to and fro in a graceful ballet. Seabird spotting is also popular and aerial spotting is part of the smorgasbord selection for mammal watchers.

For trampers, the challenge is Mt Fyffe, which dominates Kaikoura, and rewards climbers with scintillating views over the entire coastline, the ocean and its myriad creatures.

Kaikoura is a mecca for wildlife enthusiasts and a scenic gem from any angle – sea level or mountain summit. The undersea canyons yield a truly amazing variety of marine life for which this little town is world-renowned. Make a note to put it on your itinerary.

By | 2014-08-25T23:32:40+00:00 August 25th, 2014|Scenic Highlights|0 Comments

About the Author:

Danny de Hek

Like most people, I have many passions, goals and dreams. As a self made business professional, my focus is helping my clients, associates and friends, build, strengthen and maintain their success. It would be fair to say I am in the full time business of building relationships and feel my purpose and skill is connecting the right people with the right people.

My professional work tends to dominate my personal life, to the horror of my partner and business mentor. They both fully support me yet give me the hard truths when I need to hear this. I am always investing in my personal development to have a fulfilled work/life balance. I enjoy Target Shooting, Hiking & Mountain Biking to clear the brain and to take the guilt away when indulging at a quirky cafe for a cooked breakfast or brunch.

My passion for travelling has seen me experience the world on many occasions, my next adventure will be doing the Tibet Rail Journey on the Qinghai-Tibet Railway from Lhasa to Golmud as long as they have Wi-Fi aboard ;-) I have many goals I still wish to achieve but am pretty chuffed that I have accomplished so many of these already.

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