You can spot whales throughout New Zealand, including Auckland's beautiful Hauraki Gulf and the wonderful Kaikoura.
Auckland is privileged to witness whales at play in the beautiful Hauraki Gulf Marine Park. Part of the Pacific Ocean, the Hauraki Gulf covers an area of 4000 km² surrounding the Auckland and Coromandel regions.
The park is full of a diverse range of rare and exotic ocean life. For example, the critically endangered Bryde’s whale is one such species that can be found in the Hauraki Gulf. Incredibly, over 25 of the 37 southern hemisphere marine mammals have been identified in the area, which makes up almost a third of the world’s population of these species.
Kaikoura, on the east coast of the South Island, is one of the only places in the world where you can easily see sperm whales.
Sperm whales, the largest of the toothed whales, grow to over 15 metres in length. They dive deep into the ocean to feed. The resident population of sperm whales at Kaikoura can be seen all year round. Orca (killer whales) may be seen from December to March, and humpback whales in June and July. Several dolphin species are seen almost daily in the area.
Whales thrive close to Kaikoura because of its unusual submarine landscape. The continental shelf drops quickly into a number of extremely deep underwater canyons. In addition, a warm current from the north meets a colder one from the south. This causes nutrients from deep within the ocean to be carried upward, a phenomenon that helps to support all types of marine life from plankton and krill to dolphins and whales.