Kaikoura, in the Marlborough region of the South Island of New Zealand, has become the home of whale watching in New Zealand. The small town has strong historical links to whaling which remain to this day.

Explorer, Captain Robert Fyfe, reputedly established the first shore whaling station named “Waiopuka” in 1843. His nearby house, constructed in 1860 is built on whale bone piles.

Whaling was very popular during this time with explorers travelling from all over the world to hunt whale for their valuable oil and bones.

The oil was use to lubricate machinery and the jaw bones in particular were used in corsets. The area was very prosperous.

When whaling was outlawed in 1964, Kaikoura lost a lot of its economic benefits, however in the past few decades the region has renewed its connections with whales in a modern way.

Whale Watch Kaikoura is a pioneer in the region starting its fledgling business with a hope to rebuild the popularity of the town, draw locals as well as tourists and to say they have done this is an understatement. Their efforts have spawned an incredible thriving community and they now offer not only whale watching but also dolphin and sea bird encounters.

Plenty of local businesses have taken up the mantle providing complimentary services including cafes and restaurants, accommodation providers, arts and crafts stores and galleries and tours with a local twist.

For those who aren’t keen to head out on a boat but still wish to take in the breathtaking views of these incredible creatures you can choose ‘Wings Over Whales’ see the whales, as well as dolphins and seals, from the air. You’ll also see some amazing coastline.

If you are in town in September you’ll also be able to enter the annual Kaikoura Whale Run, which was started as a keep-fit project over the winter and is proving very popular with locals and visitors. You can choose a distance that suits you as well as opting for a walk if running isn’t for you. There’s even a marafun for school aged children.

If you are heading to Kaikoura for your holiday make sure you allow 2+ days to explore this great little place as well as, of course, participating in a whale watching experience.

Book your whale watching accommodation on: www.alpine-pacific.co.nz