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Ecotourism

Watching whales in Kaikoura, New Zealand

by Lucy Brake 03 May 2011
Watching whales in Kaikoura, New Zealand

Kaikoura is tucked away on the east coast of New Zealand's South Island, north of Christchurch. With a backdrop of the towering snowy peaks of the Kaikoura Mountain Range and the surrounding lush green pastures this is an amazing place to have a whale encounter.

The ocean off this charming town offers the eco-tourist a once in a life-time opportunity to get up close with the giant sperm whale at any time of the year.

Whale Watch Kaikoura boasts an amazing 95 percent success rate for seeing these magnificent creatures.

Just off shore from Kaikoura there is a deep undersea canyon where some unusual sea currents collide to attract an overwhelming array of marine life, the most well-known being the Giant Sperm Whale.

But visiting Kaikoura is not just about a chance to interact with these giants of the seas, but also an opportunity to see fur seals, dolphins, albatross and other migrating whales, including humpback whales.

They are not short on tourism awards, including winning both the Best in Marine Environment and Supreme Winner of the Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Awards in 2009.

This means that you will be treated with great respect and have every opportunity to do the same for the very unique marine environment.

All of the whale watch boats are specially created with minimising impacts on the environment at the forefront of design, including self-contained on-board toilets and special propulsion units.

Eco-tourism is all about observing and preserving wildlife and unique cultures and whale watching in Kaikoura is a great place to do this.

The company that runs the whale watching tours is owned and operated by the indigenous Kati Kuri people, a sub-tribe of Ngai Tahu.

The story goes that one of their ancestors, known as Paikea, rode to New Zealand on the back of a whale.

The whale watch experience in Kaikoura also staunchly supports the ongoing international battle against the annual whale hunting season.

The community here are proud of how their whale watching encounters offer a chance for tourists to enjoy and revere nature rather than exploit it.


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