Kaikoura is one of New Zealand's top nature tourism destinations. This is based on year-round whale watching, dolphin experiences and spectacular scenery - a peninsula of wild rugged coastline, between the Pacific Ocean and the snow capped peaks of the Seaward Kaikoura Ranges, rising to 2600m and forming a dramatic background for the marine life that is often seen close to shore.
Resident sperm whales are the main attraction, but there are at least another eight whale species regularly seen including the humpback and blue whale. Other native populations include New Zealand fur seal, rare Hector's and Dusky Dolphins, Royal albatross and a huge variety of seabird species.
Dolphin Encounter specialises in providing an exhilarating experience of swimming with wild dusky Dolphins in their natural environment. We had been lucky to get a spot on the afternoon group and I was so excited that I was finally going to swim with dolphins. After we had been suited up head to toe in pretty much scuba gear we headed off on the boat to see if we could spot the Dolphins. Within 20 minutes we were in the freezing cold water swimming in circles and making noises to attract the Dolphins. Anyone watching must have had a right laugh! There were about 10 Dolphins swimming beneath us on the first swim and when I thought it couldn't get better on the second swim the Dolphins were jumping out of the water behind us doing flips. The dolphin encounter is definitely very worth while doing if you pass through or stay in Kaikoura.
We had opted to stay an additional night in Kaikoura so we didn't arrive in Auckland too early at the end of the tour. We had chosen the perfect day to say as the sun was shining, Bobbi, Kathy and I decided to head to the Kaikoura Peninsula which is home to a natural seal colony. This however took us over an hour to get there and I was not prepared and made an error forgetting my water bottle. But the walk was definitely worthwhile when we saw lots of seals.
Meanwhile Sam went on the whale watching tour and was very disappointed as he only saw the back of the whale, so I am glad I went on the free walk instead!