7 Whale Watching Tours In Auckland (And Near Auckland Too!)

Ready to live the unforgettable experience of whale watching Auckland? You’ve come to the right place! 

The opportunity to observe a rare and beautiful whale in the wild is one of the things that many visitors to New Zealand include on their “must-do” lists. 

New Zealand is a familiar place to me. I’ve lived here and worked in Auckland. So, I am intimately familiar with every inch of the city and the activities to do around the town. 

One of them that no one can miss, even myself, is whale watching Auckland.

Whale watching auckland

The Best Overall Whale Watching Auckland New Zealand Deals: Auckland Dolphin and Whale Watching Eco-Safari Cruise

Excellent whale-watching chances may be enjoyed here, with Kaikoura and Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf being the two prominent locations. 

Plus, the waters surrounding New Zealand are the fourth-largest marine domain worldwide, and a whale migration route directly passes through it. You couldn’t be in a better location to observe them! 

Here are my top 7 tour recommendations for Auckland whale watching tours and nearby Auckland. Let’s dive into it.


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First time in New Zealand? Here is a list of activities that you should not miss in New Zealand: 

1.Auckland Dolphin and Whale Watching Eco-Safari Cruise

Whale watching auckland

Photo credit to Viator

⭐Rating: 5 out of 5 stars – With 900 positive reviews!  | ⌛ TOUR LENGTH: 4.5 hours 

Why choose this tour? 

This dolphin and whale watching Auckland NZ tour are personally my favorites. If you are not a fan of high altitude, this should be on your bucket list. 

Auckland dolphin and whale watching cruise is something that you shall not miss when you’re in town. This half-day cruise will bring you through the magical wonders of New Zealand on a big catamaran, as you can see in the picture above!

Explore Hauraki Gulf Marine Park in search of marine mammals such as whales, dolphins, and penguins.

 You will board the catamaran whale watching auckland harbour, also known as Viaduct Harbour. 

On board the catamaran, local guides will share their knowledge and information on New Zealand’s stunning scenery. Plus, they will ensure you get close to these beautiful sea lives and snap the perfect unforgettable shot. 

For the Auckland whale and dolphin safari price you are paying, it is worth it since you get to jump on board and chase different species of whales that live in the sea. 

Besides, you may also see seabirds from the Australasian region while on the Auckland whale and dolphin safari trip!

The Auckland Dolphin and Whale Watching Eco-Safari Cruise includes:

  • Local guide
  • Every ticket purchased contributes directly to Marine Mammal Conservation
  • Expert commentary/Interaction with our onboard Marine Research Scientists

What past guests loved about this tour: 

“Unbelievable experience of a lifetime! The crew was fantastic, very careful and courteous, highly knowledgeable – and great at explaining everything we were seeing. They expertly positioned the boat to maximize the chances of seeing whales and dolphins – and a complete success! Amazing whale encounters (one whale circled the boat leaving a trail of bubbles in its wake), equally among dolphin encounters as well. I’ll recommend this company to anybody I know coming to visit Auckland. THANK YOU!!! ”

– Amy_S (read more reviews)

2.Whale Watching Flight in Kaikoura

Whale watching auckland

Photo credit to Viator

⭐Rating: 5 out of 5 stars – With 100 positive reviews!  | ⌛ TOUR LENGTH: 30 minutes 

Why choose this tour? 

This whale-watching New Zealand tour will pump your blood as you soar above the country in a plane and take in some of the country’s most breathtaking scenery. 

You may enjoy yourself without worrying about becoming seasick and missing out on a once-in-a-lifetime experience. 

This tour is suitable for a small group of people. After taking off from Kaikoura Airport, you will head to the Kaikoura Whale Sanctuary, where sperm whales and dusky dolphins may be seen all year long. 

The craggy coastline, mountains, and peninsula provide a breathtaking setting for the several migrating whale species that visit the area each year. 

All you have to do is sit tight and enjoy the flight time. 

The Whale Watching Flight in Kaikoura includes:

  • Pre-flight Safety Briefing 
  • Informative presentation on Kaikoura’s wildlife and geology 
  • All Fees and Taxes 
  • Courtesy shuttle from the town center 
  • Snack and Drink Bar 
  • Gift Shop 
  • Terminal Facilities 
  • Children’s play area

What past guests loved about this tour : 

“What an incredible experience! After going back and forth deciding which trip to book, we were so pleased to have chosen this one. We knew our chances of seeing a whale and that we may have been unlucky. In fact, we did almost miss out but our pilot was determined and eventually we did see one surface before we had to go back to the airport. She made turns on both sides and got as close as possible so we could all get some great views of the amazing sperm whale. Whilst we were staring in awe she told us about the whale, the one we saw being a local they track daily, and told us interesting facts. Honestly looking at the whale watching boats down below I was quite content with not being in those choppy waters. Seeing the entire length of the whale was incredible, and seeing him next to a boat really gave us an idea of the sheer size. All in all we had a fantastic experience. Always know before going on these flights that it’s not guaranteed to see a whale – we were extremely lucky. Seeing the coast Kaikoura from the air was amazing in itself, and if the chances of seeing whales is slim they do try to find other wildlife such as dolphins.”

– Tripadvisor Review (read more reviews)

3.Christchurch Day Tour: Kaikoura With Whale Watching

Whale watching auckland

Photo credit to Viator

⭐Rating: 5 out of 5 stars with more than 10 positive reviews  | ⌛ TOUR LENGTH: 10 hours

Why choose this tour? 

Another whale watching NZ north island you can consider is a day trip from Christchurch. 

This tour is located close to Auckland and will allow you to explore the wonders of Kaikoura without having to pay extra for the travel expenses all the way there. 

The excursion includes a whale-watching boat and a stunning view of the South Island.

During the whale-watching trip, you will get the opportunity to look for whales, dolphins, and other forms of marine life, in addition to getting fantastic views of the Kaikoura Range and the Pacific Ocean. 

In addition, you will proceed to overlooks where you should be able to see New Zealand fur seals, stop for lunch at a café, and maybe visit a Waipara vineyard if there is enough time.

But, if you have a short stay, I recommend you go on a whale safari Auckland.

The Christchurch Day Tour : Kaikoura With Whale Watching includes: 

  • All activities
  • Driver/guide
  • Live commentary on board
  • Whale Watch Cruise (or scenic flight if cruise cancelled – price may vary)
  • Lunch
  • Bottled water
  • Coffee and/or Tea

What past guests loved about this tour: 

“Peter our tour guide did a fantastic job planning the trip and arranging everything. Due to the recent cyclone we had to take a different inland route rather then driving along the ocean front. This made for a great time viewing the inland sights on our first trip to the South Island. The vehicle was very new and comfortable. Peter did the best running commentary of the four tours we did with a history of the areas and got into how the geography was created over time. The crew on the whale watching boat was great. We were able to see four sperm whales, porpoises, fur seals and many different sea birds. Overall it was the best tour we did while on the South Island. My best photo of the whales submerging watches the photo in the advert for the whale watching.”

– Thomas_M  (read more reviews)

4.Private Wildlife Kayaking Tour – Kaikoura

Whale watching auckland

Photo credit to Viator

⭐Rating: 5 out of 5 stars – With 900 positive reviews!  | ⌛ TOUR LENGTH: 4.5 hours 

Why choose this tour? 

This tour is another personal favorite! It’s thrilling, fascinating, and perfect for adventurous travelers. If you want some sugar and spice sprinkled in your unforgettable memories during your stay in New Zealand, then this is the perfect tour for you. 

This private 3.5-hour kayak excursion will get you up and personal with some of Kaikoura’s stunning native animals. There is no way you won’t encounter fur seals, and the odds of encountering other forms of animals are rather strong. 

Explore the Kaikoura shoreline and the surrounding highlands while keeping an eye out for fur seals, dusky dolphins, and blue penguins.

This tour is not the typical whale and dolphin watching Auckland, but this tour is definitely worth checking out. 

The Private Wildlife Kayaking Tour – Kaikoura includes

  • Dry bags for cameras, all kayaking equipment, paddle jackets, wet shoes, spray skirts, dry pants, gloves, and hats over the winter months.
  • Private transportation

What past guests loved about this tour: 

“Such an amazing experience. Miles and Emma were fantastic. My husband, myself and our 5 year old daughter booked a private kayaking tour. We were surrounded by playful dolphins. It was an experience we will never forget!”

– Tripadvisor Reviwer (read more reviews)

5.Dolphin And Whale Watching Safari Auckland Cruise

Whale watching auckland

Photo credit to Viator

⭐Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars | ⌛ TOUR LENGTH: 4 hours

Why choose this tour? 

Your whale viewing experiences in Auckland, New Zealand, will be complete once you have participated in our Auckland whale & dolphin safari.

On board a spacious cruise ship, this Auckland dolphin and whale watching tour will take you through the amazing wonders that New Zealand has to offer.

Imagine witnessing everyone’s favorite airborne action when whales blast their entire bodies out of the water in a majestic breach! Such an enthralling experience to see it in real life with this whale and dolphin cruise Auckland.

You can’t possibly put that unforgettable moment out of your mind!

It is highly recommended that you check out this trip on the application on your mobile to take advantage of Auckland whale and dolphin safari discounts.

The Auckland Whale and Dolphin Watching Cruise includes:

  • Admission to: Hauraki Gulf Marine Park
  • Live commentary on board
  • 4-hours cruise

What past guests loved about this tour: 

“Auckland Whale & Dolphin watching cruise was one of our most memorable activities during our 14 days New Zealand family trip. We were so lucky and blessed that the weather on our activity day was so good & we were so excited to chase the dolphins in the sea.”

– Ngieng ( read more reviews)

6.Swimming with Wild Dolphins in Akaroa

Whale watching auckland

Photo credit to Klook

⭐Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars  | ⌛ TOUR LENGTH: 3.3 hours

Why choose this tour? 

This tour is located slightly further than Auckland and is not exactly an Auckland whale watching tour. But let me tell you why you should include this tour in your itinerary. This tour is one of a kind tour that you will not find anywhere else in the world. 

At Akaroa Harbour, visitors get the opportunity to interact with Hector’s dolphins, which are exclusive to New Zealand and can be seen nowhere else in the world. 

While traveling through the protected harbor on a jet-powered catamaran so that you may swim up close to the world’s finest and rarest dolphins, you will receive instruction from the crew on how to engage with them in a safe manner. 

The maximum number of swimmers allowed on each watercraft is 12, which makes for an enjoyable and personal experience in a more private setting. 

Along with wetsuits and masks, you’ll also have access to a hot shower and refreshments while you’re on board.

The Swimming with Wild Dolphins in Akaroa includes:

  • 3-hours Including suiting up/showers (2 hrs out on the water)
  • Wetsuit and mask (for those swimming)
  • Hot Beverage
  • Includes a full, live commentary from skipper
  • Hot Shower Facilities

What past guests loved about this tour: 

“The crew was phenomenal and we saw a ton of dolphins. Would highly recommend. We were on the larger of the 2 boats in size which definitely made it more enjoyable because we could stand outside.”

– Robert_B (read more reviews)

7.Whale Watching in Kaikoura by Boat

Whale watching auckland

Photo credit to Viator

⭐Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars | ⌛ TOUR LENGTH: 4 hours

Why choose this tour? 

It’s a complete tour with everything you possibly need to be close to the whales. This tour will liven up your standard expectation and surprise you more than you think! 

You will be accompanied by heaps of dolphins, seals as well as sperm whales.

The Whale Watching in Kaikoura by Boat includes:

  • Tours operates all year round 
  • Modern fleet of purpose built catamarans 
  • 95% success rate backed up by an 80% refund if your tour does not see a whale 
  • Experienced knowledgeable staff providing a running commentary throughout your tour 
  • Award winning onboard animations 
  • Bus ride to and from our marina

What past guests loved about this tour: 

“Saw a sperm whale surface and dive. Also saw about 100 dolphins, as well as a small pod of hector’s dolphins. Seals and a heap of jelly fish!”

– Elen_N (read more reviews)

FAQs On Whale Watching Tours In Auckland

When can you see whales in New Zealand in Auckland?

The best time to watch whales and dolphins in Auckland is any time of year! The most incredible time to go for a New Zealand whale-watching trip is whenever you’re ready to go whale watching since we see whales year-round.

What time of year can you see whales in New Zealand?

There is no specific Auckland whale watching season. Still, if you are looking for orcas, it is possible to spot New Zealand orcas (also known as killer whales) from December to March and humpback whales in June and July

In this region, viewing many species of dolphins virtually every day is possible.

What time of year is best to go whale watching?

June to October is often considered the whale-watching Auckland best time of year, but any time of year is a terrific opportunity to get up and personal with these gentle giants. For orca-watching New Zealand, it is best to go between December to March.

What is the best place to watch whales in New Zealand?

The best place to watch whales in New Zealand is in Kaikoura. It is one of the few spots in the world where it is possible to readily catch sight of the Giant Sperm Whale, the world’s biggest-toothed predator, throughout the year. Choose one whale tour in Auckland, and you’re good to go.

Whale, What Are You Waiting For? 

Now that you have reached the end of the article, are you excited to get on board the plane and fly to New Zealand to see various species of wildlife?!

No other tours can get you up close to whales, dolphins, and other wildlife in the stunning Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf Marine Park. Whether you are looking for a whale-watching Auckland tour or a dolphin whale-watching Auckland tour, New Zealand has the best of both worlds to offer. 

And if you are staying longer, you should head down to Kaikoura or Akaroa for another magical encounter with giant sperm whales! Whale-watching NZ best time is any time of the year. 

Now, the only thing you have to do is pick a suitable tour for you. 

If you like this whale-watching in New Zealand Auckland, and Kaikoura article and find it helpful, don’t forget to share it with your family and friends!

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