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5 wild adventures in New Zealand's natural playground

5 wild adventures in New Zealand's natural playground

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Whale Watching

Kaikoura

“With its vast landscape of mountains, deep fjords, rainforests, glaciers and bubbling geo- thermal pools, the country has adventures for everyone,” says Cristabel Nye, charter broker at Camper & Nicholsons. There are few places in the country where this sentiment is more accurate than Kaikoura.

Sited on the northeast coastline of the South Island and one of the best places to go whale watching, Kaikoura was affected by an earthquake last November. However, according to our local contacts, all local sealife and marine mammals are as abundant as they ever were. Local divemasters, restaurateurs and tourism chiefs are keen that yachts sail in and help the local economy. Once you do you won’t be disappointed. New Zealand fur seals bask on the shoreline’s rocks and pods of dusky dolphins play hide- and-seek amid the ocean waves.

But it’s the giant sperm whales – many of them weighing more than 60 tonnes – that render this destination an Instagram sensation. Year-round, more than half a dozen whale species also congregate in the waters that surround Kaikoura, including more elusive orcas, humpback and blue whales. Grab your binoculars, then spy these sleek forms slicing the sea’s surface from the comfort of your deck. Alternatively, spot these supreme specimens from a helicopter, taking in thousand-mile sweeps of marine landscape with imposing mountains beyond.

An exciting day spent observing these majestic creatures is a surefire way to whet the appetite. Crack open a bottle of Marlborough sauvignon blanc and ask your chef to prepare a platter of crayfish. As the name Kaikoura means “meal of crayfish” in Māori, the lobster couldn’t get any more local.

Picture courtesy of Gettyimages.co.uk

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