Posted by: Tanmoy Chakrabarti | April 14, 2009

Christchurch – Kaikoura

People visit Kaikoura to watch the whales and our intention were the same too. It is situated in the Northern part of Canterbury district and is located on a rocky peninsula. I have heard that marine life is quite active here and that is why Kaikoura is so famous a destination for whale watching.

A bit of historical reading says, that in 1770 Captain Cook first discovered Kaikoura peninsula.

Way to Kaikoura

Way to Kaikoura

We took the Intercity bus from Christchurch on a cold morning to Kaikoura and reached in two hours or so. It is an unusually small town. The last forty minutes of the journey was through very beautiful scenery. On one side of the roads were mountains and on the other very rough sea. I am sure people who have done road trips in Australia have seen such beautiful roads but for us it was for the first time when we were traveling on such a road.

I was very excited to see waves splashing on the rocks and at the same time the bus hiding inside the tunnels.

Kaikoura Town

Kaikoura Town

After reaching Kaikoura we had a brunch at one of the Cafés named ‘Why Not Café. It was time to go watching the whales. However, this was a bit of a dampener. We were informed that the whale trips are canceled since the whales have moved further inside the ocean and nobody can take us there.

I don’t know whether the environmental reasons can be attributed to this behavior of the whales but it was enough to make us feel sad. In New Zealand, though if one option to enjoy is canceled there seems to be a new alternative always coming up.

For us, who have hardly experienced much in our lifetime that is why it seems uniqueness is just round the corner.
After getting disappointed with the whale watch, that is why, we decided to take our first ride on a chopper up the mountains. We have never been on a chopper and after reaching New Zealand, we are seeing so many that it did not take us a lot of time to decide on it.



The helicopter can take only four people (including the pilot) and since there were three of us; we were having a helicopter of our own. Soon we were on our journey on a chopper up the Mt. Fyffe summit.

From the summit

From the summit

View of the Kaikoura town - surprisingly it is shaped like a whale tail

View of the Kaikoura town - surprisingly it is shaped like a whale tail

It was a new experience, looking at the town, the sea from top. It was brilliant to see the snow capped mountains so closely. We spent some time on the snowy summit and took some pictures and were back.

Yes, we did not see the tail of the whale but we did not regret it at the end of the day.

People in New Zealand are so used to doing skydiving, bungee jumps, air-ballooning etc but for the time being we are content with the helicopter ride. I am not sure whether we shall ever do a skydiving or bungee jumping but I am almost certain we shall always remember our first helicopter ride.

As far as the whales are concerned, I feel they treat us like Paparazzi. I cannot blame them for treating humans like that. I hope wherever they are, they are happy and safe.



As far as we were concerned the Kaikoura trip could have been a disaster without the whale but thankfully we
become happy with small things. The chopper ride was certainly not small amusement for us.



  1. Thanks for helping so many of us to see the world through your eyes. And the photo at the end was witty indeed! Enjoy yourselves to the fullest…

  2. Snow capped untamed mountains and shiny bluey iridescent aspect of the sea….does it really sparkle like that? My knowledge of NZ is limited to the OT. But ‘am learning a lot more at Tan’s 🙂 Lovely. All the posts.

  3. Helicopters = fun! My wife has never been on one, and I might have to change that. We probably should’ve done it in NZ, but Sedona (near us) is also spectacular.

    By the way, I have a new internet home … I went self-hosted and am now at

    I’m looking forward to reading what you think of Franz Josef when you get down there.

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