Swim with Seals in Kaikoura

Swim with Seals in Kaikoura
Jason Nockels

Written by Jason Nockels

Hundreds of New Zealand fur seals call Kaikoura home with the coastline here providing an ideal location for seals of all ages. Adults can be seen lazing on the rocks, basking in the sun while the adolescents and pups play in the surf. It’s a fantastic location to get up close and personal with these amazing animals.

Swim with the seals

Seal Swim Kaikoura is a small family run business operating in town. They have been running seal swim tours since 1987 so you know you are in safe hands. This is one of the only places on the planet that you can get in the water and get up close and personal with seals. It’s an incredibly rewarding experience and one you’re not likely to forget in a hurry. In fact this is such a unique experience it was included in Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Best Marine Encounters.

Playful and inquisitive

Getting into the small Seal Swim boat the adventure begins with the search. Scoping out different spots, the optimal spot is dependent on the tides, the weather and of course the seal’s behaviour.

Once the location has been decided on, it’s time to swim! With your mask securely fastened, snorkel in your mouth, jump in and just wait. Within a matter of moments the playful and inquisitive seals come over to see what’s going on. It’s amazing just how close they come to you, flying through the water with ease, turning, spinning and putting on an incredible show – it’s absolutely amazing!

Brave the cold

The water in Kaikoura is anything but tropical but the guys at Seal Swim Kaikoura have you covered. Thick wetsuits, boots, gloves and hoods are all provided to keep you toasty in the cold conditions. Don’t let the cold water stop you getting out and interacting with these beautiful marine animals. When you get back on the boat, they have a special hot water hose for you to fill up your suit to keep you warm for the ride back to Kaikoura.

Trust us, you’ll be on such a high; you won’t even feel the cold. Once you’re back in town, jump back in your motorhome for a hot chocolate and reminisce about what will no doubt be yet another NZ highlight.

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