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Kaikoura whale watch tours to start again

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 30/12/2016

The operations were suspended after the magnitude 7.8 quake in November which lifted the sea floor around Kaikoura. © BROKER/REX/Shutterstock The operations were suspended after the magnitude 7.8 quake in November which lifted the sea floor around Kaikoura. n

Whale Watch Kaikoura says it will start operating whale watching trips from Monday.

The company suspended operations after the magnitude 7.8 quake in November which lifted the sea floor around Kaikoura and cut off access to the coastal tourism town.

Whale Watch Kaikoura says it has conducted a series of successful trials of a modified trailer unit to launch its vessel Tohora in the Kaikoura Marina where there has also been interim repair work.

"This is much like how we loaded our passengers in the old days of whale watching," the company says.

Founded in 1987, Whale Watch was a key factor in turning around the town's economy.

It's a local community trust that belongs to the Maori people of Kaikoura, who operate in partnership with their tribe Ngai Tahu.

The Ngati Kuri founders of Whale Watch mortgaged their houses to secure a loan to start the business. In the early days passengers travelled on board a small 6.7m inflatable vessel that carried eight passengers. The operator now has four modern catamarans specifically designed for whale watching.

The company says tourists can reach Kaikoura as the inland road is now fully open both ways, and State Highway 1 south of the town is also open between the hours of 6am - 8pm daily.

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