Whale Experience and History Tour


  • No Seasickness Guarantee
  • Migrating Humpback Whales
  • Perano Whaling Station
  • NZ’s Only Whale Station Tour

Buy This Tour as a Gift Voucher.

Tour info in brief

4 hours
8.00 AM
Pricing: Adult: $145 (16+ years)
Child: $125 (12-15)
Infant: NA
Location: 1 Wellington Street , Picton
Briefing: 7.45 AM

No Seasickness Guarantee

About the Tour

Join us as we take you on a unique whale experience that encompasses a little know part of NZ’s whaling history – and hopefully a few migrating Whales in the Cook Strait.🐋

  • Only available in limited numbers
  • 30 passengers per tour
  • Limited availability during winter, only during the annual whale migration
  • New Zealand’s first whale migration tour
  • New Zeland,s only Restored Department of Conservation Whale Station

What to expect

Tour includes our NZ only ‘no seasickness guarantee

Possible whale sightings found on this tour🐋:

  • Humpback Whales
  • Southern Right Whales

Please note that we cannot control exactly when and where the whales will be (that’s the nature of nature!).  While we see whales 70% of the time our core focus is on the historical and educational aspects of the Perano Whale Station and it’s unique story.

Perano Whale Station

We cruise from Picton to the historic Perano Whaling Station through the calm, beautiful and majestic Queen Charlotte Sound to the Tory Channel, seeing a variety of marine wildlife on the way.

The Perano Whaling Station is the only restored whaling station in New Zealand.

From Hunters to Conservationists – This is an Incredible Kiwi Story.

You will be able to see and touch actual machinery used during New Zealand’s whaling era.

You will experience a specially commissioned audio-visual presentation that tells the stories of the whaling era in the whalers’ old recreation building.

See how whalers and their families lived and worked back in those days at this beautiful but isolated location.

How they changed from hunters to conservationists and became part of the Department of Conservation whale migration survey for ten years.

You will have time to wander the station to touch and feel the artefacts, go to the working station floor and touch the winches and machinery.

Experience History

Measure out a whale and hear the stories and read the Department of Conservation information on display at their facility.

You will get a genuine feel for what it was to be a whaler two centuries ago.

This area historically is where whaling began in 1829 as it was prolific and is the best place in New Zealand to see migrating whales over the winter months.

This area had 10 operational Whale Stations as it was hugely prolific in Whales.

Now the whales are returning to their traditional migration route, directly passing the old restored Perano Whale Station at Tory Channel entrance.

Also, you will see a display on current whale research; learn about the increasing migrating whale population and the Cook Strait Whale Survey.

World Cetacean Alliance (WCA) Partner

We are the first SMART operator also to become a WCA Partner to help promote ocean conservation on a global scale.

Can you spot a whale?

Get your own set of binoculars and Whale ID cards and help to find a whale while onboard our fully covered and stable vessel.

We stay inshore within 2km of the coastline as this gives us the best chance of a sighting.

Experience what it is like to see migrating Baleen Whales as they travel on the surface in this whale hotspot.

During the 2015 season, an incredible 140 Whales were recorded in 30 days.

Every year more Baleen Whales migrate, and you can be one of the very few people able to observe this.

This is your opportunity to experience New Zealand history and our new focus on Ocean Conservation.

Please Note:
Going out into Cook Strait is subject to acceptable weather conditions assessed on the day from the Whale Station.
Whale sightings are not guaranteed – we see whales 70% of the time.

2019 Departure Dates and Times

  • Starting approximately 20th May and finishing 20th August
  • Sundays and Wednesdays
  • 0800 – 1200
  • or afternoon booking for groups over 8 on request, 12.30 – 5.30
  • Other days possible for group booking over 10 passengers(please contact us)


  • $145 per Adult passenger
  • $125 per Child passenger

How to Book

A fantastic opportunity for a limited number of people to fully immerse themselves in a whale experience during annual migration.

See and feel the history, see the conservation in action and go out to sea in a boat looking for the migrating giants traveling on the surface close to shore.

What to bring

  • Camera
  • Suncream
  • Dress warmly and wear flat shoes.
  • If you wish to spend time on the outside decks of our vessels you may need light waterproof clothing depending on the sea conditions.

Where are we?

We are located conveniently on Picton’s main waterfront with car parking close by and only a 1-minute walk from the main street.

Just look for the Dusky Dolphin outside our shop.

Before your tour starts feel free to take a seat inside the shop or outside on our sun drenched deck and enjoy the stunning views.

Customers can also get online with our free WiFi, and purchase a tea or coffee to enjoy on the deck.

You will Never Miss your Ferry

Our tour schedules are integrated with the Interislander – so there is no chance that you’ll miss your ferry.

What people are saying about us

“Absolutely brilliant”

Facebook – 5 Star *****

Absolutely brilliant, we were blessed enough to see 2 humpback whales.
The Perano whale station Is a must if you are into our local history.????

“A fantastic time”

Facebook – 5 Star *****

We had a fantastic time yesterday – we saw whales! (and dolphins and fur seals and all sorts of seabirds)

“What a great trip”

Trip Advisor – 5 Star *****

What a great trip out to see migrating whales in Cook Strait. When we got into Cook Strait I wondered how we were going to be able to see any whales as the area is so vast. But Paul had it covered with whale spotters up the hill and they saw two large whales quite quickly. They surfaced about 8 times close to the boat. What an awesome experience. We also went to the old whaling station which was great background information. Put this on your list. But they only migrate in winter so book in quick.

“An excellent morning out”

Trip Advisor – 5 Star *****

We went out on this trip today in overcast weather, towards Cook strait via the Tory channel. This is an amazing trip with a skipper who is very passionate about conservation and his first mate who made passengers comfortable and looked after the periphery of the boat. The commentary was knowledgeable and the video at the whaling station was excellent. It was a good day to go, alas no whales were sighted (one maybe but too hard to tell): for all that it was an excellent morning out and the competency of the skipper and crew is to be commended, thank you so much.