08 January 2022

Having a Whale of a Time - Air Kaikoura to Wellington

My second airline adventure for the year was with Air Kaikoura on their Kaikoura-Wellington service.

Air Kaikoura started the twice weekly service in May 2020 to help stimulate the Kaikoura economy after the Covid lockdown. The VFR service was offered on a regular basis until February 2021 and now just operates at peak weekends with flights offered on Fridays and Sundays.

Air Kaikoura's Murray Hamilton told me that whale watching was down some 90% reflecting the lack of international tourists. Air Kaikoura, however, is not adverse to rising to the challenge. The air service was a reflection of this. The operator is also running regular seafood freight flights from Kaikoura to Wellington carring crayfish and paua. Air Kaikoura is also active in stimulating flying training in the local community and offering Airvan ratings. And watch this space for their next initiative!

While there were no whales to be seen I had a whale of a time. In these days when the smaller operators have been struggling it was great to support another airline in a small way. So if you're passing an airfield where some of our airline operators are flying consider giving them a go... and if Kaikoura is that airfield you will get a warm welcome from the Air Kaikoura team.

Kaikoura Traffic, Echo Hotel Sierra rolling runway 23 departing north

Wings Over Whales' terminal and Airvan ZK-FSR

Air Kaikoura's hangar terminal and Airvan ZK-ORC

Looking to Pinnacle Rock

Setting heading north along the coast

The Kaikoura Peninsula

Downtown Kaikoura

Gloomy cloud ahead

As I was on the right hand side I didn't take many photos heading north

Cape Campbell in the haze

Cape Campbell lighthouse

Cape Campbell, Clifford Bay and Lake Grassmere

A trawler coming around the Cape with accompanying seagulls

Mid Strait

The North Island emerging from the haze

The winds and waves from the Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean meeting in Cook Strait

Our clearance was to enter via the Owhiro and City Sectors reporting approaching Island Bay

Wellington Airport on the left and the harbour entrance

Echo Hotel Sierra, join downwind right hand for 16

Coming up on Mount Victoria

Oriental Bay

The Straitsman which I took to Picton on Monday

Joining right base for 16

Thanks Lara for an awesome flight

And thank you Gippsland GA-8 Airvan ZK-EHS 


  1. Nice visual story of the journey. They should put Air Kaikoura on the side of the Airvan would complete it.

  2. They have... it's in black... white would have shown better

    1. I see it now. Could be a bit bigger and a logo for the tail would be a nice fit.

  3. Great shots of Kaikoura and a nice day to enjoy it all.

  4. Great photos and knowledge of the landmarks on the way Steve and Air Kaikoura for making this possible.

  5. How many Airvans are they operating??