One family holidaying at a popular Coromandel beach had the experience of a lifetime yesterday when their boat was surrounded by a pod of orca whales.
Aaron Craig, his wife Renee and their two kids had "the most amazing experience" of their lives yesterday when about 12 orcas started swimming around their boat at Matarangi.
Mr Craig said it was "amazing" to see the whales up close as they had seen a pod near the Whangapoua harbour before but the whales quickly swam away.
He said this time the orcas were swimming playfully around them and couple of other nearby boats for about 45 minutes.
A group of people on a small "tinny" boat were "standing there with their eyes dropping out" Mr Craig said.
He said everyone was in awe and his wife even shed a tear or two.
One bull orca even swam under their boat scratching it and Ms Craig said it looked like it was trying to keep them away from a calf.
By 1 NEWS NOW Reporter Millie McCaughan