Kaikōura is a charming coastal town in NZ’s South Island, offering marine life encounters, scenic coastal walks, delicious local seafood and amazing accommodation options. Explore Kaikoura on land and sea for an unforgettable taste of New Zealand.
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Kaikōura offers a diverse range of accommodation options for every traveller. From centrally located, affordable motel rooms, beachside camping, through to luxury hotels and unique apartment stays in stunning locations. You are sure to find the perfect place to base yourself while staying in Kaikōura.
Getting Around in Kaikōura
No transport? No worries.
Kaikōura Shuttles offers a comprehensive transport service in and around Kaikōura, as well as private transfers from Christchurch, Blenheim and Picton or anywhere in between. They also offer local sightseeing tours to see the best spots in Kaikōura.
Things to Do in Kaikōura
Kaikōura is renowned for its whale watching opportunities. Take a scenic flight to see sperm whales, orcas, dolphins, and other marine life by air in their natural habitat.
Experience swimming with the friendly Dusky dolphins. Kaikōura is one of the best places in the world to encounter dolphins year-round in their natural environment. It’s just you, the open ocean and Kaikōura’s wild Dusky Dolphins. One of the most interactive and acrobatic species of dolphin, they’re thrilling to watch and magical to interact with. With one of the highest success rates in the world, this bucket list experience is one you will never forget! Join the tour as a spectator if you don’t think the swim option is for you.
Albatross and a range of other seabird species frequent the Kaikōura coastline all year round and the Albatross Encounter tour enables a close-up view of these magnificent seabirds to be possible. After a short boat ride you’re in an entirely new world, where you’ll discover a large variety of pelagic birds including albatross, shearwaters, petrels, penguins, gannets, skuas, terns and more.
Seal Colony Visits
Visit the Ohau Point Seal Colony and witness the seals lounging on the rocks. It’s a great spot for photography and observing these fascinating creatures up close.
Get up close and personal with Fur Seals, Blue Penguins, Albatross, Rays, Fish, and many more wildlife species on a pedal kayak tour. Easier, faster, hands-free, pedal or paddle kayaks, and New Zealand’s first and only kayak tour of its kind.
Get a bird’s eye view of Kaikōura ‘s stunning landscapes by taking a scenic flight. Enjoy breathtaking views of the coastline, mountains, and marine life from above.
Enjoy an epic multi-day river rafting journey on the Clarence River through the rough, untouched country situated between Hanmer Springs and Kaikōura.
Coastal Walks and Hikes
Kaikōura offers various walking and hiking trails suitable for different skill levels. The Peninsula Walkway and the Kaikōura Peninsula Track offer spectacular views of the ocean and wildlife.
Take a fishing charter for a chance to catch some local fish species. The area is known for its abundant marine life, making it a fantastic fishing destination. Join a budget-friendly guided fishing and cray fishing charter, and picturesque boat excursions in the stunning South Island.
Scuba Diving and Snorkeling
Discover the underwater world by scuba diving or snorkeling. Experience the diverse marine life, including colorful fish, crayfish, and other fascinating sea creatures.
Visit ornamental lavender gardens featuring 50 different varieties of lavender in large displays, farm animals, tea room and shop.
Sample fresh seafood from the local restaurants and cafes. Kaikōura is famous for its delicious crayfish (lobster) dishes and seafood delicacies.
Experience the stunning night sky in Kaikoura. Find a spot away from the city lights to witness the beauty of the southern hemisphere’s stars.
The coastline itself is stunning, with its rocky shores and pristine beaches. The area is known for its rich marine life, including whales, dolphins, seals, and seabirds.
Inland from the town lies the Kaikoura Ranges, providing opportunities for hiking, trekking, and enjoying the spectacular views of the surrounding landscape.
This historic building, nestled among gardens and overlooking the ocean, provides insights into the region’s past and offers stunning views of the coastline.
There are numerous viewpoints and lookout spots around Kaikōura that offer panoramic views of the ocean, coastline, and surrounding mountains.
Maori Leap Cave
A historic cave known for its Maori legends and geological features, located a short drive from Kaikōura.
The Best Seafood Restaurants in Kaikōura
The Craypot – Known for its fresh seafood, especially crayfish, The Craypot offers a variety of dishes showcasing the local catch in a casual dining setting.
The Pier Hotel Restaurant – Situated with a beautiful view of the ocean, this restaurant serves delicious seafood dishes, including locally caught crayfish and other seafood specialties.
Kaikōura Seafood BBQ Kiosk – This kiosk is perfect for a quick, casual bite. They serve freshly grilled seafood like crayfish, fish and chips, and other seafood delights.
Nin’s Bin – While not a traditional restaurant, Nin’s Bin is a famous roadside stop for fresh crayfish (lobster) sold from a caravan. It’s a popular spot for those wanting to enjoy this delicacy on the go or right on the beach nearby.