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Whale watching in Kaikoura, photo (cropped) courtesy of

Make sure to book a place to stay for the night in this amazing town- there’s a huge array of things to keep everyone interested and entertained here.

Kaikoura is renowned for its marine wildlife. The diverse landscape of Kaikoura is home to whales, dolphins, seals, an amazing array of fish and birdlife. View them from the air, by boat, from land or truly get out of your comfort zone by swimming with seals and dolphins. Nutrient rich currents supply food to this fabulous marine ecosystem, made all the more special by the stunning backdrop of the Seaward Kaikoura ranges.

From whale-watching tours to swimming with dolphins, or seals, albatross watching, snorkelling, diving, sea kayaking, and rides in glass-bottomed boats, the town offers a marine-based activity for everyone.

For landlubbers there’s the local arts and crafts trail, the Maori Leap Caves, wine tasting, the District Museum, horse trekking or golf.

The Kaikoura Peninsula walkway is a stunning route providing easy access for exploring the Peninsula and offers some of the best views of the coast, the mountains, and possibly wildlife, such as dolphins, seals, whales and birds. Information panels along the track give an insight into the history, geology, animals and plants of the area. The walk is ideal for families, with a 400m boardwalk beginning at the South Bay entrance providing accessibility to a broad range of users. The other main access is at the Point Kean car park. To fully explore and enjoy all that the walk has to offer, allow at least 3 hours to complete the whole track which extends to 11km. If you are short of time, there are several access points to the track which provide options for shorter walks.

Another very popular track is the Ohau Stream Walk , which starts 27km north of Kaikoura. From the carpark platform you can view the colony of NZ fur seals/kekeno. Across the road, a short walk takes you to a pretty waterfall, where, if you’re lucky, in winter months you can see seal pups playing in the pool. Remember not to approach seals, and to keep quiet, and watch the little darlings frolicing in the water.

What to do

  • Go whale watching
  • Hike the Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway
  • Swim with dolphins
  • Check out Fyffe House, built in the 1850s
  • Eat some fresh crayfish

More info

Where to stay

Find a property


Getting there

  • From Christchurch by road: 183km
  • From Hanmer Springs by road: 130km
  • From Nelson by road: 245km


Piwa perched