Kaikoura Things to Do

  • View from Kaikoura?
    View from Kaikoura?
    by John195123
  • Whale Watch Boats.
    Whale Watch Boats.
    by John195123
  • Whale Watch Guide.
    Whale Watch Guide.
    by John195123

Most Recent Things to Do in Kaikoura

  • John195123's Profile Photo

    Whale Watching in Comfort and Style

    by John195123 Written Feb 17, 2014
    View from Kaikoura?
    4 more images

    Kaikoura's Whale Watch is a great way to get off the shore and see some unique wildlife. Great for kids and adults, they offer many tours throughout the day and have good, competent and knowledgeable crews.

    Visit their website for tickets and information. Adults, $145. Children, $60.

    Phone: +64 3 319 6767

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Seniors
    • Whale Watching

    Was this review helpful?

  • dutchboycalledjan's Profile Photo

    Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway

    by dutchboycalledjan Written Jan 24, 2013
    The small garden mext to the oldest house
    4 more images

    We walked this about 12 km path in about 5 hours, taking our time. From the i-Site, follow the coast (The Esplanade) and the distinctive marker posts. After Point Kean, the track leaves the road and with a few steps we walked the cliffs. Superb views, mountains, ocean, limestone beaches and landscape. We didn´t see many seals, but we had had our share the other day. I did almost stumble on one when i was looking for a short cut along the beach behind the wharf.

    At the South Bay there is a part of the track easy , well laid out, suitable for wheel chairs. Back via Toms Track is interesting, as it is very steep at a few places. Don't forget to lunch at Armers Beach!

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking

    Was this review helpful?

  • dutchboycalledjan's Profile Photo

    Hinau Track

    by dutchboycalledjan Written Jan 24, 2013
    Overview of the tracks at the car park
    1 more image

    An easy, short walk (30 - 45 min) through a dense forest with a number of large hinua trees. You cross a small river twice, walking on either side. The access is from the Mt Fyffe car park, well sign posted. After the ling, strait roads, a few km of winding dirt road. The i-Site has a leaflet abot the walk(s).

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Mountain Climbing

    Was this review helpful?

  • kiwi's Profile Photo

    Helicopter Whale Watching

    by kiwi Updated Sep 17, 2012
    Helo Whale Watching
    2 more images

    KAIKOURA WHALE WATCHING

    We chose on this day, to do the helicopter whalewatch, rather than the boat version. We were not disappointed and found it met our expectations as well as our needs.
    We could see the boats below us hitting the waves and the ride looked a little rough, so the helicopter ride was more comfortable especially as I personally suffer severe motion sickness. We were very comfortable in the helicopter and the trip was a very lot faster.
    Sadly we only saw one whale, but it's the luck of the day, I guess we were lucky to even see that one!

    Related to:
    • Eco-Tourism
    • Whale Watching
    • Adventure Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Kakapo2's Profile Photo

    Dolphin and Albatross Encounters

    by Kakapo2 Updated Nov 22, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Dusky dolphins are very playful.

    Update November 2011

    Holy moly! I have just seen that I have only talked about it in the travel forum but I have missed to give you an update on the Dolphin Encounter experience I had in February.

    Well and truly: This was one of the best things I have done in New Zealand. My friend did the swim with dolphins thing, I was happy to watch and take photos only, as I am not very fond of the sea - but very, very fond of dolphins. Most swimmers threw up afterwards... Swimming with dolphins BTW sounds easier than it is. You have to kind of sing to attract the dolphins while snorkeling, and everybody swallowed a lot of water.

    We got to see so many dolphins, it was just incredible, just a you see it on the Dolphin Encounter website. (But be aware that this was the best time of the year for it.) And they did zillions of jumps and somersaults, it was fascinating. Be sure to bring a camera with good zoom, if you have one. The other great thing about the dolphin tour, compared to the whale watch tour, is that it does not take long to get to the area where the dolphins usually hang out whereas you spend a looooooooooong time to get to the whales' action - and the same way back...



    Perhaps you have already seen whales, or are far more interested in sea birds and dolphins, then the Albatross and the Dolphin Encounter in Kaikoura are the thing for you to do. If you are interested in all wildlife off Kaikoura's coast I would go on a whale watch tour first because there you have the chance to spot albatrosses and dusky dolphins as well, so perhaps there would be no absolute need to pay for other tours.

    Of course, you will see more albatrosses, mollymawks, fulmars, fairy prions and turnstones on a specially designed birdwatch tour, and someone would be able to explain what you actually see, as big flocks of those sea birds are more common closer to the shore. With dolphins it is more a matter of luck. But with Dolphin Encounter you have the chance to swim with the dolphins - but be aware that a permit system restricts the number of swimmers in the water, so book a dolphin swim well in advance.

    In summer the dusky dolphins, having a reputation for their acrobatics, showing jumps, somersaults, side slaps and back flips, come very close to the shore, so there is even a chance to spot them from the beaches.

    The pods can have incredible sizes, ranging from 100 to well in the thousands. Generally they range from 100 to 300, sometimes to 600. Calves are born between September and December.

    Dolphin Explorer clarifies that the swimming encounters are no "Flipper" experience with touching but that the tours are totally on the dolphins' terms.

    Minimum age for children is 8 years but if the sea is not smooth they tend to increase the minimum age. Children should already have snorekeling experience and should have been swimming in the open ocean.

    It is also fascinating which big variety of sea and shore birds you find along the Kaikoura coast. The deep ocean canyon systems which provide abundant food attract all those species.

    Also, when you drive along SH1 and along the Kaikoura Peninsula you will see an incredible lot of birds sitting on the rocks.

    Not to forget the seals (with whom you can also swim) - but this is another story.

    Prices (from December 2011)
    Albatross Encounter: adults $115, children $55; extended tour (minimum numbers required) $150, children $75.
    Dolphins: adults swimming $170, spectator $80; children $155/40.



    To get an idea how fantastic a dolphin watch tour can be, please have a look at the travelogues at the bottom of the intro page.

    Related to:
    • Birdwatching
    • Eco-Tourism
    • Beaches

    Was this review helpful?

  • Swimming with the Seals

    by Quessera Written Nov 19, 2010

    If you are in Kaikoura don't miss the Seal Swim. You can book with Vanessa at the office in Kaikoura (Ph (03)319 6182; see also www.sealswimkaikoura.co.nz). Matt, her brother will take you out to the seals and provide you with all the information you need. You will swimm with the seals, watch them play and marvel at you with their huge eyes. We loved the trip!

    Related to:
    • Diving and Snorkeling
    • Eco-Tourism

    Was this review helpful?

  • Kaikoura-A worthy place for whale watching

    by SandraThomas Written Oct 19, 2010

    Kailaoura is s small town which lies around a coat where there is a deep water patch at which warm and cold currents meet. We saw a lot of whales and dolphins.  Also there is some really cool hiking in this area where you can see a ton of seals. Kaikoura is BEAUTIFUL! Also, do a Kaikoura picnic...a bottle of local Sauvignon Blanc and a fresh crayfish right on the ocean, bliss.
    http://www.australiavoyage.net/whale-watching-in-new-zealand.html

    Related to:
    • Fishing
    • Diving and Snorkeling
    • Whale Watching

    Was this review helpful?

  • DSwede's Profile Photo

    Baby Seals playing in the Stream

    by DSwede Updated Oct 17, 2010

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Baby pups playing in the pools

    While most people stop at the seal colony along the rocks, not everyone knows to stop at the baby seal playground. I debated whether I should post this or not, but decided the amount of people who may read this would not cause a massive influx of traffic.

    Just any kid, baby seals like to mimic their parents. The problem is that the rocks, waves and ocean tides may be a bit too much for the younger pups. They have to learn the ropes so to speak.

    To do this, they go upstream a couple hundred meters into a series of small pools and waterfalls. The splash about in the pools, work on their skills, build their strength and eventually graduate to the open ocean.

    The pups are young and curious, but you should keep your distance. They often take naps in the woods, so watch where you are walking too.

    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Hiking and Walking

    Was this review helpful?

  • elpariente's Profile Photo

    Venados / Deers

    by elpariente Written Feb 6, 2010

    Nos sorpredió ver granjas de venados al lado de las carreteras , sabíamos lo de las ovejas y las vacas como todo el mundo , pero no teníamos ni idea de los venados

    We were surprised to see deer farms alongside roads, we knew about the sheep and cows farms as everyone, but we had no idea of the deer

    Was this review helpful?

  • elpariente's Profile Photo

    Leones marinos / Sea Lions

    by elpariente Written Feb 6, 2010

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    2 more images

    En Kaikorua pudimos ver muchísimos lobos marinos En algunas zonas pudimos ver decenas de ellos tomando tranquilamente el sol , pero eso si el olor que producen es muy fuerte
    Había hembras, machos y crías, y se podían observar desde muy cerca
    En las zonas donde habitan hay unas algas muy características que tienen la longitud de varios metro y que por cierto no se como se llaman y que las veremos por toda la costa de Nueva Zelanda

    In Kaikorua we saw many sea lions , in some areas could see dozens of them quietly under the sun, but that the smell they produce is very strong
    There were females, males and young that could be observed very close
    In this areas where they live there are some algae ( seaweed) very characteristics that have the length of several meters and by the way I do not know how they are called and that we will see them along all the coast of New Zealand

    Was this review helpful?

  • elpariente's Profile Photo

    Sin ballenas no hay dinero / No whales , no money

    by elpariente Written Feb 6, 2010

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    1 more image

    Las ballenas han cambiado la cultura de este pueblo que hora se recibe gran cantidad de turistas que vienen a ver sus ballenas y que de paso se comen a sus langostas
    El avistado de las ballenas lo lleva una compañía que se llama Whale Watch , que tiene toda la infraestructura desde la zona de compra de billetes y exhibición hasta los barcos super modernos y equipados con todo tipo se sonares para detectar a las ballenas y un equipo de personas muy simpático y competetente . La excurión dura unas cuatro horas y en el 98% de los casos avistan ballenas
    Ejemplo del informe de de avistamientos el 3 de febrero 2010 :
    El viento está en calma, el mar está en calma, y el cielo está nublado.
    Avistamientos : 3 cachalotes, 5 orcas , 100 focas, aves : Hutton Shearwater, Buller's Shearwater, Puffinus griseus, Westland Petrel, Petrel Negro, el petrel, el petrel gigante subantártico, Antártida Fulmar, White-fronted Tern, Morus serrator
    Después de todo esto tenemos que decir que nosotro pertenecemos al grupo del 2% de personas que no ven ballenas, menudo chasco , medio mareados pues el mar estaba muy fuerte y sin ver ni una sóla ballena . El único consuelo es que nos devolvieron el dinero al final del viaje pues es el compromiso que tiene la compañía ( Si no hay ballenas no hay dinero )
    Tenemos que organizar otra visita a Kaikorua pues tenemos aún una cita pendiente con las ballenas
    The whales have changed the culture of this town that that actually is receiving a large numbers of tourists who come to see the whales and to eat their lobsters
    The whale watching is run by a company called Whale Watch, which has all the infrastructure in a ticketing and exhibition area , the ships super modern and equipped with all type of sonar to detect whales and a very nice and helpful team of people . The trip takes about four hours and and 98% of cases they see whales
    Sample report of sightings on 3 February 2010:
    The wind is calm, the sea is calm and the sky is overcast.
    Sightings: 3 sperm whales, 5 Orcas, 100 seals, birds: Hutton's Shearwater, Buller's Shearwater, Puffinus griseus, Westland Petrel, Black Petrel, Cape Petrel, Northern Giant Petrel, Antarctic Fulmar, White-fronted Tern, Morus serrator
    After all this , we must say that we belong to the group of the 2% of people who do not see whales, what a pitty,because we were half dizzy because the sea was very strong and without seeing a single whale. The only consolation is that they returned us the money at the end of the trip , as it is the commitment that the company (No whales , no money)
    We must plan a new visit to Kaikorua as we have pending a meeting with the whales

    Was this review helpful?

  • BurgerQueen's Profile Photo

    Whale watching

    by BurgerQueen Updated Aug 14, 2009
    Sperm whale tail, Kaikoura, NZ
    4 more images

    Whale watching is Kaikoura's main attraction. The ocean in front of Kaikoura is very deep, the ocean floor takes the shape on a canyon where many species of sea animals find the perfect place to live. Young sperm whales spend here their time before they are ready to mate in warmer waters.
    There are 2 ways of whatching whales: either by flying on the canyon area with small planes and helicopters or with special boats equipped with radars. We went for the boat option, despite the rough sea, we preferred a closer contact.
    We were lucky to find 2 seats on the last tour of the day (because of the rough sea, some people cancelled their bookings), but I suggest pre-booking the tour in high season. The tour lasts 2h30 and costs 70NZ$ per person (I know it is expensive, but it is a unique experience!).
    After a fast ride on the sea, the captain will stop in the area where the whales were last seen, and thanks to radars and other equipments you will slowly move close to where the whale is about to come afloat, and you'll be watching it breathing and then diving from a few metres. While looking for whales we also bumped into 3 orcas and some dolphins. The boat crew will provide you with pieces of interesting information while the boat is moving and you'll be asked to stay inside with your seatbelt fastened.
    My husband and a few other passengers were sea sick while the boat was standing in the middle of the gulf, it may be a good idea not to drink before embarking.

    Related to:
    • Whale Watching
    • Family Travel
    • Cruise

    Was this review helpful?

  • BurgerQueen's Profile Photo

    State Highway 1 from Picton to Kaikoura

    by BurgerQueen Updated Aug 14, 2009
    WOW! Views from State Highway 1, NZ
    3 more images

    State Highway 1 from Picton to Kaikoura offers wonderful views on the Canterbury region and its wineyard, as well as on the South Pacific ocean coast. The highway is not busy at all and you can enjoy this wonderful views at your speed. We stopped a couple of time and had a walk on a black send beach facing a cobalt blue sea.

    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Road Trip
    • Eco-Tourism

    Was this review helpful?

  • BurgerQueen's Profile Photo

    Oahu Point seal colony

    by BurgerQueen Written Aug 14, 2009
    Relax! Oahu Point, NZ
    4 more images

    Oahu Point is 20km north of Kaikoura, and you cannot miss it if you are driving south from Picton. You'll start seeing seals swimming near the coast as you get close to Oahu, where some rocks offer a perfect shelter for fur seals and their puppies.
    Park your car close to the highway (there is no parking area), and watch the seals playing in the small natural pools between the rocks from a balcony. Don't get too close the seals and don't stand between the seals and the sea, it is their unique emergency exit!
    Be careful not to do car accidents as seals catch your attention!

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Budget Travel
    • Eco-Tourism

    Was this review helpful?

  • Kakapo2's Profile Photo

    St. Peter’s Anglican Church

    by Kakapo2 Updated Aug 6, 2009

    Kaikoura’s Anglican church is over 100 years old. The first service was held in 1903.

    The church replaced an older one from 1874 on the same site. The old St. Peter’s had just become too small. A year earlier the first Anglican church – St. James at Kowhai – had been built, and the little township had two Anglican churches. When attendance declined St. James was deconsecrated.

    Until today St. Peter’s is part of the Diocese of Nelson.

    The grounds are well established. The vicarage is on those grounds as well.

    Sunday service at 10am, Holy Communion every second Sunday at 8.30am, both followed by morning tea.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel
    • Religious Travel

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: Kaikoura

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

68 travelers online now

Comments

Kaikoura Things to Do

Reviews and photos of Kaikoura things to do posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Kaikoura sightseeing.

View all Kaikoura hotels