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Kaikoura is known as a scenic paradise where the mountains and the sea meet as one. Siutated on New Zealand’s South Island, it has been long heralded as one of the best places in the world to go whale watching and is renowned as being one of the rare few places where you can find year-round access to these magnificent animals. What many visitors don’t realise is that there’s so much more that Kaikoura has to offer.
While many visitors will venture to Kaikoura this winter to see the whales, we’ve been collating a list of alternative activities and experiences that are no less exciting, but not quite as grandiose as the gentle giants of the south pacific. When we asked our own Paul Carberry, he had this to say:
“There is so much more to Kaikoura than many realise. With the local mountains descending into deep sea trenches, the area has a stunning backdrop whichever way you look. Although the year round whale watching is a massive draw, search a little harder and there is so much more for those in the know.”
Holiday activity ideas in Kaikoura
Swim with Fur Seals
Topping our list of things to do is the opportunity to swim with local fur seals. The playful nature of the seals makes them ideal as their genuine interaction with swimmers makes all the more special, leaving you with a big grin and a lifelong memories. You can also use this opportunity to swim with dolphins (but seals are better!)
Visit the Fur Seal Nursery
If swimming with seals wasn’t enough, you can take a short drive north to Ohau Point to find a very special fur seal nursery. Here the seals take their pups inland to a secluded waterfall, where they leave them in safety while they go fishing at sea. Only a short walk from the main road, you can easily spend an hour watching them splash and play inches away from your feet.
Join the Local Fishermen
Heading seaward again, this time for a taste of local life, you can join a local fisherman to catch local blue cod and pull up the lobster pots. Not only is this a great chance to experience the bounty of the seas, but you’ll also have the chance to taste some of your sumptuous spoilers.
Sample Excellent Local Produce
A visit to Kaikoura is not complete without sampling the amazing range of local produce. The rich fertile soils producing spectacular wine at the Springbank Organic Winery, and a visit to one of the renowned seafood shacks for freshly caught crayfish a must for your visit. In fact the Maori translation of Kaikoura is the place of food for crayfish – ‘Kai’, meaning food, and ‘Koura’ which translates to ‘crayfish’.
See Albatross Nesting Grounds
One of the largest flying birds in the world, famed for possessing the world’s largest wingspan, the albatross has happily made Kaikoura its home. For the ‘twitcher’ in us all, trip to the albatross nesting grounds is time well spent, where the majesty of this brilliant bird taking flight will stay with you forever.
Stay In A Treehouse
Relive your childhood innocence and stay in a treehouse at Hapuku Lodge. Set 30 feet above the ground over a canopy of a native Manuka grove. Not only can you enjoy amazing views of the mountains and coast, you can relax in the intricate lodge interiors, but the lodges are also painstakingly finished with all of the interior furnishings hand crafted by local woodworkers.
Catch Some Waves In Mangamaunu
Venturing back to the sea, jump in the deep end and experience some of the best surfing in New Zealand has to offer. Just a short trip along the SH1 highway, its location is just right to create walls and swells that result in some truly epic surfing conditions.
Adventure Across Mt Fyffe
Although it makes for a spectacular backdrop, it’s highly recommended that you get up close and personal with Mt Fyffe. Whether you prefer horse trekking, llama trekking, or just walking with your own two feet, you’ll be able to savour the area from a new perspective and enjoy views of the coastline that seem to go on forever.
Authentic Maori Experiences
Kaikoura is home to one of New Zealand’s most authentic Maori experiences. For a true insight into Maori history and culture, Maurice and Heather Manawatu run an award-winning family owned and operated Maori tour that is simply not to be missed.
Understand the early days of Kaikoura and visit Fyffe House to see what remains of Robert Fyffe’s whaling station. Built in 1842, Fyffe house really brings home just how raw and harsh life was and how tough and resourceful both Maori and Europeans.
With a list like that, you’ll have no shortage of things to do on your New Zealand holiday. If you’d like to talk about how we can help you fit as many of these exciting activities into one holiday, the first thing to do is get in touch.
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