I recently went to Kaikoura to stay and check out the many activities. I have been there numerous times and always stay at the YHA. However this time I decided to have a beer at this cool old hotel at number 1 - Avoca Street, The Pier.
I have NO association with this place at all - and to be fair it is modest - however it is right on the water. It is also old and somewhat historical. The best feature is upstairs. Paying travellers can use this old balcony.
Well a few beers later and I am watching a stunning sunset unraveling in front of my eyes. Looking west the snow capped Kaikoura mountains with a pink sky. Wow - all to the music of crashing waves. Yes the rooms are modest - but you know I would rather an authentic stay over a modern room any day. No tv in the room which was a bonus. Shared showers but all clean and the food was fine. The morning was just a little better though. I got up for a coffee and sat on the same balcony and watched the sun rise in the opposite direction again listening to crashing waves. No cars, no dogs barking...no anything.
A few more tips from my trip:
Seal Swim is a small family run business and it was just excellent. Up close and personal, let a long-standing Kaikoura family take you out. Good stories.
Food stalls around the corner from my hotel near the seal colony were awesome and a nice way to meet other travellers.
Check Bookme for your bookings. I saved over $270 NZD using this system. About 30% overall! Most Kaikoura operators have discount inventory on this site. www.bookme.co.nz
GET UP EARLY IN KAIKOURA. SLEEP WHEN YOU ARE DEAD.