Kaikoura

Christchurch - Canterbury

Christchurch - Canterbury

Highlights

  • Whale watching and marine encounters
  • Catch and eat crayfish

Proximity

  • By car: 3 hr from Christchurch

The picturesque coastal town of Kaikōura is the perfect place for marine life encounters, coastal walks, and tucking into a plate of crayfish.

Christchurch - Canterbury
Coastal picnic, Christchurch - Canterbury

By Sara Orme

Christchurch - Canterbury
Kaikōura, Christchurch - Canterbury

By Sara Orme

Christchurch - Canterbury
Kaikōura marine life, Christchurch - Canterbury

By Chris McLennan

Christchurch - Canterbury
Kaikōura sunrise, Christchurch - Canterbury

By Fraser Clements

Kaikōura is a base for wildlife experiences of all kinds – it’s also a great place to eat crayfish (in the Māori language 'kai' means food, 'kōura' means crayfish). An easy two-hour drive north of Christchurch, Kaikōura makes for a great day trip or a fun stop on your way to Marlborough.

Kaikōura's environment is truly spectacular – the village is caught between the rugged Seaward Kaikōura Range and the Pacific Ocean. In winter the mountains are covered with snow, adding to the drama of the landscape.

Kaikōura’s special talent is marine mammal encounters – whales, fur seals and dolphins live permanently in the coastal waters. Whale watching trips leave the town several times a day and the local seal colony is always entertaining. There are plenty of cafés, restaurants and shops to explore.

Must-do activities in Kaikōura:

  • Go whale-watching by boat or air at any time of the year.
  • Swim with or simply watch beautiful dusky dolphins on a dolphin encounter.
  • Experience seal swimming with the playful New Zealand fur seals in the shallow waters of the beautiful Kaikōura Peninsula.
  • Take a bird watching tour to view seabirds, albatross, molly-mawks, petrels and many more.
  • Meet the local indigenous people and experience Māori culture with Māori Tours Kaikōura.

Functional facts: Approximate population 3600, i-SITE Visitor Centre, train station.

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