5 Things to Do in Kaikoura with the Family

Kaikoura is one of New Zealand's most spectacular tourist destinations and there is plenty on offer that can entertain the whole family!

If you live in New Zealand or are including the country in your travel plans then there is one location that will give you the best opportunity to get close to some of the most beautiful scenery in the world and some of the country’s most spectacular wildlife. Kaikoura is located on the east coast of New Zealand and enjoys a combination of coastal and alpine scenery, making it the perfect base for a large number of activities that people of all ages can enjoy. Here are some of the best things to do in Kaikoura.

Mount Lyford

Less than an hour’s drive from Kaikoura, Mount Lyford is an alpine playground for adults and kids alike. Winter in Kaikoura turns this high country farm into a skifield with runs a great learners slope and some more challenging runs for those who are more advanced. Mount Lyford even has a Wild Ride Terrain Park for those who are looking are really looking to push themselves. This park has rails, pipes and kicks which are great for getting air and doing some impressive tricks.

Animal Wildlife

Kaikoura is home to a wide variety of animal wildlife, particularly an extensive range of marine wildlife. A 2 kilometre deep canyon stretches along the ocean floor offshore in Kaikoura and this is responsible for a food chain that has animals setting up residence in this coastal area. Kaikoura is particularly famous for the whales that inhabit the area. Giant sperm whales are year round residents of Kaikoura and can often be seen close to the shore. Kaikoura is the perfect home for these sea giants because the canyon creates a rare system of sea currents. These currents sustain a rich marine food chain at which Sperm Whales are at the top of. The area also sees seabirds, dolphins, seals and 7 other species of whales.

Night Sky Tours

A unique experience in the area is Kaikoura Night Sky. They offer guided tours of the Southern Hemisphere sky in New Zealand. These tours incorporate practical knowledge, science, Maori knowledge and stories to take visitors on a journey from horizon to horizon. Powerful telescopes offer views of Star Clusters, the Moon, Planets and much more – far more than the natural eye can see. This is great if you are looking for something a bit different and it’s as educational as it is fascinating and beautiful.

Ocean Activities

As well as a number of fantastic tourist activities there are also many things that you can do for free around the area. The coastal location of Kaikoura makes it perfect for a number of ocean activities that can be fun for all ages. Keen recreational divers will never be short of things to do in Kaikoura because there is an abundance of Crayfish and Paua all along the coast. Visitors can also throw a line in and fish for their dinner or catch a wave on some of the country’s best surf breaks. Kids will also enjoy combing the rockpools for a huge variety of interesting creatures


The combination of alpine and coastal scenery is not only beautiful but it also makes for some fantastic hiking spots if tramping is your thing. There are plenty of paths that wind through the native bush and cross some of the area’s rivers. Whether you are looking to challenge yourself or take a tramp for a couple of hours there is a tramp to suit. There is also the option to go on guided walks, where an experienced guide will be able to help you negotiate the walks and point out some of the spectacular features of Kaikoura.

Whatever your plans, make sure they include Kaikoura. Find out more about this uniquely beautiful tourist hotspot on the Whale Watch Kaikoura website.