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10 Best Activities In Kaikoura, The Charming Town In New Zealand

One of the most well-liked tourist locations in New Zealand is the small coastal village of Kaikoura. It can be reached from Christchurch in just over two hours. The most well-liked activities in Kaikoura allow you to get close to the unusual species, so if you enjoy the outdoors, this is the town for you. This article will show you the 10 best things to do in Kaikoura. Check it out!

Is it worth visiting Kaikoura?


About 2.5 hours north of Christchurch, on the east coast, is the picture-perfect village of Kaikoura. It is renowned for its stunning coastline beauty, abundant marine life, and beach walks and is situated on the Southern Island. Additionally, it’s a great spot to eat crawfish.

If wildlife fascinates you, put Kaikoura on your bucket list. With a constant colony of fur seals, dolphins, and whales in these coastal waters, whale-watching excursions are a popular pastime. Take one of the many whale-watching excursions or explore the area by boat. Flying would be a lot of fun if you can afford to see these sea beasts.

Both the early European immigrants and the Maori natives have left a significant historical mark on the town. The surrounding mountains are covered in snow during the winter, giving this breathtaking landscape an unusual twist.

Maori history

As a long-time resident of Kaikoura, Maori may have hunted moa there, according to archeological evidence of moa bones. Kaikoura remained a desirable spot to live in despite the reduction in moa numbers due to the availability of seafood there. Since at least 1670, Ngāti Tahu has been living in the Kaikoura region. Around Kaikoura, there are many pā sites.

In 1770, Captain James Cook observed Kaikoura but did not set foot there. He claimed to have seen four double-hulled canoes carrying 57 Mori approaching HMS Endeavour.

The Ngāi Tahu (headed by Te Rauparaha) and Ngāi Tahu engaged in combat in Kaikoura in 1827 or 1828. The raiding group of Ngāti Toa caught Ngāi Tahu off guard since they thought they would receive a visit from their pals, Ngāti Kahungunu.

What to do in Kaikoura

Discover Maori culture


This Maori Cultural Tour provides an intimate behind-the-scenes insight into the native Maori people and their way of life here in Kaikoura. It is also one of the most distinctive tours available in Kaikoura.

This half-day tour offers the chance to learn about weaving (or raranga), which is the craft of plaiting harakeke (flax) to create bags, mats, and other items, as well as a bushwalk that demonstrates how the Maori used plants for medicine and in their daily lives.

Along the way of the tour, you are welcome to ask questions, and you’ll also be treated to some fascinating anecdotes about your guide’s ancestors.

Out of a desire to provide a distinctive Maori experience in the Kaikoura region, Maori Tours was established in 2002. Four times in New Zealand, this trip has been recognized as the greatest cultural experience. It’s a small group tour, so reserve your spot as soon as possible.

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Take a dolphin swim


In fact, Kaikoura was the first location in New Zealand to allow visitors to swim with wild dolphins! You can swim with the well-known gentle dusky dolphins on this tour.

This particular excursion has one of the best success rates in New Zealand, yet seeing dolphins is not guaranteed. This is due to the fact that the waters of Kaikoura are a haven for wildlife; you might even see penguins and whales from your boat.

While common dolphins are often only observed in the summer, dusky and hector dolphins can be spotted throughout the year. If you opt to take this tour during the months of September and April, you might even see some Orcas, sometimes known as killer whales.

In Kaikoura, the water is typically 66 degrees Fahrenheit (19 degrees Celsius) in the summer and 46 degrees Fahrenheit (8 degrees Celsius) in the winter. But don’t worry. You will be given all the tools you need.

It’s important to note that this tour requires you to be comfortable in the water. You’ll probably get to spend 20 to 40 minutes swimming with the dolphins. Although the tour lasts three hours, you will spend 2.5 of that time on the boat searching for dolphins and admiring the breathtaking surroundings.

The dolphins will frequently put on a show for you, leaping from the water while performing some remarkable twists and turns, so if you’d rather not go swimming, you can watch them on a dolphin-watching boat trip.

Observe whales


As previously said, Kaikoura is a haven for animals and unquestionably the best location in New Zealand for whale watching.

As you cruise around the Pacific Ocean off Kaikoura on a catamaran, look for sperm whales (and maybe even Orcas, if you’re lucky). This 3.5-hour whale-watching cruise includes 2.5 hours spent on the water looking for these magnificent animals.

From the boat, you might probably see dolphins, penguins, and seagulls. Your educated guide will provide you with a thorough commentary on the journey to the whales. You’ll also learn a ton about the whales and why they travel to Kaikoura.

See New Zealand Fur Seals


The chance to observe fur seals in the wild is one of the best activities for travelers to Kaikoura. In Kaikoura, there are so many fur seals that I fear there might even be more of them than people. On the Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway, a 2-hour round-trip walk that begins at the South Bay parking lot and ends in Kean Bay is one of the greatest spots to watch fur seals in Kaikoura.

The Ohau Point observation platform is another excellent location to witness fur seals in the wild. Numerous fur seals will be sunning on the rocks below as you look out from this point.

The Kaikoura Marine Resting Area is yet another excellent location to see seals. The bright blue Pacific Ocean and the snow-capped Kaikoura Ranges mountains create a stunning contrast in the surrounding landscape, which is also spectacular.

Between the months of October and March, you might even see whales in the ocean from this excellent vantage point, so be sure to bring a zoom lens for your camera to shoot some amazing pictures.

Unwind At Kaikoura Beach


Kaikoura Beach is conveniently situated in Kaikoura town. Kaikoura Beach is one of the nicest beaches in all of New Zealand since it is so large and gorgeous. In actuality, Kaikoura Beach is 5,000 meters (3.1 miles) long and spans the majority of the town. Swimming at Kaikoura Beach is well-known during the summer. Most people prefer to swim in the southernmost part of the beach, which has more sand and only a slight elevation.

Swimmers should exercise caution if swimming anywhere other than the Southern end of the beach because it is fairly rocky and can have powerful rip currents. Lifeguards are not present at Kaikoura Beach.

Another favorite activity from the beach is fishing, and as Kaikoura is famed for its wonderful and fresh seafood, you might be able to catch a meal for yourself. Blue cod and butterfish are the most popular fish, but rock lobster and crayfish are seen in plenty too.

If swimming in the chilly water doesn’t appeal to you (the average sea temperature at Kaikoura Beach is 14 degrees Celsius/57 degrees Fahrenheit), pack a picnic and soak in the breathtaking surroundings instead. The distant, snow-covered Kaikoura Ranges will be visible. Kaikoura beach is also an excellent area to go for sunset. Have your camera ready to capture the moment the sun sets behind the Kaikoura Ranges!

On a mountain bike trail, increase your heart rate


To explore the diverse stunning landscapes, from rocky beaches to mountain ranges, Kaikoura provides a selection of breathtaking mountain bike trails. There are routes for riders of all skill levels, ranging from easy family routes like the Kowhai River Bike Trail to difficult climb experiences like scaling Mount Fyffe. All year long, the tracks are open for use but check the weather beforehand.

Use a kayak


A sunset kayaking tour to observe the local dusky dolphins, seals, and blue penguins is one of the best activities in Kaikoura. We spotted many dolphins and whales because they are usually more active at dusk and sunset at Kaikoura. We also learned a lot about Kaikoura’s history and the local Maori culture during this 3-hour tour. Even got to capture some amazing sunset pictures!

Take a Kaikoura Llama Trekking


Visit Kaikoura Llama Trekking to go llama trekking. There are numerous tour choices, ranging from the shorter Taster Llama Trek to the longer Llama Trek.

The Taster Trek is a one-hour trip that includes leading the llamas to the Kowhai River, walking alongside it, possibly even crossing it (weather permitting), and then entering a native forest. You get to stroll alongside these unusual animals on this brief tour, and you get to do it in stunning surroundings.

If you desire to spend longer with the llamas, then try the 3-hour llama trek, which takes you through an old whaler’s cabin, a native seal colony, and down a beach. This specific tour includes a picnic with cake and drinks.

A well-liked sport in the area, Kaikoura Llama Trekking is situated at Kowhai Farm Road; HRH Prince Charles even paid a recent visit. It has so received the royal mark of approval!

Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway


An easy 11.7 km (7.3 miles) stroll, the Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway begins at the South Bay parking lot in Kaikoura town and ends at Kean Bay. You should finish the return track in 2.5 to 3 hours. It is suitable for the entire family and is flat and simple.

The largest colony of fur seals in Kaikoura can be found at the trail’s terminus in Kean Bay. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that it can get very crowded just for that reason. Numerous information boards regarding Kaikoura’s fauna may be found along the walkway.

Of course, you can choose to walk only one way (which takes around 50 minutes) and arrange for a car to be waiting for you at Kean Bay at the end of the track if you don’t want to walk the return track.

Kaikoura Museum


The Kaikoura Museum is housed in what is arguably the most well-known structure in the area; it is referred to as the “cray pot” since it resembles one. If you didn’t know, crayfish, a delicacy made famous by Kaikoura, are caught in cray pots.

In November 2016, the museum was inaugurated only a few days after the tragic earthquake that severely wrecked most of the town. One of the museum’s most interesting and educational sections is the permanent Kaikoura Earthquake Exhibition, which chronicles the events that followed the longest earthquake ever registered in New Zealand. It explores the stories of how the locals overcame this horrible period of their history through more than 30 little exhibitions donated by the locals.

Another ongoing exhibit at the museum is an award-winning “under-the-sea” style display demonstrating the town’s link with the sea and marine life.

Here are the 10 best things to do in Kaikoura – one of the most popular destinations in New Zealand. So, come here immediately to begin your fantastic journey! Please share your thoughts by posting a comment below!

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