Located on the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island, Kaikoura is situated on State Highway 1, approximately 180km north of Christchurch. A picturesque coastal town, Kaikoura holidays are known for their scenic coastal walks, marine life encounters and famous plates of crayfish. An easy 2 hour drive from Christchurch, Kaikoura can be enjoyed on a day trip, however it’s recommended that you stay for at least a few days to truly appreciate its many wildlife attractions and beautiful natural environment.
This Kaikoura travel guide is designed to help you make the most of your time in this charming seaside town, regardless of how long you choose to stay. No visit to Kaikoura would be complete without enjoying a plate of the region’s famous crayfish, however the dramatic landscape is also a big drawcard. Surrounded by the Pacific Ocean and the magnificent Kaikoura Range, in winter the mountains are transformed with a covering of snow. Kaikoura is also famous for its marine encounters with the dolphins, whales and fur seals which permanently live in its coastal waters.
Kaikoura accommodation ranges from 3 stars to 5 stars and everything in between. Offering something to suit all budgets and travellers, Kaikoura’s extensive accommodation options feature everything from comfortable motels and modern hotels to spacious apartments, self-contained accommodation, luxury resorts, boutique options, lodges and charming bed and breakfasts. Conveniently located close to a variety of local shopping, dining and entertainment options, Kaikoura accommodation also enjoys easy access to a variety of the region’s most popular activities and attractions. Book cheap Accommodation in Kaikoura
Kaikoura attractions are all about experiencing the spectacular natural environment and some of the region’s most charming and playful marine mammals. Whale watching is fantastic at any time of year and there are air, sea and land options that also include the chance to spot sea birds and dolphins. You can even swim with playful fur seals in the shallow waters off the Kaikoura Peninsula. There’s also excellent fishing and even undersea scuba diving offering some of New Zealand’s best reef diving. If hiking is your thing the Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway is an amazing 3 hour return journey which showcases limestone formations, seabird colonies and even a seal colony. For an insight into Kaikoura’s history visit the colonial whaler’s cottage of Fyffe House and the beautiful Maori Leap Cave. You can also enjoy 4 wheel motor biking, hunting, horse trekking, wine tasting and authentic Maori hospitality.
The name Kaikoura literally translates to the Maori words for crayfish and food. After trying the region’s famous crayfish, famous explorer Tamatea-pōkaiwhenua named the region in Maori, with kai meaning food and koura meaning crayfish. Kaikoura is also known for its whale watching, with many visitors marvelling about why these marine mammals are so abundant in Kaikoura. The combination currents and steeply sloping seafloor of the Hikurangi Trench brings deep sea creatures such as squid to the surface of the water and with so much food on offer, the whales find the waters of Kaikoura an attractive place all year round.