Kaikoura Holidays

According to Maori Leagend, the jutting coastal mountains of Kaikoura were formed when Maui (One of Polynesia's most prolific deities) used the area to anchor his gigantic foot while fishing up the North Island of New Zealand. Science types might argue that the geography here lends itself to the continental shelf's offshore location which also ... Read more
helps attract a vibrant marine ecosystem supporting such top-of-the-food-chain fixtures as seals and whales. In fact, whale watching is one of the most popular ocean-inspired activities to enjoy here, second only to eating seafood. Specifically, the crayfish here are truly delectable, a distinction built into the name of this city, which when translated into Maori literally means "eat crayfish." The coastal culture here is charming, with various tourist centric shops and restaurants, in addition to a few surf breaks that flavor the couture with wave riding appeal. If you are looking for a single place in New Zealand where you can both explore the amazing mountainous terrestrial beauty present and enjoy vibrant oceanfront adventures as well, Kaikoura is just about as perfect a spot as you can find in the country.

Kaikoura Hotels

Things to see and do in Kaikoura

  • Ohau Seal Colony
    9.77 reviews
    Outdoors, Hiking and Nature
    Popular withFamiliesOutdoorsy
  • Whale Watch Kaikoura
    7.58 reviews
    Tours, Classes and Rentals, Attractions
    Popular withOutdoorsyAdventure
  • Encounter Kaikoura
    10.03 reviews
    Tours, Classes and Rentals, Guided Tour
  • Dive Kaikoura
    8.01 review
    Tours, Classes and Rentals, Outdoors, Beaches and Watersports
    Popular withOutdoorsy




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Kaikoura reviews

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Set against a dramatic backdrop where rugged mountains meet the sea, the picturesque town of Kaikoura is famous for whale watching, among other wildlife encounters. Whale watching trips leave the town several times a day and the local seal colony is always entertaining. There are also plenty of cafés, restaurants and shops to explore. Don’t miss feasting on a plate of the delicious local crayfish. An easy two-hour drive north of Christchurch, Kaikoura makes for a great day trip or a fun stop on your way north to Marlborough for a little wine tasting.

Recommended for:Adventure TravellersFoodiesOutdoor Enthusiasts

Kiakoura is one of those New Zealand towns that really has stacks going for it. Situated by the sea it takes advantage of this both before and after dinner. Dolphin and seal encounters are great fun and the seafood on the menu is to die for.

Recommended for:Adventure TravellersFamily TravellersFoodiesOutdoor Enthusiasts
New York City

Kaikoura (where the mountains meet the sea) is a small town full of history and natural wonders. It is an ideal place to get "close to nature". Don't forget to try local crayfish.


Holding the visual trifecta of blue ocean, green land, and white-capped mountains, Kaikoura is nothing short of epic. It's one of few places in the world where you can surf in the morning, snowboard in the afternoon, and surf again in the evening. A 'board' sandwich, if you will. As in all of NZ, the people are as welcoming and unassuming as you can imagine and most are perpetually in awe of the wonder that surrounds in every direction.


Kaikoura is on the east coast of the south island and is wedged between the mountains and the ocean, and it's a stunning location. I lived there for a year managing a backpacker hostel, so am be a bit biased, but I think it's one of the best places in NZ. You can go whale watching and see sperm whales as big as buses. You can swim with dolphins ( hundreds of them, not just one or two). You can also swim with seals, which is the only place I have ever seen this on offer. You can skydive, quad bike, horse ride, fly a plane. Or just go for a walk around the stunning peninsula. Kaikoura means 'to eat crayfish' in Maori and this is def the place to do that, or go and fish for your own. There is also a small compan here that does a Maori tour which is a more local experience tha other tours offered in NZ.


Try to plan your itinerary so you drive past Kaikoura for sunrise. You don't want to miss watching the sun gracefully come up over the Eastern horizon.

Los Angeles

Sleepy little town on the East Coast. We were able to see a lot of seals along the beach.

San Marino

Great seafood to eat and to watch, we also went surfing in this sleepy new zealand beach town. local surf instructor is named Dave, just ask around for him- his on the NX pro team and also just a great guy.


Just beautiful! Sleepy little town on the bay, the Mountains are stunning and seem to plunge right into the water. Popular destination with a range of accomodations but doesn't feel too touristy or overrun (though we were there at low season)


Mountains, whales, solitude. Perfect.