The Kaikoura Coast is renowned for its abundant marine life, and this is huge visitor drawcard. Due to the teeming food supply in its icy seas, whales, seals and dolphins are frequently spotted year round in the area. Observe the fur seal colony basking in the sun at the tip of the peninsula and be sure to take a trip by boat to view the whales. If you prefer, hop aboard a 30 minute scenic flight and see the coast by air. But if you're feeling really adventurous take a dip with the resident seal population on either a land or boat based trip. Kaikoura township has a charming feel and after a day of marine adventures is the perfect place to grab a bite to eat. not to be missed is a meal of fresh crayfish - the town's signature dish. Before you leave, visit historic Fyffe House for insight into the region’s Whaling Past.
Experience New Zealand's only marine based whale watching company. Whale Watch Kaikoura offer a once-in-a-lifetime, up close encounter with the giant Sperm Whale. You are also likely to encounter New Zealand fur seals, dusky dolphins and albatross. Depending on the season you may also see pilot, blue and southern right whales as well as migrating humpbacks. Often orcas can be spotted here and the world's smallest dolphin, the Hectors, occasionally make an appearance.
Cruise in style on modern catamarans, specifically designed for whale watching, featuring large passenger cabins and outside viewing decks. Passenger numbers for each tour are kept below the vessel carrying capacity to ensure your tour experience remains a personal one.
A world renowned marine reserve, Kaikoura is brimming with marine life and ocean-going birds. It is the Albatross capital of the world and has up to 14 different species visiting the area throughout the year. You’ll be taken by boat, 15 minutes off the coast where a huge range of elusive and usually inaccessible albatross can be sighted. You’ll also see penguins, gannets, skuas, shearwaters petrels and terns. Travel in a dedicated albatross encounter vessel, adapted specifically for maximum wildlife viewing opportunities.
Experience the excitement of watching Fur Seals ducking, weaving and diving around your kayak. Paddle gently along with them as they swim around the Kaikoura Peninsula hunting for their favourite feed of Octopus. Keep your distance while dinner is devoured in front of you, then duck for cover as hundreds of Pelagic (ocean-going) birds swoop in to clean up the left-overs. Continue your journey around the reefs of Kaikoura to search for other marine mammals such as Dusky Dolphins and Blue Penguins. Suitable for all abilities.
In a typical 30 minute flight you will see the majestic Sperm Whale preparing for his next dive and up to 500 Dusky Dolphins cavorting with each other. On occasion, sightings include Southern Right, Humpback, Fin, Sei, Brydes, Pilot, Southern Bottlenose and the mighty Blue Whales. You may also spot Hectors, Risso's, Southern Right Whale Dolphins, and Orca, although these are all less frequent visitors to the area. Gain an aerial perspective of this fantastic marine environment in a high-winged aircraft with optimal, unobstructed viewing.
This local tour travels to some of the key attractions in the Kaikoura area, with plenty of opportunities to take photos and learn about the whaling history, local seal colonies, and the 2016 earthquake.
Top Catch Charters Kaikoura runs fun and friendly small group charter activities amongst the stunning scenery and unique marine environment of the Kaikoura coastline. Owner and fully qualified skipper Malcom Halstead has 35 years' experience fishing in the waters of the South Island of New Zealand and will make sure you have a memorable fishing experience on the purpose built 6.2m Osprey boat, the 'First Light'. Top Catch Charters are also members of the Kaikoura Fishing Charters Association Inc and actively practice their code of conduct, which focuses on fishing sustainably for future generations.
Charters depart from the South Bay Marina in Kaikoura and once out on the water, you can expect to catch Perch and Blue Cod and check craypots for the Kaikoura crayfish delicacy.
All will start with freshly roasted coffee before heading outdoors to forage in the garden and collect produce for the day. Ingredients are sourced from their gardens as well as small farms, local hunters, fishermen and farmers. Returning to the kitchen, together you will prepare and cook a seasonal feast, explore the extensive cookbook library and enjoy stunning views of the Kaikōura coast and mountain range.
After creating a number of stunning dishes the class will then sit down and enjoy their creations over a long lunch matched to some of NZ’s best wine.
Harmons Motor Museum was established in 2017. The building it occupies was purchased from Mitre 10 after the Kaikoura Earthquake in 2016. Geoff and Bernard Harmon purchased it intending to use it to house and display their ever-increasing Classic Car collection. The extensive collection includes classic and some rare American beauties and Kiwi icons.
Are you ready for the ultimate helicopter experience for gin lovers? Sit back, relax, and enjoy a stunning scenic helicopter flight around the Peninsula and the Kaikoura Seaward Mountain Ranges. Take in the beautiful scenery from high above, while your pilot educates you on the incredible surroundings. Then enjoy a landing at Mt Fyffe for a tasting and to learn about the artisanal boutique gins made there.
Lavendyl farm grows over 50 different varieties of lavender plants on the 5 acre Lavender farm. A visit to the farm is a sensory experience. Stroll through the gardens while admiring lavender and native New Zealand plants and flowers, meet the friendly sheep and take in the spectacular views. From January to February, when the flowers are at their peak for oil production, the distilling process can be observed on site. All year round a wide range of lavender products are available to purchase from the unique onsite gift store and gallery. Finish your visit with a relaxing cup of tea or coffee inside the tearoom or out in the gardens.
For more information, including opening hours visit www.lavenderfarm.co.nz.
Explore Kaikoura's wildlife colonies from the air in this incredible 45-minute helicopter Ocean Safari. Fly over the Seaward Mountain Ranges and Kaikoura Peninsula before reaching the vastness of the Pacific Ocean, home to nature's most amazing marine life. Kaikoura is located on the migratory routes for Humpback Whales, Southern right whales, Orca, and even Blue whales depending on the time of year. Other mammals that may be sighted include Dusky dolphins, fur seals, and albatross. Land at an exclusive location to experience the vistas of the mountains and sea before finishing with a flight back to Kaikoura Airport.
This forty-minute scenic flight travels through the Clarence River Valley and up into the mountains for a landing at the turquoise waters of the newly formed Hapuku Lake, created during the 2016 earthquake. This trip showcases the unique geology of the Kaikoura area and shows you some of the beauty of the Kaikoura Coast and mountains, some of the sights you can see during your flight include the Papatea Fault, which is visible along the coastline heading out into the sea, and the coastal uplift which was up to 6 meters in some points. Get up close to the Seaward Ranges and Mt Fyffe. Enjoy a scenic landing where you get the chance to enjoy the New Zealand Air and panoramic views with no body else around!
Get up close to The Point's Drysdale Ram - "Ram-Man" - and let him eat out of the palm of your hand. Taking place in an authentic Kiwi shearing shed you will get a taste of traditional sheep shearing including information on wool types, sheep breeds, tools and the techniques & equipment of the past. You'll also meet the working dogs Jed, Sam & Todd, Jed even performs in the show. Between August and January you will even get the opportunity to hold and feed the pet lambs. The Point lambs are eager for visitors as they know they will get a bottle of milk and lots of attention! Suitable for all ages, the show is full of fun and interesting information and is a "hands on" experience that the whole family will enjoy and remember to bring your camera for all the photo opportunities.
Shows run daily at 1:30pm and 4pm. For current pricing and further information visit Point Sheep Shearing
The breath-taking scenery of Kaikōura is best explored on foot with a great variety of coastal walks. Enjoy the rugged landscape whilst spotting marine life.
Kaikōura Peninsula Walkway
Time: 5 mins - 3hrs
Start from the car-park at South Bay or Point Kean. The track crosses the peninsula’s clifftop, with excellent views of the Seaward Kaikōura Range, ocean and coastline, to South Bay. It returns to the township via South Bay and Toms Track. Alternatively, during low tide, some of the walk can be completed along the shoreline. Observe seals and seabirds, explore historic pā and whaling sites and enjoy clifftop views of the sea and mountains. Suitable for families, the whole walkway takes three hours but you can also explore a range of shorter tracks.
Time: 45 mins return
Start location: 10 minutes drive from Kaikōura township starts at the base of Mt Fyffe carpark.
An interesting loop through an unusual forest with a number of large hinau trees. There are also many mahoe, putaputaweta, broadleaf, tree fuchsia, and pigeonwood. For a contrast in vegetation, the track passes through a stand of kanuka. Classified as a 'walking track', the Hinau Track is well-formed and suitable for families, however, there is an unbridged stream that in normal conditions is easy to navigate.
Time: 1-8 hours return
Superb views over the Kaikōura plains and peninsula reward those who climb Mt Fyffe. On a clear day, the view at higher levels includes the Banks Peninsula and the North Island. From Mt Fyffe carpark follow the 4WD road up the mountain's long south-west ridge. The road goes right to the summit; a return journey of about 8 hours.
Those wanting a shorter journey could go as far as Mt Fyffe Hut (5 hours return) or the lookout point near a firepond, which is just an hour above the carpark. The Spaniard Spur Route offers a steeper alternative route to the upper mountain via the Kowhai River.