Things to do in Kaikōura

Kaikōura offers a diverse range of quality activities and other than Whale Watching, you can swim with dolphins and seals, cruise around the peninsula on a kayak, experience a Māori tour, fly your own plane, ride a horse or go out back on a quad bike to mention just a few.

Kaikōura also has a variety of quality accommodation styles on offer to suit all budgets such as luxury lodges, motels, motor lodges, holiday parks, hostels, B&B’s and Backpackers and if your into wining & dining Kaikōura has plenty on offer here to with Seafood common place on most menus around town. To find out more on what Kaikōura has to offer please visit

Kaikoura Peninsula Coastal Walks

Crystal clear rock pools and wild empty beaches. Walking Kaikōura 's scenic coastline will expose you to the world's cleanest ocean environment.

The Kaikōura Peninsula has clearly marked cliff-top and coastal walking tracks guiding you from lush open farmland to inter-tidal limestone shore platforms. A great opportunity to observe seals and dolphins, penguins and wading birds.

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Mt Fyffe Summit, Kaikōura

Kaikōura Mountain Walks

Breathtaking views await those walking the mountain trails of the hinterland as Kaikōura is the only place in New Zealand where such high ranges so abruptly meet the sea. The return walk to Mt Fyffe takes a day but is easily achieved by those of even moderate fitness. Trail maps are available from the Kaikōura Visitor Information Centre.

There is still plenty to discover in these incredible mountains. As recently as the 1990s two new species were found here - a giant weta and a lizard. Another recent discovery was the nesting habits of a local seabird, the Hutton's Shearwater. Every year, thousands of Hutton's Shearwaters lay eggs and raise chicks in deep burrows dug through the snow into the hard shale of the Seaward Kaikōura Ranges. No other seabird is known to nest at such high altitudes.

On the way to the mountains you will pass through dense native forests of Manuka, Kahikatea, Totara and Beech inhabited by New Zealand Wood Pigeon, South Island Robins, Fantails, Bellbirds and the Grey Warbler. You may also encounter introduced species such as wild pigs, chamois and deer. Mountain walks are an ideal way to fill in time if the sea is too rough for a NZ tour on a Whale Watch boat.

Things to do in Kaikoura. A person surfing in Kaikōura.

Surfing in Kaikōura

The Kaikōura district has some of the best year-round surf in New Zealand and is home to a number of national surfing champions. There is a local surf school for those who want to have a go and surfboards and surf gear can be bought in town.

Kaikōura is where resident surfer Brian O'Connor created his famous Paua Surfboard - a work of art now housed in Te Papa, the National Museum, Wellington. Kaikōura locals often surf and snowboard on the same day. Mt Lyford ski field is less than an hour away.

Throughout the week we have continued to see transient Sperm Whales as well as semi-residential Sperm Whale Jonah. We also encountered the regular non-whale visitors on the majority of our tours, including Dusky Dolphins, Hectors Dolphins and NZ Fur Seals.

Orca made an appearance over the weekend and are kicking off our Summer season early! We spotted five of them Saturday afternoon, making for some serious exciting tours for not only our passengers but also our Sea Crew!

The official opening of our marina is tomorrow, and you’re all invited! The 14th of November marks exactly one year on from the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck us last year. There is a dawn blessing at 6:00AM and special guests will be arriving at 12:30PM, so come celebrate with a BBQ and some boat and marina tours with us! If you can’t make it, then don’t worry as we’ll be going live over on our Facebook Page.


There is a possibility of short delays with it being 30km/hour through parts of the route. Check the NZTA website for road updates before traveling. INLAND ROUTE 70 IS OPEN 24/7.


Kaikōura is open for business. For latest updates on accommodation, restaurant and retail information please contact the team at the Kaikōura I-Site who will be able to help you find what suits your needs during your stay in Kaikōura. 


Hasslefree ToursCanterbury Leisure Tours & Kaikoura Express have daily services from Christchurch to Kaikōura with a return service from Christchurch. Kiwi Experience now have the option of a day tour out of Christchurch for their travellers. Intercity Bus also provides a bus service between Christchurch and Kaikoura return.

Progress on the work being done on the roads (along with harbour repairs) can be found on the dedicated Kaikoura Earthquake Response page provided by the team at NZTA. This page is updated weekly on Fridays. Work is also underway on the railway network, please be aware and take care when using rail crossings.

The team at Whale Watch Kaikoura.