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Kaikoura is an idyllic small seaside township on a rocky peninsula, with a superb beach and also a walkway encased with pairs of whale ribs, known as the ‘Garden of Memories’.

What makes it unique are the very deep waters that mix warm and cold ocean currents, forcing nutrients to the surface and attracting pods of up to 300 dolphin, sperm whales, fur seals and many marine species.

Wildlife spotting

Kaikoura, New ZealandThese great sea mammals are best seen on whale watching excursions, often the highlight of your trip to New Zealand, usually by boat but with a further option being to spot them from the air, on a ‘Wings over Whales’ light aircraft flight.

The ocean is also alive with seabirds including the black-browed mollymawk, Antarctic fulmer and the royal albatross.

Kaikoura's heritage and culture

On land, the region is also of significant historical note, as the area’s abundant food sources attracted Maori settlement and local Maori guides can bring the indigenous history to life.

The name Kaikoura comes from the Maori words for ‘eat’ and ‘crayfish’, and whilst in town you should definitely make sure to try this local delicacy. You can choose either to order it from one of the excellent local restaurants, or alternatively to drive just north of town to the tiny crayfish vans, where you can purchase your cray and eat it fresh by the waves of the Pacific Ocean.

Whale watching

Sperm whale, KaikouraMost visitors are drawn to Kaikoura for its abundant marine life, and there are excellent opportunities to experience this both by air and by sea.

Specially designed modern catamarans with sophisticated on-board technology provide an exciting and informative three-hour trip, getting you close to the New Zealand fur seal, dusky dolphins and the giant sperm whale.

Alternatively, a scenic flight gives you an aerial perspective as well as incredible views of the surrounding landscape.

Speak to someone
who's been there
Audley Travel specialist Grace

Start planning your tailor-made trip to Kaikoura by calling one of our New Zealand specialists on 01993 838 820

Suggested itineraries featuring Kaikoura

Our itineraries will give you suggestions for what is possible when you travel in Kaikoura, and they showcase routes we know work particularly well. Treat them as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.

Accommodation choices for Kaikoura

We’ve selected a range of accommodation options for when you visit Kaikoura. Our choices usually come recommended for their character, facilities and service or location. Our specialists always aim to suggest properties that match your preferences.

Ideas for experiencing Kaikoura

Our specialists seek out authentic ways to get to know the places that could feature in your trip. These activities reflect some of the experiences they've most enjoyed while visiting Kaikoura, and which use the best local guides.

Map of Kaikoura

Places & hotels on the map

    Places near Kaikoura