Are you a nature lover? You’ll be in heaven as soon as you set foot in Kaikoura, situated only a few hours to the north of Christchurch on Canterbury’s gorgeous coastline. For a scenic holiday to remember check out our Kaikoura hotels.
Few places in the world rival Kaikoura for regular wildlife spottings--sperm whales, dusky dolphins, seals, and albatross are only a short boat ride away and can be seen year round. This combined with a spectacular setting where the mountains meet the sea makes Kaikoura an unmissable stop on any South Island itinerary.
Your first choice upon arriving in Kaikoura is whether you want to see your wildlife up close and personal or from a more measured distance. Both Seal Swim Kaikoura and encounter...Kaikoura offer swimming experiences where you will often find yourself within arm’s length (or less!) of completely wild animals. Want to stay dry? Whale Watch Kaikoura and encounter...Kaikoura offer boat tours with regular sightings of sperm whales(which live in a trench just off the Kaikoura peninsula) and flocks of ocean birds (including the regal albatross).
If the thought of getting on a boat is enough to have you reaching for the seasickness pills, don’t stress--Kaikoura has plenty of activities for the landlubber as well. The seal colony on the Kaikoura peninsula and the Ohau Point colony 25km to the north of town are both must-visits. Just watch out--you may trip over a sleeping seal if you’re not paying attention! Also, like many other places in New Zealand, hikes abound, with the Kaikoura Peninsula walkway (12km round- trip, but can be walked in small sections) a favourite. Those wanting to learn more about Maori culture and their way of life can immerse themselves in Maurice’s half day tour, where you can learn Maori crafts, songs, and even be given your own Maori name!
After a long day hiking or at sea, you’ll be hungry for some good food, and Kaikoura has plenty to offer. The region, whose name means ‘meal of crayfish’ in Maori, is well known for its seafood, and restaurants like White Morph offer nearly every variety you could dream of. If you’re looking for a quicker meal, Nin’s Bin (located 23km north of town) serves fresh crayfish from a caravan. It’s a perfect location for a seaside picnic.
While Kaikoura is within daytripping distance of Christchurch (it’s a scenic 2 hour drive or 3 hours bus/train ride), you’ll want to stay there for a few days to truly take in all it has to offer.
Lastminute.com.au has a variety of hotels and hostels that cater to everyone’s budget, so find your accommodation in Kaikoura here.Image credit Kristin Repsher under Creative Commons