Few places in the world can boast of such natural wonders as those offered by land and sea in Kaikoura.
The seaside settlement of Kaikoura, situated midway between Christchurch and Picton on the rugged east coast of New Zealand’s South Island, is overlooked by majestic mountains, which are snow-capped for many months of the year.
This unique combination of ocean and mountains offers stunning coastal alpine scenery and a host of eco-tourism oriented activities, including Whale watching, Dolphin swimming and walks.
Whether you are looking for relaxation, nature, excitement, art, history and culture, or fine wines and cuisine, Kaikoura offers it all.
Kaikoura’s major event is the ‘Seafest’ which is held in October. Besides the rich marine mammals and birdlife, Kaikoura can offer the visitor a range of activities from early whaling exhibits, 4WD driving, horse trekking, farms tours to skiing at Mt Lyford Skifield (an hour’s drive from Kaikoura).
The name ‘Kaikoura’ translates to ‘meal of crayfish’ (‘kai’- food/meal, ‘koura’ – crayfish) and the crayfish industry still plays a role in the economy of the region. However Kaikoura has now become a popular tourist destination, mainly for whale watching (the Sperm Whale watching is perhaps the best and most developed in the world) and swimming with or near dolphins.
There is also a large and readily observed colony of Southern Fur Seals at the eastern edge of the town. At low tide, better viewing of the seals can be had as the ocean gives way to a rocky base which is easily navigable by foot for quite some distance.
One of the most acrobatic species of dolphin, found in Kaikoura throughout the year.