There are few places on earth like Kaikōura, a small coastal town offering breath taking views that will stop you in your tracks. The towering snow-clad mountains known as the Seaward Kaikōura’s provide a stunning backdrop over the town centre which extends out to the Kaikōura Peninsula, where the waves of the Pacific Ocean roll in.
These mountains rise to heights which are 2600m and the Kaikōura undersea canyon plunges to depths of over 1200m very close to shore, these two factors alone make Kaikōura incredibly unique and attract a wide range of marine & bird species. Local tour operators offer the chance to watch whales, dolphins, seabirds, and many other species of marine life daily, by boat, flight and by land. With wet suits provided, visitors can even join dolphins in their ocean environment. Kaikōura is also renowned worldwide as a birding hotspot; within just a small area, you’ll meet one of the greatest varieties of seabirds and pelagic birdlife you’ll find anywhere! Such as the Hutton’s shearwater which is an endangered seabird endemic to Kaikōura. The only place in the world that this species breeds is high in the Seaward Kaikōura Ranges at elevations between 1200 to 1800m. Incredible!
The diversity of what you can see and do is amazing. The following highlights the unique experiences that showcase Kaikōura from above, on & below the water. To view Kaikōura’s 360-degree beauty from above you can go by fixed winged aircraft or by helicopter, each company convey during your journey their passion for this beautiful place. Whale Watching by helicopter or plane allows you and your customers to witness the animals’ natural beauty & behaviours from above. You can even do a snow landing when our beautiful mountains have a nice layer of snow on them.
For those who like to get closer to nature there is the option of going by kayak to see the curious NZ Fur Seals; there are two kayaking companies in Kaikōura that offer unique experiences – one by paddle power the other by pedal power. Both companies have an incredible passion for what they do and will show you a fantastic time out around the peninsula.
When you cruise the stunning Kaikōura coastline with Dolphin Encounter, you get to enjoy incredible photographic opportunities, and observe one of the world’s most acrobatic species of dolphin! The curious Dusky Dolphins are often as interested in the boat and those swimming as we are in them! Their purpose-built vessels allow ample space to take in the spectacle. It is not unusual to see large numbers of dolphins; and their antics both above the water and in it with the swimmers create one of the best wildlife shows you can see anywhere.
Or there is the option of getting up close and personal with the largest toothed cetacean – the sperm whale with Whale Watch Kaikōura. Whale Watch takes you on an unforgettable journey, in purpose-built vessels that provide great viewing and photographic opportunities.
Kaikōura is also renowned for its great fishing grounds, which anyone can enjoy by boat with a local fishing guide and the bonus is you get to take home your ready filleted catch to enjoy later that day. Experience scuba diving the undersea world for some of the best reef diving in the country or kayaking around the ruggedly beautiful Peninsula.
If you prefer to stay on land, there is quad biking on a working beef and sheep farm with some exhilarating views, you can visit the lavender farm, have a round of golf, or go Llama trekking with their most popular tour being their ½ day trek. And for those who enjoy a slower journey there are many walking tracks to enjoy or explore Kaikōura’s history at Fyffe House and the museum, to name a few.
Kaikōura also offers a variety of spectacular mountain bike trails to explore the varied majestic landscapes from rugged coastlines to mountain ranges. There are tracks for all levels of experience ranging from casual family trails to challenging climb adventures. Biking in Kaikōura is seen as an excellent way get around town, explore the area with its varied landscapes, for the more experienced a way to get a full workout a visit to Middle Hill Mountain Bike Park is a must, they offer a range of intermediate to advanced trails not to be missed.
Accommodation in Kaikōura is extensive, ranging from campgrounds, backpackers, hostels through to the bed and breakfasts, farm-stays, self-contained units, lodges, motels, apartments, motor-inns as well as hidden gems such as the Pure Pods glass eco-cabins situated in a vast landscape with perfect views of the mighty Seaward Kaikōura Mountain Range, only 20 minutes inland from Kaikōura. Whatever your budget, whether it be for a short break, weekend away or long holiday with the family or for a romantic getaway, Kaikōura has a place to stay for you.
Kaikōura is a mecca for seafood lovers, with lots of fresh delicacies to try. Local specialties include groper, cod, mussels and of course the towns namesake – Crayfish (Lobster). Other delights such as oysters, scallops and whitebait are available in season.
We invite you to discover what makes Kaikōura so unique – a place that’s one of a kind; unlike anywhere else. Head to www.kaikoura.co.nz to plan your next getaway!
Raising a glass to Kaikōura
Passionate about their corner of the world, South Pacific Helicopters is taking to the skies to raise a glass to Kaikōura. South Pacific Helicopters CEO Daniel Stevenson has teamed up with Mt Fyffe Distillery owner Justine Schroder for a new helicopter gin experience.
Dan will take guests on a scenic flight over the Kaikōura peninsula and Seaward Kaikōura Range in the premium Airbus helicopter, before landing on Mt Fyffe. Here guests will taste Justine Schroder’s boutique award-winning gin as she tells her story of how it was made on her farm at the foot of the mountain.
“This is a truly unique experience where you can meet us, as local owners and operators and learn about why we do what we do,” says Daniel. For gin maker Justine, the business venture is about two local businesses, and friends, helping each other through the hump of the past two years.
“When Kaikōura is hurting, you’ve got to think outside the box and be clever. We’ve both got our own stories and expertise, which show that there is so much more to Kaikōura than just our amazing whales,” says Justine. Guests on the experience will receive a complimentary 375ml bottle of Woolshed Gin or Shearwater Gin so they can take home a taste of Kaikōura.