Kaikōura – a place unlike anywhere else

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 and seals 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 and at time Dusky Dolphins  and Blue Penguins; 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.

Kaikōura Museum: A journey to the soul of Kaikōura

Located in the landmark “craypot” building, in Kaikōura’s West End, is the award winning Kaikōura Museum.

The museum offers a modern and relaxed environment with a contemporary and fun approach to telling the stories of Kaikōura’s natural,  social and cultural journey. Displays include excellent exhibits of natural history, Māori taonga, colonial life, whaling, surfing and  memorabilia from Kaikōura’s past.

New Normal is a long-term exhibition that looks at the impacts of the 2016 Kaikōura earthquake on the people, their landscape and their  natural environment. It also includes over 40 individual ‘mini exhibitions’ contributed by the Kaikōura Community which help tell the many  stories that have unfolded since this historic event.

They also offer research facilities for historians or those wanting to find out more about their family history. A unique Museum with some  exceptional displays and very knowledge staff, the Kaikōura Museum is a must see during your time in in the district. New Normal  Exhibition New Normal is a long-term exhibition that looks at the impacts of the 2016 Kaikōura earthquake on the people, their landscape  and their natural environment. It also includes over 40 individual ‘mini exhibitions’ contributed by the Kaikōura’ Community which help tell  the many stories that have unfolded since this historic event.

www.kaikoura-museum.co.nz

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. There are quality dining  choices to suit any requirement whether you are eating in or dining out! From takeaways to cafes to upmarket restaurants, there’s a place to  satisfy everyone. Indoor or outdoor, all have a wide range of meal choices to cater to any palate.

The drive along State Highway 1 on the Kaikōura coastline has always been regarded as one of the most scenic drives in New Zealand.  however, now with the addition of sites showcasing stunning cultural artworks that tell the rich local history, this stretch of the highway has  become a destination in its own right.

The works of art, together with seven safe stopping areas, were created as part of the rebuild that took place along the highway after the 2016  Kaikōura earthquake (a mammoth operation that took around a year to complete). Self-drive visitors can also make the most of this beautiful area and enjoy Kaikōura as part of a multi-day scenic drive on the Alpine Pacific Touring Route. This route link Kaikōura with Hanmer  Springs Alpine Village and Waipara Wine Region. 450kms of spectacular scenery with Kaikōura at the heart of it. 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!

Biking in Kaikōura

Kaikōura 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 and for the more experienced a way to get a full workout.

For more information on tracks or mountain bike/ e-bike rentals visit the Kaikōura i-SITE. Further details about the tracks and maps can be  found on the Kaikōura Cycling Club. www.kaikouracycling.co.nz

Must Do’s when visiting Kaikōura:
  1. Take a boat trip out to watch sperm whales with Whale Watch Kaikōura
  2. Watch or swim with the playful Dusky Dolphins on a tour with Dolphin Encounter
  3. See the giant sperm whales from the air by helicopter or by fixed-wing aircraft
  4. Paddle around the peninsula with Kaikōura Kayaks and get a close up look of the seals
  5. Check out the Whales from above with Wings over Whales
  6. Take a 4WD drive or quad bike adventure with Glenstrae Farm 4- Wheel Adventures
  7. Discover the underwater world of Kaikoura with Dave’s Diving
  8. Go out on a fishing tour and hook your own dinner
  9. Walk the Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway 3-hour return loop
  10. View NZ fur seals at Point Kean in town or visit the breeding colony at the new Ōhau Point seal colony lookout
  11. Indulge in delicious locally caught crayfish
  12. Visit the Kaikōura Museum or Fyffe House to learn about Kaikōura’s unique history
  13. Eat fish n chips on the beach