Locals’ Picks The Top 11 Fun Things to Do at Kaikoura

Locals’ Picks: The Top 11 Fun Things to Do at Kaikoura

If you’re craving a dose of excitement and natural beauty, you’ve hit the jackpot with Kaikoura, where adventure meets coastal bliss! From jaw-dropping wildlife encounters to heart-pumping outdoor escapades, below are the things to do here that will leave you breathless (in a good way, of course).

1. Spot majestic whales at Whale Watch Kaikoura

Website: http://www.whalewatch.co.nz/ 

Address: Whaleway Station Road, Kaikōura 7340, New Zealand

Contact details: +64 3 319 6767

Operating hours: Monday – Sunday: 9:00 AM -3:30 PM

Price:

  • Adults – $150
  • Children (3-15 years) – $60

When in Kaikoura, one thing you absolutely cannot miss is the exhilarating whale watching experience with Whale Watch Kaikoura. They have specially designed boats, purpose-built for the ultimate whale spotting adventure.

It’s not just about whales, though. Keep your eyes peeled for playful dolphins and other mesmerizing marine creatures. And let’s not forget about the memories you’ll capture! 

The awe-inspiring sights, the graceful movements of the whales, and the sheer beauty of Kaikoura’s coastal waters are all that await you.

Pro tips:

  • For an optimal whale-watching experience, plan your visit during the summer months (December-March). The warm and sunny weather not only adds to the enjoyment but also increases your chances of witnessing the whales in all their glory. 
  • When choosing your whale-watching cruise at Whale Watch Kaikoura, opt for the classic option. It’s the go-to choice for most visitors because it offers the best chance of encountering these majestic creatures.

2. Marvel at fur seals at Ohau Point Seal Colony

Address: Kaikōura Peninsula Walkway, Kaikōura Peninsula, Kaikōura 7300, New Zealand

Contact details: [email protected] – Kaikoura Tourism

Operating hours: Open 24 hours

This local gem is where you can get up close and personal with New Zealand fur seals in their natural habitat. You can take a leisurely stroll along the Ohau Stream Walkway where you will be greeted by playful seal pups.

It’s like a live-action seal show that’ll make your heart melt and leave you grinning from ear to ear! The picturesque surroundings only add to the magic of this must-do experience. 

Pro tips:

  • Set your alarm clock and head to Ohau Point Seal Colony bright and early! The morning hours are when the seals are most active, showcasing their playful nature and entertaining antics. 
  • Make sure to pack your trusty binoculars for an enhanced seal-spotting experience. While the seals might be at a distance from the walkway, your binoculars will bring them closer.

3. Kayak alongside dolphins with Encounter Kaikoura

Website: http://www.encounterkaikoura.co.nz/ 

Address: 96 Esplanade, Kaikōura 7300, New Zealand

Contact details: +64 3 319 6777

Operating hours: Monday – Sunday: 7:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Price:

  • Adults – $115
  • Children (5-15 years) – $65

Paddle up and join Encounter Kaikoura for a ride like no other, where you’ll befriend the coolest locals in town – the dusky dolphins! 

You can glide through the pristine waters of the Kaikoura Peninsula and witness these intelligent marine darlings leaping, playing, and catching the perfect wave right alongside you. 

This must-do experience is the ultimate blend of nature, thrills, and pure joy. Being in such close proximity to these friendly dolphins in their natural playground is a moment that will stay with you forever. 

Pro tips:

  • If you’re short on time, the half-day tour is ideal for a quick but exhilarating adventure alongside playful dolphins. For a more immersive experience and extra time exploring the area, opt for the full-day tour. 

4. Savor fresh seafood at Kaikoura Seafood BBQ Kiosk

Website: https://www.kaikoura.co.nz/listing/kaikoura-seafood-bbq 

Address: 55 Fyffe Quay, Kaikōura Peninsula, Kaikōura 7300, New Zealand

Contact details: +64 27 274 3491

Operating hours

  • Monday – Friday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Saturday: 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM
  • Sunday: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Price:

  • Under $10 for every dish
  • Crayfish meal $45+

This hidden gem is where you can savor the catch of the day, straight from the bountiful waters of Kaikoura. Feast on mouthwatering crayfish, juicy mussels, and an array of delectable seafood delights, all expertly grilled to perfection on the BBQ. 

And while enjoying every bite, you can soak up the mesmerizing ocean vistas. For seafood aficionados, this is an absolute must-do in Kaikoura. 

Pro tips:

  • When dining at Kaikoura Seafood BBQ Kiosk, make sure to order their signature crayfish dish. It’s the superstar of the menu and an absolute must-try. 
  • If you can’t decide which seafood delight to choose, opt for the seafood platter, a mouthwatering assortment that brings together the best of the ocean. It’s a feast of crayfish, scallops, mussels, and fish, all presented in one irresistible platter.

5. Conquer Mount Fyffe on the Mount Fyffe Track

Website: https://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/mt-fyffe-and-the-seaward-kaikoura-range/ 

Address: Kaikoura Flat, Kaikōura 7371, New Zealand

Contact details: +64 3 546 9339

Operating hours: Open 24 hours

You can conquer the mighty Mount Fyffe in good ol’ Kaikoura! Strap on your hiking boots for an unforgettable journey through lush forests, where you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking vistas of the city’s rugged coastline and majestic mountains. 

But wait until you reach the summit—the view will leave you absolutely gobsmacked. Truly, Mount Fyffe is the ultimate local gem, offering an unforgettable hiking experience that showcases the very best of Kaikoura’s natural beauty. 

Pro tip:

  • Since there are no facilities along the way, it’s essential to bring all the necessities. Pack plenty of water to keep hydrated, energizing snacks to fuel your adventure, and don’t forget a trusty first-aid kit for any unexpected bumps or scratches.

6. Wander the Kaikoura Peninsula

Website: https://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-go/marlborough/places/kaikoura-area/things-to-do/tracks/kaikoura-peninsula-walkway/ 

Address: Kaikōura Peninsula Walkway, Kaikōura Peninsula, Kaikōura 7300, New Zealand

Contact details: +64 3 319 5641

Operating hours: Open 24 hours

Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway is where the magic happens! This scenic stroll serves as a feast for the eyes. 

As you wander along the clifftop path, you’ll be treated to panoramic views of mesmerizing coastlines and majestic mountains.

But what makes it truly exhilarating is the chance to encounter the vibrant wildlife up close. From playful seals to graceful seabirds, and maybe even a surprise visit from dolphins or whales, it is a surefire way to experience pure fun in Kaikoura.

Pro tip:

  • When exploring the Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway, make sure to include a stop at the Point Kean Lighthouse. It’s a must-visit spot that’s just a short and easy walk from the trailhead and offers amazing views.

7. Reel in the Thrill with Kaikoura Fishing Tours

Website: http://www.kaikoura-fishing-tours.co.nz/ 

Address: South Bay Main Marina, Moa Road, Kaikōura 7300, New Zealand

Contact details: +64 27 524 5687

Operating hours: Monday – Sunday: 7:00 AM – 8:30 PM

Price:

  • Fishing tours: From $60 (for all ages)
  • Groper/Bluenose trip: From $2500 (for ages 18+)
  • Private hire: $1440-$1920

Hook the ultimate adventure with Kaikoura Fishing Tours! With seasoned experts guiding you, you’ll have a shot at landing prized catches like blue cod and groper.

This is a must-do experience that promises exhilaration, laughter, and the chance to savor a delicious seafood feast as well. Nevertheless, it’s a fishing expedition like no other – an unforgettable journey filled with thrilling moments and tales to share!

Pro tip:

  • Before you embark on your fishing adventure, it’s essential to check the regulations. Keep an eye on the number and size limits for your prized catch. This savvy move ensures you stay on the right side of the law while enjoying the thrill of the hunt. 

8. Explore Kaikoura’s history at Kaikoura Museum

Website: http://www.kaikoura-museum.co.nz/ 

Address: 96 West End, Kaikōura 7300, New Zealand

Contact details: +64 3 319 7440

Operating hours: Monday – Sunday: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Price:

  • Adults: $12
  • Gold Card, Students, Community Service Card: $10
  • Children: $6
  • Family: $30 (2 adults and up to 4 school aged children)
  • Museum Membership from $20

No trip to Kaikoura is truly complete without a visit to the beloved Kaikoura Museum. It’s a gem that holds the key to unlocking the heart and soul of the town – its whaling legacy, Māori heritage, and the mesmerizing marine realm.

You might find it boring, but here’s the fun part: You can get the whole family involved in exciting activities like the I-Spy treasure hunt and museum quiz. 

Pro tips:

  • The cherished artworks and captivating photograph collections in the museum are protected by copyrights, so refrain from taking direct photos. Filming is also not allowed to preserve the integrity of the exhibits.
  • After exploring the wonders of the museum, don’t forget to stop by their quaint gift shop. It’s a treasure trove of delightful souvenirs and fascinating books about Kaikoura. 

9. Sample local delights at Kaikoura Farmers Market 

Website: https://www.eatnewzealand.nz/listing/kaikoura-farmers-market# 

Address: West End, Kaikōura 7300, New Zealand

Contact details: +64 21 256 4383

Operating hours: Sunday: 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM

Price:

  • Fruit and vegetables: $2-$5 per pound
  • Meat and seafood: $10-$20 per pound
  • Dairy products: $5-$10 per pound
  • Baked goods: $2-$5 per item

Indulge in a world of fresh, flavorful wonders at this vibrant culinary haven. With stalls bursting with farm-fresh veggies, heavenly baked goods, and local delicacies, it’s a food lover’s paradise.

Taste the essence of Kaikoura as you connect with passionate growers, bakers, and makers who bring their A-game to satisfy your cravings.

Pro tip:

  • Keep an eye out for the ultimate money-saving opportunity at the Kaikoura Farmers Market – bulk deals! When you spot vendors offering these special discounts, jump on the chance to stock up and save.

10. Soar above Kaikoura with Wings Over Whales

Website: http://www.whales.co.nz/ 

Address: Kaikoura Airport, 617 State Highway 1, Peketa, Kaikōura 7374, New Zealand

Contact details: +64 3 319 6580

Operating hours: Monday – Friday: 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM

Price:

  • Whale Watching Flight: $190
  • Whales by Air and Dolphins by Sea: $465
  • Wings and Kayaks Combo: $290

Ready for an exhilarating experience? Wings Over Whales offers an extraordinary way to witness the wonder of whales in Kaikoura. 

Buckle up and prepare for a scenic flight that will give you a bird’s-eye view of these magnificent creatures as they dance and dive into the ocean below. It’s like whale watching but with an adrenaline-pumping twist—the ultimate fusion of adventure and nature that you won’t want to miss!

Pro tips:

  • Don’t forget to bring your camera or smartphone to document the breathtaking sights from the air. Wings Over Whales flights provide fantastic photo opportunities, so have your device ready to snap impressive shots of the whales and the stunning coastal scenery.
  • When flying with a larger group, make sure to book your Wings Over Whales experience in advance. With their two spacious Gippsland Airvans accommodating up to 7 passengers each, they can seamlessly organize consecutive flights for your group.

11. Discover ocean treasures at Ocean Arts Kaikoura

Website: http://www.oceanarts.co.nz/ 

Address: 26 West End, Kaikōura 7300, New Zealand

Contact details: +64 27 699 8565

Operating hours

  • Tuesday – Sunday: 9:30 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Monday: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Price:

  • Artwork: From $50
  • Jewelry: From $20
  • Home decor: From $10
  • Gifts: From $5

This local treasure is packed with stunning artwork and awesome goodies that celebrate the sea’s beauty. From mesmerizing seascapes to rad marine-themed sculptures, you’ll find pieces that capture Kaikoura’s coastal vibe. 

And oh, the handmade candles! They’ll transport you straight to the shore with their irresistible scents. So, whether you’re after a unique souvenir or an epic gift, Ocean Arts has got you covered. 

Pro tips:

  • Ocean Arts is known for its community involvement. Look for items or initiatives where a portion of the proceeds go towards supporting local charities or environmental conservation efforts. 
  • Keep an eye out for their featured artist section as it’s a great opportunity to discover unique and limited-edition pieces.