Last Updated on 03/10/2021

Kaikoura is the ultimate coastal destination you visit to spend your fair share of time immersed in the breathtaking world of marine life. It’s located in the South Island, New Zealand – between Picton and Christchurch. Here you can go wild dolphin or whale watching. It’s home to sea life like the Sperm whale, the Dusky Dolphin, the Fur Seal, even Blue Whales – it’s no wonder Kaikoura is known as the ultimate marine life destination of the South Island. Here’s a brief look at the best things to do in Kaikoura!

Explore the Panoramic Views at the Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway

Approx. 4 km from the city, just an 8-minute drive, you’ll find the Kaikoura Peninsula. The peninsula walkway is approx. 11 km, and it’ll take around 2- 3 hours to complete. You can take a drive, however, you’ll miss out on much. Especially between the Point Kean and South Bay. The rocky track will present some enchanting sea views, and you can observe colonies of fur seals chilling! Certainly worth adding to your list of things to do in Kaikoura.

Observe the Peninsula Seal Colony bask in the sun!

One of the main attractions in the Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway is the seal colony that comes to rest on the rocky shores of the Kaikoura Coast. It’s a joy to watch these fuzzy marine lives just chill and enjoy their natural habitat. It does add that they look super adorable (when they are not barking at you- which in hindsight is still amusing). Perfect for wildlife photographers who want to capture these incredible moments. The walk will be unforgettable.

Let the Seals steal your heart at the Ohau Point Seal Colony

If you want a sensory overload of fabulous and endearing seal colony views, the Ohau Point is where you head to. Watch them basking in the sun – which’s just adorable. Please remember to be mindful if they’re all sleeping. Don’t wake them. You are lucky enough to share this space with them, so be respectful.  It’s going to be hard not to smile when you get to see super adorable seal pups up to their baby antics! A must visit!

Visit the Kaikoura Museum

Visit the Kaikoura Museum – located in the town, facing the Kaikoura Foreshore. This state-of-the-art museum is hard to miss, and it’s definitely a treat to anyone who visits. It’s also known as the Mini Te Papa and Craypot. This museum has an intriguing collection of unique artefacts, native collections, all of which are beautifully displayed for the viewing pleasure of visitors. It’s a great way to learn about the social history and the cultures that existed, and more. Worth adding to your list of things to do in Kaikoura.

Have a lovely walk around the Lavendyl Lavender Farm

Move a little away from the Kaikoura Coast towards the verdant lands of the South Island. Approx. a 7-minute drive from the city of Kaikoura. Take a stroll through fields of lavender. As you walk chest-deep in lavender, immerse in the beauty and the simple lavender aroma. You can buy some lavender based products, taste some lavender edibles.  It’s fun.

Visit the Kaikoura I-SITE Visitor Information Centre

Located next to the Kaikoura Museum, It’s where you get the travel updates to make your holiday unforgettable. The friendly staff will provide details on the best times to go whale watching, where to avoid going for a swim, best seasons to see a giant sperm whale and other whale species, have a dolphin encounter and an albatross encounter. From the best available whale watching tour or whale watching flight tour options, the best spots to swim with seals and more!

Enjoy the Point Sheep Shearing Show

Take a break From the Kaikoura coastline beauty to make a 5-minute drive out to the Kaikoura Point (near the Seal Colony) to enjoy this show. It won’t take too much of your time. Pete, the owner, is always ready to entertain you with his lovely flock of fluffy sheep. Learn about the importance of shearing and the fleece cleaning process, and have a fun time with the adorable sheep!

Have a Picnic and a splash at Kaikoura Beach

Take a break from exploring and enjoy a relaxing beach picnic. It’s an 8-minute walk down the esplanade– located in front of Kaikoura Township. The sandy shores are more pebble-like, but it’s still an ideal place to have a lovely picnic. The waters are blue and inviting. You can even go for a swim on a sunny day. Spot some wild dolphins, maybe a whale or two too! Worth including in your list of things to do in Kaikoura. 

The Fyffe House – Explore the house made of Whale Bones!

Visit this colonial house, set in an incredible hill-seaside cottage setting, located next to the Peninsula Walkway. It’s strangely beautiful from afar, the pink colours of the house, against the green hill and the blue of the sea at the distance really catches your eye. Built on old whale vertebrae as its foundations, there’s much to see up close – especially the history. It’s a great place to catch the sunrise too. Super stunning.

Go on a boat tour to experience an Albatross Encounter

While Kaikoura has earned quite a reputation for the marine wildlife it homes, it has also earned a reputation for being an ideal place to encounter the majestic Albatross and other feathered beauties like shearwaters, petrels and more! It’s a seabird hotspot! You can do a boat tour to see these incredible feathered beauties along with scenic views of the Kaikoura and the snow-capped mountains in the distance. Even spot some Dusky dolphins if you are lucky!

Go Sea Kayaking and get up close and personal with wild dolphins & whales!

There are plenty of Sea Kayaking Tours available in Kaikoura that will enable you to truly get the most of this magnificent experience. The Dusky Dolphins, Fur Seals and the Blue Penguins are just a few paddle strokes away. Take the enclosed sea kayaks over the waves to explore the waters around the Kaikoura Peninsula. The guides are super knowledgeable and will help you make the absolute best of this Sea Kayaking experience.

Make friends with adorable llamas as you enjoy a Kaikoura Llama Trek

Here’s a fluffy friend you would not have expected to have encountered in the South Island. Not only do you get to meet them, but you also get to spend some lovely time with them and really get to understand these fascinating creatures, all the while enjoying a trek along the Kaikoura coastline. There are half-day treks available along the Kaikoura bay and one-hour treks to the nearest river, with plenty of wildlife to see. It’s a one-of-a-kind trekking experience!

Observe magnificent whales on Scenic Flights!

Tour the blue waters of the South Pacific Ocean – home to the magnificent whale and other marine life, and enjoy the incredible passing views of snowcapped mountains as you make your way over the waters to whale watch from a unique vantage point. Observe the majestic sperm whales and blue whales splash around their natural habitat as you hover above them. It can’t get cooler than this. You can also witness some incredible panoramic landscape views of Kaikoura. It’ll be unforgettable altogether!