Kaikoura Peninsula © Christchurch & Canterbury TourismTucked away between the sea and the stunning seaward Kaikoura Ranges, Kaikoura was once little more than a sleepy seaside fishing village. These days, Kaikoura is one of New Zealand's most popular destinations thanks to its whale watching, dolphin and seal swimming operations. Whales frequent the waters of Kaikoura all year round, and there are few thrills equal to the sight of these magnificent creatures breaching the waters. You can take your pick from nature cruises and scenic flights to watch the whales. Dolphins and seals also visit the Kaikoura coast at certain times of the year, and swimming with these playful marine mammals is a real delight.

Walkers will enjoy an outing along the Kaikoura Peninsula, with its panoramic vistas of the coastline and mountains, and its native seal colony at the tip of the peninsula. The Maori Leap limestone sea cave, with its impressive stalactites and stalagmites, is also worth a visit.  For a spot of outdoor adventure, there is moutaineering, 4WD safaris, fishing and boating, or catch the waves at South Bay across the isthmus from the town. Kaikoura is centrally located between Picton and Christchurch and also makes an excellent break for travellers driving between Blenheim and Christchurch. Be sure to try the delicious crayfish while you're in town – Kaikoura's Maori name translates as 'meal of crayfish' and it's a local delicacy.

Geographic Location

Township on the Kaikoura Peninsula




Mild maritime climate

Summer Average: 13 - 20°C
Winter Average: 5 - 11°C