Kaikoura

Beautiful Kaikoura’s natural wonders are outstanding, and it boasts a host of eco-tourism ocean activities with a backdrop of majestic alpine mountain ranges. The waters off the rocky peninsula of Kaikoura town provide a rich habitat for marine life and seabirds. Swim with fun-loving dusky dolphins and watch fur seals rest on warm rocks after a big night of fishing. Kaikoura is famous for whale watching; it lies within the Southern Hemisphere Whale Sanctuary and several species of whale can be sighted here during the year, predominantly the huge sperm whale. The Maori translation of Kaikoura means ‘meal of crayfish’– crayfish and other abundant food sources were the reason the region was originally settled by the Maori. Nowadays, the focus in Kaikoura is on conserving the marine life within a sustainable tourism industry.
 
It’s not all about sea life and whale watching, though; the Kaikoura region has some absolutely breathtaking scenery, including some the highest mountains in the South Island, and provides opportunities to ski and snowboard in the winter months. Go quad biking, river-rafting or take a ride on the mountain luge. Explore the countryside on horseback, take an off-road adventure or visit the farm parks. Visit a winery, stroll through a lavender farm, or treat yourself at the day spa. If you enjoy walking, hiking and cycling, you will find plenty of options, ranging from short strolls, to multi-day hikes and cycle trails. Kaikoura is a year-round destination that has something for everyone.

Whale Watching

Start the day by meeting Kaikoura’s locals – the local whales, that is. A whale watching cruise offers exciting close-up encounters with the giant sperm whale, the world’s largest toothed predator. As they're year-round residents, the chance of seeing them is high. Sightings of other creatures vary throughout the year – you may also see Humpbacks, Blue Whales, Southern Right Whales, Hector’s Dolphins and rare sea birds.

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Other Marine-life Encounters

Kaikoura’s special talent is marine mammal encounters – whales, fur seals and dolphins live permanently in the coastal waters, and the local seal colony is always entertaining. Swim with fun-loving dusky dolphins and watch fur seals rest on warm rocks after a big night of fishing. Take a bird watching tour to view seabirds, albatross, molly-mawks, petrels and many more.

Nowadays, the focus in Kaikoura is on conserving the marine life within a sustainable tourism industry.

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Seafood

Kaikoura actually means meal of crayfish and this area is a culinary hotspot in terms of seafood. Feast on fresh crayfish from one of the many ‘Seafood Caravans’ that dot the highways surrounding Kaikoura.  Selling crayfish and that day’s seafood catch – you can’t get fresher than that. Sitting on the beach devouring crayfish cooked with garlic and butter and looking out to the Pacific Ocean is a special kind of bliss.

It's not all about the crayfish though, other local specialities include paua, mussels, whitebait & hapuku. Kaikoura is the best place to sample these dishes.

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The Infinity Experience

It's All About the Seafood
Kaikoura literally means meal of crayfish; from Kai ,meaning food and Koura, meaning crayfish.

Content & assistance provided by Tourism New Zealand.