Kaikoura Welcome Sign

Kaikoura - What To Do

What to do in Kaikoura? The answer is usually whale watching but there is much more to do and see in this beautifully positioned New Zealand town.

Yes Kaikoura is world-famous for whale-watching but offers much more to visitors who want to visit this town of only 2,100 residents on the east coast of the South Island. Kaikoura is situated midway between Christchurch and Picton.

Reasons to visit Kaikoura include:


Local tour operators offer many different ways to observe the abundant sealife on the Kaikoura coast. These include daily tours by boat, flight and from land, and visitors get the chance to watch the famous Kaikoura sperm whales, dolphins, sea-birds and many other species. Some operators provide wetsuits so visitors can join dolpins and seals in the sea. A large colony of Southern fur seals is at the eastern edge of the town on the Kaikoura Pensinsula. Albatrosses are also seen in great numbers along the Kaikoura shore.

Kaikoura Mountains

Flight operators take tourists over the Kaikoura Mountains and along the coast and some land atop the snow-capped Mt Fyffe, looking 5000 ft above the coast. The area offers a range of organised walks, including half and full day tracks and climbs.


The name Kaikoura translates from Maori to 'meal of crayfish' and local crayfish industry is a significant contributor to the local economy. You can buy ready-to-eat crayfish at Kaikoura's many local cafes, restaurants and streetside vendors.

Sea activities

Kaikoura is a haven for those who like fishing either off the shore or from boats. Reefs provide excellent scuba diving opportunities and you can hire kayaks to paddle your own around the Kaikoura Peninsula.