In the South Island of New Zealand, a sweet-little coastal town where the mountains meet the sea is just waiting to greet you. Here you can relax and let the worries of the world wash away as the waves of the Pacific Ocean crash to the shore, surrounded by fresh sea and mountain air.
This vibrant seafaring town is Kaikoura, an area of New Zealand rich in cultural history and well-known for being a marine-lovers paradise. Not only is Kaikoura home to one of New Zealand’s best beaches, but this town is also the only local authority in the Southern Hemisphere to be awarded an EarthCheck certification for its dedication to sustainable tourism.
The Kaikoura Coastline
Located in the Canterbury region of New Zealand, the small township of Kaikoura can be found on a craggy peninsula, sitting on pastoral farmland and lying beneath the Seaward Kaikoura Mountains.
With vast stretches of blue-green ocean as far as the eye can see, giving life to a vibrant marine-eco system, home to some of New Zealand’s rarest marine wildlife and seabirds, Kaikoura is perhaps most famous for its exceptional seafaring adventures and is a must-do if you are a wildlife lover wanting to experience the best of pure New Zealand.
Getting to know Kaikoura
On land or by sea Kaikoura is a perfect all-year-round destination to relax, rejuvenate and explore one of New Zealand’s best beaches. No visit to Kaikoura would be complete without experiencing a whale-watching tour for which this town is world-famous. Out in the Pacific Ocean, the stunning sperm whale makes the waters off Kaikoura its playground, giving you the perfect opportunity to see this gigantic mammal in all its natural glory.
If you are a bird lover you’ve certainly come to the right place, there is a reason Kaikoura is known as ‘the Albatross Capital of New Zealand’ and that’s because there are up to 15 different species of this incredible bird that have made Kaikoura’s waters its feeding ground. The Albatross share these waters with other seabirds, including shearwaters, petrels and the cute New Zealand little blue penguin making for an unforgettable bird-watching experience.
The playful Dusky Dolphin is also found in the waters of Kaikoura. If you’ve ever dreamt of swimming with these majestic creatures, known for their acrobatics and inquisitive nature, then this is the place to tick this experience off your bucket list. This unique breed of dolphin is abundant in Kaikoura’s sub-Antarctic waters and a dolphin watching and/or swimming expedition is the perfect place to get up close to these beautiful mammals.
And, if the above marine-adventures are not enough, Kaikoura also offers you the chance to snorkel with the cheeky New Zealand fur seal. This trip takes place in the sparkling shallow waters of the Kaikoura Peninsula, giving you the chance to experience the raw beauty of natural New Zealand.
Stroll the beaches, feast on crayfish
If you are keen to give your sea legs a rest, Kaikoura also offers plenty of land based adventures.
There are bountiful easy-going walks along the edge of one of New Zealand’s best beaches, giving you the chance to explore and experience the history of this former whaling port and an area of the New Zealand that is rich in Maori culture and heritage.
Or if you feel like soaring high above the mountainous landscapes and cerulean waters to see Kaikoura from a different vantage point then why not take to the sky on a scenic flight? At the end of your day of adventure, sit back and watch the world go by with a Kiwi classic of hot chips and fresh fish on the beach or enjoy a mouth-watering feast of seafood at one of the local restaurants, another of Kaikoura’s many delights!
Kaikoura Beach with MoaTrek
MoaTrek visits Kaikoura Beach as the second stop in the South Island on many of our New Zealand small group tours. It’s a great way to see the sights of NZ including this awesome beach without the hassle of organizing it yourself. Included in the tour is a fascinating albatross encounter on a boat cruise, but you’ll also have the freedom to explore Kaikoura the way you want to with a free day in this special destination – great if swimming with dolphins or a whale watching cruise appeals.