Whale & dolphin watching
Whale watching is one of those must-do life experiences. Kaikoura is the home of whale watching in New Zealand and there are many environmentally focused tourism operators in the area. Being rich in nutrients the Kaikoura coastal environment entices a wide range of marine animals to the area. These include Giant Sperm Whales which can be seen all year round. Seasonal species include Dusky Dolphins, Hectors Dolphin, Fur Seals and a wide variety of seabirds including the Royal Albatross.
Seafest is Kaikoura's premier festival featuring wine and food from the region. It’s an annual celebration of the Kaikoura region’s great natural abundance. Since 1995 the festival has been “a taste, sight & sound extravaganza for those who enjoy good food, good company and a good time”. Seafest kicks off Kaikoura’s summer season on the first Saturday of October, which is a similar time to the opening of the Kaikoura Coast Track which opens on the 1st of October.
Snorkelling with seals
One of Lonely Planet’s top choices for Kaikoura is to swim with NZ’s playful fur seals in the shallow waters of the Kaikoura Peninsula.
“It's one of those simple nature experiences that opens your mind to the sheer magnificence of our natural environment and its amazing inhabitants. A breath taking nature activity. You won’t believe how curious, friendly and playful New Zealand Fur Seals can be in the water.”
Cellar View Cafe Restaurant
Sitting atop a limestone cliff on the beautiful rugged coastline of Kaikoura, Cellar View boasts some of the most spectacular views in the region
Indulge in regional cuisine whilst taking in the magnificent landscape of vineyards, sea and mountain ranges and keep an eye out as there is always a chance of dolphin spotting from our panoramic balcony overlooking the bay.
Keen to get out on the water and explore the Kaikoura Peninsula from the seat of a kayak? Kaikoura has some excellent options for kayaking and kayak fishing. There are operators in the area who take tours, provide kayak hire and kayaking lessons. Chances are you’ll see fur seals and dolphins just a few paddle strokes from the shore. Suitable for all ages and abilities, operating year round.
Skiing and Snowboarding
Although the Kaikoura Coast Track is closed from 1 May to 30 September if you’re in Kaikoura at this time head up to Mt Lyford for some skiing. Located 1hr and 20 mins drive from Kaikoura, Mt Lyford has terrain for all abilities. They provide hire equipment, lessons, cafe, tubing, shuttle, accommodation, terrain park, half-pipe and groomed slopes.
The Panorama Motel accommodation complex in Kaikoura can truly claim to have magnificent and largely uninterrupted sea and mountain views.
Situated just metres from the sea, each room boasts views that capture the majesty of the mountains, the ever-changing character of the sea, and frame some of the most stunning sunsets and sunrises you will ever see.