Situated on the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island, the small coastal town of Kaikoura is not just a rest stop along State Highway, it has proven to be a great travel destination. Between huge mountains and the Pacific Ocean, the narrow coastal plain of Kaikoura exudes the charm of a western beach town. It draws tourist with its nature oriented activities, relaxing atmosphere, and bountiful marine life.
Getting to Kaikoura is quite easy and straightforward. There are several bus services that run to and from Picton and Christchurch. These bus routes usually include a stop at Kaikoura. Another option is to take the scenic train line between the two cities mentioned. There is only one train service but it stops at Kaikoura twice, specifically at the Whaleway Station Road. The train ride is a great way to marvel at the mountainous landscape of the region. The glittering ocean is also a very nice sight that will greet you as the train line follows the coast going into Kaikoura. The coastal town also has a very small airport which only accommodates very small planes.
As mentioned, Kaikoura is an ideal place to get closer to gorgeous creatures swimming around the Pacific Ocean. While here, you can go for excursions to watch dolphins, sperm whales, and New Zealand fur seals in action. Other ways to experience these creatures is by joining snorkeling or diving trips. Kaikoura is one place where you can find the Orca, the largest dolphin in the world, and the Hector’s, which is the smallest and rarest dolphin species in the world.
At certain times of the year, various types of whales like the Southern Right Whales, Humpback Whales and Blue Whales can be seen migrating to this side of the world. If you are a bird lover then Kaikoura is certainly the spot to be, as it hosts the largest concentration of seabirds such as Shearwater Albatross and Petrels in all of New Zealand. Surfing is also a popular activity in the area as there are always exciting breaks brewing in the ocean. You can also take an adventurous fishing trip or kayak with swimming dolphins and seals.
From water-based activities, shift to the land and explore the mountainous region of Kaikoura. Hiking the mountain ranges in the area is a favorite activity among seasoned travelers especially because they provide the magnificent views of the town and the ocean. Other exciting activities include four wheel motor biking, horse trekking and cultural visits. One of the most notable sites in Kaikoura is the Maori leap cave, which is known for its elaborate stalactite, stalagmite and limestone formations. From the town, you can book an organized tour to the cave, which is suitable for all ages. Just outside Kaikoura are nature reserves and hunting grounds that are offer a plenty of outdoor activities for the while family.
After a full day of fun and sweating it out, reward yourself by dining at one of Kaikoura’s famed seafood restaurants. The coastal town has claimed the crown when it comes to serving sumptuous seafood dishes. Some of the popular tourist favorites are local dishes featuring cod, mussels, abalone, oysters, scallops, whitebait and grouper.