Kaikoura – a NZ ‘Must Do’

Kaikoura is a pretty little coastal town two and a half hours north of Christchurch. There are lots of pretty little coastal towns in New Zealand. What makes Kaikoura special?

When you arrive in Kaikoura you’ll see huge mountains that frame the town, the Kaikoura Ranges. What you can’t see is that less than 2km off the shoreline, the ocean is just as deep as those mountains thanks to a deep underwater sea canyon – this provides the perfect conditions making Kaikoura so unique…

1) It’s the best place to see a variety of whales

Kaikoura is home to giant sperm whales all year round and many other species of dolphins and whales seasonally migrate through its waters.  Locals will tell you they often see whales from their living room windows, but the best way to see them is to take a whale watching tour. You could see Southern right whales, Minke whales, blue whales, orca (or killer whales) and humpback whales.

2) It’s home to the Dusky Dolphin – and you can swim with them!

In Kaikoura you can swim with dusky dolphins, renowned as the best dolphins in the world to swim with due to their playful and inquisitive nature!  You might also see rare Hector’s dolphins, which are only found in New Zealand waters.  Dolphin Encounter runs a sunrise tour which makes for gorgeous photos!

3) You can see it all for free!

Hiking the Kaikoura Peninsula walkway is one of the most popular, enjoyable and best ways to see views of Kaikoura township and some of the wildlife for free!  There is a seal colony at the beginning of the track and dolphins and whales come pretty close to the shoreline so you might spot them as you hiking around the headland!

4) You can go deep sea fishing a few kilometres off-shore

You don’t have to travel out for miles to get to some fantastic deep sea fishing spots! Oh, and there’s a reason there are so many whales, dolphins and seals in Kaikoura – it’s because there are so many fish! So you’re pretty much guaranteed to catch one. The local fish and chip shops will be happy to cook your fish for you for just a few dollars.

5) It’s home to “Baby Seal Waterfall”

More officially known as Ohau waterfall, this gorgeous spot, only a 10 minute hike from the main road, is a seal colony crèche! Pups make their way up the stream to the waterfall where they play and develop their skills and muscles. They stay at seal day care for a few days before heading back to find mum for some food. There can be up to 200 baby seals playing here at peak times! (Just remember that these wild animals and respect their space!)

6) It’s the best place to eat Crayfish in New Zealand

Kaikoura literally translates to “food-crayfish” in Maori – in other words, “meal of crayfish”.  You’ll find little seafood carts/caravans along the coastline where you’ll be able to get fresh Crayfish, Scallops, Fish, Paua and Mussels – Nins Bin is the most famous one and the Seafood BBQ Kiosk near the start of the peninsula walk is popular too.  Make sure you give it a try when you’re in town.

Original source: Stray Travel

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