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Our most recommended things to do in Kaikoura

Kaikoura: Whale Watching Cruise

1. Kaikoura: Whale Watching Cruise

Take a whale-watching cruise off the Kaikoura coast, and see giant sperm whales in their natural environment. Enjoy onboard commentary as you encounter a range of wildlife, including fur seals, pods of dolphins, and the endangered wandering albatross. Set sail on a catamaran, equipped with engines that minimize underwater noise and nonpolluting toilets. Take in the views from the large outdoor decks or stay inside the air-conditioned interiors with comfortable seating and plasma screens displaying marine wildlife animations. Gain an insight into the habitat with scientific information and indigenous knowledge about these creatures from the crew. Passenger numbers are kept well below the vessel's capacity to ensure a more personal experience.

Kaikoura: 40-Minute Whale Watching Flight with Commentary

2. Kaikoura: 40-Minute Whale Watching Flight with Commentary

Enjoy a panoramic whale-watching flight, with stunning scenic views along the spectacular Kaikoura coastline. Only from the air can you appreciate the huge size of the mighty sperm whale, a frequent visitor to the waters off Kaikoura. After a safety briefing and overview of your scenic flight, hop onboard for your whale-watching adventure in the skies. Every passenger gets a guaranteed window seat to enjoy maximum viewing of the ocean and its inhabitants below. On your 40-minute whale-watching flight, you may see sperm whales, dusky dolphins, humpback whales, blue whales, orcas, and other marine life. After finding whales enjoy a scenic flight of Kaikoura and the dramatic surrounding scenery, including snow-clad mountain ranges and turquoise ocean reefs. Whales are wild animals and sightings cannot be guaranteed. However, with over 30 years of experience and extensive local knowledge, the activity provider aims to give the best chance of sightings. Honest information on the likelihood of spotting a whale will be provided before the flight.

Kaikoura: Half-Day Wildlife Kayaking Tour

3. Kaikoura: Half-Day Wildlife Kayaking Tour

Begin your adventure in the town of Kaikoura where you will meet your professional guides. Receive a short safety briefing and paddling lesson before being allocated all the necessary equipment for the tour. Head out on the waters of the beautiful ocean surrounding the city. Kayak along the Kaikoura coastline, where you will take in the magnificent views of sheer cliff faces, craggy rocks, and mountain ranges while searching for chance encounters with Dusky Dolphins and Blue Penguins. Experience the excitement of watching cute fur seals ducking, weaving, and diving around your kayak. During your tour, you will have the opportunity to paddle gently along with these beautiful animals as they swim around the Kaikoura Peninsula hunting for their favourite feed of octopus. This tour is suitable for all ages and abilities while operating year-round, and doesn't require any previous kayaking experience. Encounter a diverse range of wildlife on the New Zealand coastline and see some of the country's most beautiful animals.

Kaikoura: Wildlife Kayaking Tour at Sunset

4. Kaikoura: Wildlife Kayaking Tour at Sunset

Join your guide as you kayak during sunset to experience the stunning glow of the seaward-facing Kaikoura Mountains. Have the chance to watch seals dive and maneuver around and under your kayak as the sunsets. Paddle with them as they swim around the peninsula hunting for octopus. Along the way keep an eye out for blue penguins or albatross and have a possible encounter with dusky dolphins. Your kayak is enclosed, safe, stable, and easily steered using a rudder. It's fast on the water, but still keeps you warm and dry. Your qualified and experienced local guide will teach you how to handle the kayak and paddle you through areas used years ago by local Maori and early whalers. Enjoy watching the light change as the day draws to an end.

Kaikoura: 40-Minute Whale Watching Flight

5. Kaikoura: 40-Minute Whale Watching Flight

Receive an informative briefing of the Sperm Whales and other wildlife of Kaikoura, ready for your 30-minute flight experience. Learn about its unique geology, and what you can expect to see during the flight. Spend a special half hour viewing these majestic creatures from a unique vantage point.  Head directly out over the Kaikoura Whale Sanctuary to start looking for Kaikoura's wildlife. This whale watching flight showcases the year-round whales and dolphins, as well as the stunning coastline and peninsula. Focusing on the mighty Sperm Whale, this is a once-in-a-lifetime flight to view these animals, as well as other whale and dolphin species that migrate through Kaikoura's waters.  All aircraft are high-winged, which allows each person their own window seat and optimal, unobstructed viewing and photography opportunities. Your tour finishes back at the terminal where there is a gift shop and refreshments available.

Kaikoura: Seal-Watching Pedal Kayak Tour

6. Kaikoura: Seal-Watching Pedal Kayak Tour

Meeting point - Seal Kayak Kaikoura is based right next to the towns centre where you will meet your awesome tour guide providing you with all the gear you need for a safe and enjoyable experience, come early and try our delicious gelato or sorbet. After a short safety video your guide will then drive you to the best kayaking destination of the day (only 3-5 minute drive away) toilets will be available before heading out onto the ocean. A quick how to use and operate these awesome kayaks then off we go! Keep your eyes peeled as we never know what to encounter as we kayak through and around rocky outcrops viewing the cool New Zealand Fur Seals, don't be surprised if one of these special creatures swim right up to you. Blue Penguins and Albatross are a common sight on our tours. Our easy to use hands free kayaks are suited for all ages and ability's, Perfect for a family day out. Never used a kayak before? no worries! you do not require any previous kayaking experience. We look forward to meeting you and showing you the amazing sights and marine life Kaikoura has to offer.

Kaikoura: Coastal and Alpine Scenic Airplane Flight

7. Kaikoura: Coastal and Alpine Scenic Airplane Flight

Enjoy a panoramic scenic flight, with stunning scenic views of the Seaward Kaikoura ranges and a birds eye view of the Kaikoura Peninsula. After take-off, we will climb to approximately 6000 feet to fly past the back of Mount Fyffe for some true mountain flying. Experience views of snowy mountain peaks, a waterfalls or a wild deer if you have sharp vision. Next, overfly Lake Hapuku, which is a direct result of the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake. Your pilot will then descend towards the Hapuku river mouth and fly along the black sand beach towards the Kaikoura peninsula. Flying around the peninsula, you get to see that it is dotted with resident seals next to the turquoise ocean.

Kaikōura: Zipline and Native Forest Adventure Trip

8. Kaikōura: Zipline and Native Forest Adventure Trip

Embark on a guided tour in Kaikōura, where nature meets adventure. Nestled against the stunning backdrop of New Zealand's South Island, enjoy an eco-friendly ziplining experience and soar above the breathtaking landscapes of Kaikōura. Make your way to Rakanui Station, a 3000-acre working farm with rolling valleys and hills covered in native trees, trickling rivers and fords, cascading waterfalls, and lush farmland. Start with a 4X4 expedition through the farm’s valleys and paddocks and past grazing livestock. Then, follow a short natural trail through the native New Zealand forest to where the adventure stage of your zipline experience begins. Feel the rush of adrenaline as you glide through the air, suspended by ziplines that traverse lush forests and reveal panoramic views of the ocean. As you zip from platform to platform, gain insights into the local flora, fauna and conservation efforts from your guides, adding an educational element to your adventure.

Kaikoura: Guided Family Kayaking Adventure

9. Kaikoura: Guided Family Kayaking Adventure

Hop into a kayak and paddle around the beautiful coastal waters of New Zealand for up to 1.5 - 2 hours. Take in the unique landscapes as you go or enjoy the thrill of getting right up close to New Zealand's unique marine life. Spot the curious fur seals swimming and diverse range of birds, fish, and more. Listen to a short briefing explaining how to gear up, paddle, and steer your kayak. Then with full confidence, embark on this adventure. The highly stable sea kayaks allow children to safely enjoy the kayaking experience with an adult paddling right behind them. Professional, qualified guides will remain close to you throughout the kayaking time. Take photos of the amazing mountainous region around you, absorb the sheer sublime rocks, and meet some playful New Zealand Fur Seals.

Kaikoura: Extended Flight Whale Watching & Mountain tour

10. Kaikoura: Extended Flight Whale Watching & Mountain tour

Witness the beauty of Kaikoura, a coastal town known for its marine wildlife and epic views on a 2-hour air tour that includes extended whale watching. Cover Kaikoura's rocky peninsula, lush farmlands and Seaward Ranges on the flight.  Listen as the guide briefs you about the local wildlife and safety instructions. Fly over the Seaward Kaikoura Mountains, Kaikoura Peninsula and the Pacific Ocean. Take advantage of the extra time in the whale area to view the majestic Sperm Whale. Experience the true magnitude of the world’s largest mammal, the whale. These animals can reach an impressive 18 meters in length and weigh up to 60 tons. Enjoy unimpeded views and have several photo opportunities to capture the natural beauty of the region from your window seat. This flight is a great option not only for whale watching but, for spotting other marine wildlife and migratory species as well.

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What people are saying about Kaikoura

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 649 reviews

We saw two Sperm Whales on our trip. The guide was really helpful in pointing out what to look for and also when the whales were about to dive and show their tails. The boat was very comfortable, even at speed.

We got lucky with the weather- calm clear sea and sunny day. We saw a large pod of dolphins, some ocars, and best of all a sperm whale. Absolutely unreal…

Very random to see a whale 😏, I did it twice, I wouldn't do it again

Exciting, but missing Spermwhales due to too long seeing of Orca’s.

Loved the water and the seals! Overall was a fun experience.