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Kaikoura is a small coastal town on the east coast (Pacific Ocean) of the South Island of New Zealand, about 180 km north of Christchurch and 130 km south of Blenheim. It is famed for its marine mammals (whales, dolphins, seals) and other sea-life, all of which you can see, some of which you can swim with, and some you can eat. In Maori, kai means "eat" and koura is "crayfish' (rock lobster). So Kaikoura is a place to eat crayfish!

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Points of Interest

  • Beach Beach
  • Business object Business object
  • Casino Casino
  • Civic property Civic property
  • Education Education
  • Entertainment Entertainment
  • Golf course Golf course
  • Green space Green space
  • Harbor Harbor
  • Historic site Historic site
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  • Medical Medical
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  • Skiing Skiing
  • Sports facility Sports facility
  • Theater Theater
  • Winery Winery

Points of Interest in Kaikoura

  • Fyffe House, 62 Avoca St,  + 64 3 319-5835, e-mail: fyffe@historic.org.nz. Oct–Apr 10am-last entry at 5.30pm, May–Sep Th–M 10am–4pm, closed Good Friday and 25 Dec. Kaikoura's oldest building. The earliest part, built in the 1842, sits on whale vertebrae foundations. Adult $10, tertiary student $5, child free.
  • Sperm whales
  • Dolphins
  • New Zealand fur seals
  • Wandering albatross

Depending on the season you may also see migrating humpback whales, pilot whales, blue whales and southern right whales. Kaikoura often hosts the orca, the largest member of the dolphin family, and is home to the world's smallest and rarest dolphin, the Hector's. Kaikoura also attracts the largest concentration and variety of seabirds on mainland New Zealand including 13 species of albatross, 14 varieties of petrels and 7 types of shearwater.

Kaikoura Museum

Kaikoura Beach

Fyffe House

Mount Fyffe

Mount Lyford

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Popular events in Kaikoura in the near future

Date: Category: The event list provided by Eventful
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About Kaikoura


The Maori settled in Kaikoura long before European colonisation of New Zealand and cultivated the coastal plain, planting kumara, a form of sweet potato. Maori legend has it that Maui placed his foot on the Kaikoura Peninsula to steady himself as he 'fished-up' the North Island.

In 1770, Captain Cook discovered the Kaikoura Peninsula, believing it to be an island at first. Early European settlers used Kaikoura as a whaling station from 1842 and the remains of pots used to render the whale blubber can be seen on the town foreshore.


  • Whale watching.
  • Surf reef breaks and point breaks. Two surf shops in Kaikoura plus local board manufacturer Surge Surfboards
  • Fishing trip.
  • Kaikoura Kayaks. Kayak with seals and dolphins.
  • Swim With Dolphins.
  • Swim With Seals.
  • Kaikoura Wilderness Walks, PO Box 177, Kaikoura,  +64 3 319-6966. Two & 3 day all-inclusive guided hikes through the privately owned Puhi Peaks Nature Reserve near Kaikoura. Upmarket lodge accommodation, untamed wilderness, dramatic alpine terrain, expert local guides.
  • South Pacific Safaris, Glencree Station, RD2, Kaikoura,  +64 3 319-5189. Experienced, professional hunting guides offering deer hunting trips and other trophy hunts amongst magnificent mountains near Kaikoura plus luxury hunting lodge accommodation.


  • The Strawberry Tree, 21 West End (in between Global Gossip and Global Culture). Relaxed and friendly environment. It has a sunny beer garden and, in winter, an open fire. They also have their own brand of beer called Sheep Shagger's lager. Wednesday nights are quiz nights. Fridays are jam nights – everyone is welcome to get up and have a go. There is a range of live music playing, especially during the summer months. The menu includes crayfish, seafood chowder, blue cod, steak, mussels and much more.
  • The Top Shop Fish and Chips, Beach Road, Kaikoura (at the branch of Beach Road and Old Beach Road). 8-8 most days. Located about 1.5km north of the centre of Kaikoura, just on the beach side of the main road, you'll find some of the best fish in New Zealand. However, the chips are without doubt the best and great value too. Run by the nicest, friendliest and most helpful couple you could wish to meet.
  • Waipapa Bay Lobsters, 32km north of Kaikoura, has crayfish – always fresh, never frozen. There are outdoor tables where you are welcome to eat, or you can have them packed on ice should you want to eat them later in the day.
  • Kekerengu Store. On the main highway, 53km (40 minutes drive) north of Kaikoura. Stop for a bite to eat, or a meal. The best restaurant for miles - hey, its the only restaurant for miles and has to be the best, so people will stop. Just far enough north, on your way to Picton, to justify pulling over for a rest break.


  • Kaikoura Winery.

This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Kaikoura on Wikivoyage.