Things to do in

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: Premium Whale Watching Flight

5. Kaikoura: Premium Whale Watching Flight

Join the team at Wings Over Whales Kaikōura for a premium whale watching flight. Pull in to our spacious car park built for any size vehicle where you will find our beautiful log cabin airport terminal building. Enjoy an electronic check in process before an informative whale briefing with audio visual presentation. Relax in our café area where free tea, coffee or hot chocolate beverages are available while you wait for your flight or while you watch friends and family members enjoy their experience. We also have cold drinks, snacks and ice creams available to purchase. 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 resident mighty Sperm Whale, this is a once-in-a-lifetime flight to view these animals, as well as other whale and dolphin species that frequently 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.

Kaikōura: Zipline and Native Forest Adventure Trip

6. 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. Please copy and paste the URL shown below to read the Risks Associated with Ziplining prior to booking.

Kaikoura: Seal-Watching Pedal Kayak Tour

7. 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.

From Christchurch: Kaikoura Whale Watching Day Tour

8. From Christchurch: Kaikoura Whale Watching Day Tour

Get picked up from one of the meeting points in Christchurch and head north towards Kaikoura. Your driver will point out some of Christchurch’s sights along the way. Stop in the town of Cheviot for morning tea and a stretch of the legs. After eating, get back on the road to Kaikoura. Weave your way along a stunning costal road and keep an eye out for surfers and local wildlife. You may even spot some seals. Arriving in Kaikoura, stop at a lookout to take in the majestic views of the mountains and the Pacific Ocean. Then, spend the morning exploring the township. In the afternoon, have a chance to meet some of the local whales on a whale watching excursion. Marvel at these ocean giants from the boat. After whale watching, start the journey back to Christchurch. On the way, stop at Waipara, one of New Zealand’s premier wine regions. Visit a locally owned and operated vineyard and taste a selection of wine. If you don't like wine, you may enjoy a tasting of beer instead. Please note "Whale Watch" is on high demand with limited availability. This is booked separately by us and we will get in touch with you asap regarding this add on activity.

Kaikoura: Coastal and Alpine Scenic Airplane Flight

9. 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.

From Christchurch: Kaikoura Day Tour with Dolphin Cruise

10. From Christchurch: Kaikoura Day Tour with Dolphin Cruise

Board your van in Christchurch and head out to Kaikoura, a small coastal town. As you drive, take in the panoramic views of turquoise water and snowcapped mountains. As you get closer to Kaikoura, keep an eye out for local wildlife with the help of your guide. Spend some time in Kaikoura and enjoy a tasty lunch of fish and chips before boarding a dolphin-watching cruise. Head out into the blue water in search of Kaikoura’s Dusky dolphins. Decide whether you want to watch the dolphins frolicking or dive into the water with them (available as an upgrade). After your cruise, head back to Christchurch. On the way, stop to taste local Kiwi wines in Waipura.

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What people are saying about Kaikoura

Overall rating

(649 reviews)

We had a fantastic flight piloted by Alex. From the moment we arrived everyone was friendly and helpful. Alex did everything he could to find a whale and he succeeded! He was really mindful of turning the plane t ensure everyone got a good view and photos. I would definitely recommend!

was a great morning on the sea, guides were great as was Captain Marlene. Great to see the seals and bird life, sad we missed the whale just seeing him dive as we arrived. Great that we were given a partial refund, awesome customer service. A highly recommended trip.

The tour was amazing. The sightings of a Sperm Whale (twice ) and a Humpback Whale together with heaps of Dolphins and Seals was incredible Thankyou for a wonderful afternoon.

5 zips and great guidance. Good explanation, very relaxed and safe.

Incredible activity for the whole family! Highly recommend!!