Explore Kaikoura

Kaikoura is a small seaside community 183km north of Christchurch. Although the peninsula is backed by the dazzlingly snow-capped 2600m Seaward Kaikoura's, the town’s climate is tempered by the sea. Situated in New Zealand’s “sunbelt”, the region averages over 2000 hours of sunshine annually. As one of the rare places where giant whales, dusky and Hector’s dolphins, NZ fur seals, albatross, penguins, and various pelagic birds can all be viewed year-round, the area is a mecca for wildlife enthusiasts. However, there’s more to Kaikoura than its marine population:

  • Its great surf,
  • Beautiful Wilderness Walkway
  • Nearby ski fields
  • Excellent local seafood (especially crayfish)
  • Wineries all help to attract the region's many visitors
  • Whale Watch
  • Dolphin Encounter
  • Seal Swim
Check out Explore our backyard to see what deals you can get with many activities in the region. 


The History of Kaikoura

Maori legend describes how the Kaikoura peninsula, Taumanu o te Waka o Maui, served as the seat of the demigod Maui while he fished up the north island from the depths of the sea, and the area was already inhabited before European settlement.  Later, Kaikoura was an important whaling station until 1922, when the end of whale-hunting made the town dependent on its agriculture and fishing resources. Since the late 1980s marine life has once again taken economic precedence in the form of eco-tourism activities which have firmly established Kaikoura on the tourist map.  The name Kaikoura means “to eat crayfish”. It is said that the full name is Te Ahi-kai-koura-a-Tamatea-pokai-Whenua meaning “the fire which Tamatea-pokai-Whenua made to cook crayfish”. The legendary traveller stayed at Kaikoura Peninsula to cook crayfish during a journey.

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