Whale watching? Check! Dolphin Swimming? Check! Crayfish meal? Check! You know what’s brought you to Kaikōura, you’ve ticked your bucket list on this little township but now, it’s our turn. Let us show you what you’ve missed and what little gems shouldn’t escape your attention while you’re here.
Look behind the curtain to learn the secrets you should know about this rugged coastal town just north of Ōtautahi Christchurch.
Showcasing the talents of a fantastically artistic couple; Greg & Mary Ashwell; this little studio on the edge of suburban Kaikōura overlooks the stunning Mt Fyffe and Kaikōura Seaward Ranges. A regular at the Christchurch Tattoo Convention, take your choice of joining Greg on your cultural journey into the exploration of Tā moko or modern tattoo styles whilst enjoying the fine examples of their Carvings (both wood & bone), Paintings and Sculpture which surround the walls which also includes a litany of re-purposed and re-imagined household items for that “Kiwi-as” touch. Be sure to drop in and be impressed.
For a town this small, it should not be home to a Museum this good! Located in the lower level of the local Council Building, in the centre of town (and just across the road from your local iSITE) this fantastic rendering of the local history and formation of the Kaikōura psyche is a must-do for any visitor to the town. With a collection and structure to it that wouldn’t look out of place in Te Papa, you’ll learn everything there is to know about the locality, including the long-running (and award winning) exhibition on the Kaikōura Earthquake of 2016 “New Normal”. Couple this experience with a visit to Fyffe House, the last remaining whaling station in the area (and only building supported by whale bone foundations), just a short walk from the seal colony at Point Kean.
Seal Swim Kaikōura
Competing with the international renown of the resident Whale and Dolphin populations is a tough job and the lively population of New Zealand Fur Seal is often overlooked as the “Little Brother” interactive experience in the town. Overlook at your own peril however, because, safe in the hands of an expert & local, family-owned operator, you will witness these playful animals in their underwater comfort zone in the waters just off the Kaikōura Peninsula. Previously (and rightly proudly) listed by Lonely Planet as one of their World's Top 10 Best Marine Encounters, seal-swimming will leave you pondering the extraordinary contrast to their lazier on-land reputation and realising why this is one of the best kept secrets in Kaikōura
Glenstrae Farm: Quad Bike and UTV Tours
Thrilling experience along the rugged Kaikōura coastline from the comfort of your own 4-wheeler quad bike or, for a more relaxing ride, a privately driven Viking UTV. Taking you across private farmland and native bush on an exclusive tour, you’ll finish with a private seal colony viewing to give you that “close encounter” experience. No experience needed, just bring a sense of adventure, and embrace your guides uniquely kiwi humour!
More at home in the “Big Smokes” a la Christchurch & Wellington, Sushi never comes to mind when imagining small-town New Zealand, does it? Homemade, handmade, and treated with care, this place epitomises the diversity of backgrounds in the town. World-famous in Kaikōura (sorry Paeroa), this institution is perfect for a snack on-the-go with seafood, meat, and vegetarian options to suit everyone’s taste.
Being a winner in the “New World Top 30 Beer and Cider awards” once is honour enough for an independently owned brewery but two years running is an outstanding achievement and may also be the reason you think you know this name already! The not-so-secret-in-Kaikōura combination of Brewery/Escape Rooms/Mini golf course is certain to give you at least one thing to do while in the township and at the very least, ensures you go home with a great taste of this town (pun intended).
Slam Club Kaikōura
Ever wondered why your sandwich tastes just meh? Well, it wasn’t created here...
Using fresh local ingredients, including meats & game sourced locally, the team at Slam Club Kaikōura, located on West End, will bring you flavours that you’ll be savouring for days to come. Memorably named creations; the “Quacky Chan” and “El Gringo” not only offer you a hearty and filling lunch but, stick them on a homemade waffle (add an egg for extra oomph) and treat yourself to a unique breakfast you’ll likely not get anywhere else! Don’t forget to save room for the (closely guarded) family-recipe apple strudel that makes tea/coffee and cake a perfectly splendid option here as well.
For all caffeine-cravers, Kaikōura’s got you covered. Kaikōura isn’t just home to amazing wildlife; this little spot has attracted some very fine baristas along the way who are more than happy to share their craft with you. Witness them in their natural environment at such places as:
With a wide range of options when it comes to accommodation, you won’t be disappointed in Kaikōura. There’s always room for unique however, whether that’s a Wacky Stay in a converted wagon or hiding away on a lavender farm, every taste is covered.
Winding along the Alpine Pacific Triangle and the Inland Route to Kaikōura are some of the best kept secrets that can be found, all within the peace and tranquillity of the Kaikōura Ranges.
High-end accommodation in a rustic, restored shepherds' cottage, complete with private heli-landing pad. Hidden away on one of New Zealands largest Angus stud farms “Te Mania”. Immerse yourself in rural activities such as clay pigeon shooting and horse trekking
Luxurious accommodation nestled amid the Kaikōura Ranges, coupled with fantastic views of the Kaikōura coastline over Oaro, giving a breath-taking mountain-to-sea experience.
Beautifully restored and cared for Train Carriages converted to 1-bedroom units for those wishing to enjoy a unique accommodation experience. Located 15mins away from Kaikōura township and right on the beach at Hapuku, perfect for a short getaway
“Immerse Yourself in Nature” is their tagline and its impossible not to when enjoying a stay here. Secreted away in some of the most secluded spots between Kaikōura and Christchurch, stargazing & native bush from the comfort of your see-through self-contained piece of paradise is a treat you will thank yourself for later.