"A Whale of a Time?" Top 5 Page for this destination Kaikoura by fishandchips

Kaikoura Travel Guide: 210 reviews and 699 photos

Kaikoura 101

According to Maori legend, Kaikoura is the place that Maui placed his foot while he 'fished-up' the North Island. Kaikoura is a Maori word meaning 'meal of crayfish' (kai = food & koura = crayfish) and you can buy crayfish at many places up and down the Kaikoura coast - usually in a small caravan on the side of the road.

Kaikoura is an old Whaling town (as far as the Pakeha/Palagi settlers are concerned) and there is a good history on all of this at the Kaikoura Museum if you care to visit.

Watching the Whales

This has become a very popular thing in the area. The most common Whale visitor is the Sperm Whale (not like the White Whale you may have seen in Whale Rider) and Orca or Killer Whale. Male sperm whales average 15m in length. The maximum size is approximately 18m. Female sperm whales reach lengths up to 12m, but are usually smaller. A calf at birth is about 3.5 to 4.5 m. Sperm whales are the largest of the toothed whale species though they have no upper teeth. The most famous sperm whale was probably Moby Dick, a giant version of the Melville's 1851 novel.

Kaikoura lies within a major Whale sanctuary so you shouldn't see any boats from Norway or Japan conducting 'scientific study'....................

A place to rest and eat

Kaikoura has many places to stop for a drink & something to eat. You can either go into the main town part by turning right off the main Rd & under the rail bridge or carry on North a bit longer where a number of newer Cafe type places have sprung up. My favourite snack here is, you guessed it, fish and chips from a place on the main Rd out of Kaikoura with a Crayfish on the roof. As the locals might say - choice kai bro'.

Some interesting options are open to the visitor in Kaikoura. A few examples are;

Maori Tours
Wings Over Whales
Encounter Kaikoura

Check out the websites before you visit.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:The views, the Whales, the fish and chips!
  • Cons:Hard to find a car park
  • In a nutshell:Where Maui fished up the North Island
  • Last visit to Kaikoura: Nov 2009
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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