"Kaikoura" Top 5 Page for this destination Kaikoura by JohanIsWeg

Kaikoura Travel Guide: 210 reviews and 699 photos


KAIKOURA is a stunning destination nestled between towering mountains and a plummeting ocean floor beneath impossibly blue tides. Our first stop was the lookout, which is situated between two bays with Kaikoura on the northern shore. The views are spectacular!

The town itself is small and relies heavily on tourism: kayaking, diving with dolphins, swimming with seals and whale watching, either by cruise or from a helicopter or fixed wing aircraft. This is made possible by the abundance of sea life sustained by the massively deep trench in close proximity to Kaikoura and nearby Goose Bay.

We opted for the Whale Watch tour and after a quick briefing, a bus shuttled us to the harbour where we boarded the Tohora. It soon became clear that the tour operators rely quite heavily, excuse the pun, on a resident sperm whale, which all but guarantees the single sighting they regard as a successful cruise.

True to expectation, we saw a single spout of water on the horizon before the whale disappeared from sight beneath the gently heaving ocean. The Tohora doggedly tracked the diving whale while excited tourists patiently waited for the giant to breach.

The Tohora was right on target and we got close enough to initiate the frenzied click of camera shutters. Pre-warned by the crew, everyone was ready for the grand finale: the moment at which the massive tail appears above the water in a final farewell as the whale returns to the depths.

Closer inshore we observed a pod of dusky dolphins celebrating their zest for life with a spectacular aerial display of acrobatics. On our way back to harbour we came upon the uncommon sight of a humpback whale, which usually only visits the Kaikoura coast during winter.

On our cruise we were fortunate enough to see a magnificent albatross glide on the air currents while several seals drifted lazily with a single fin extended above the waterline. The crew told us seals often remain in the water for up to six or seven days before heading back to terra firma. We had an ominous sighting of a shark, which stealthily slid from view beneath the vessel.

The peninsula walk from Point Kean provides for more spectacular coastal views, both from sea level and the cliff-top route. In juxtaposition to the rock pools of the peninsula, Kaikoura’s beach consists of smooth, wave-scoured pebbles and driftwood.

  • Last visit to Kaikoura: Jan 2009
  • Intro Updated Feb 25, 2009
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Reviews (8)

Comments (3)

  • Sharrie's Profile Photo
    May 29, 2009 at 2:18 AM

    It was so long ago since I came by this place. Didn't see great sunset or whale, what I did have was the best valued and freshest lobster, cooked as soon as it was out of the sea! Amazing experience!

  • nickandchris's Profile Photo
    Apr 27, 2009 at 4:26 AM

    Great page. I suspect I would feel ripped off on the whale watch trip. Like your wife, I would be more interested in the dolphins and seals!!!

  • TravellerMel's Profile Photo
    Mar 2, 2009 at 12:25 AM

    Excellent tip on the whale watching tour - thanks! :-)


“Niks is so verganklik soos tyd nie. Nothing is as transient as time.”

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