Kaikoura, New Zealand (3/14 – 3/16)


Getting “Wild” in Kaikoura


Why Travel to Kaikoura, New Zealand?

Kaikoura’s landscape includes lush mountains and stretched beaches which boast interesting marine life you can actually swim with as an excursion. Hands down, swimming with local seals in the wild was one of the most unique adventures of our travels. Additionally, Kaikoura is one of the few places on earth where Sperm Whales can be seen year-round. The quaint city is also the perfect place to enjoy a serene coastal walk.


How Long to Stay in Kaikoura, New Zealand?

We would allow for a minimum of two to three days in Kaikoura, as many wildlife tours and activities are weather-dependent. You can spend one full day relaxing and walking around the peaceful city. And then another day or two for some wildlife adventures. Giving yourself an extra day or two, in case there is bad weather, is a good idea as you don’t want to miss out on the incredible marine encounters.


Top Things to Do in Kaikoura, New Zealand

1) Snorkel With Wild New Zealand Fur Seals

Like we previously stated, the Seal Swim was one of the most unique marine encounters we have ever been a part of. We snorkeled alongside New Zealand Fur Seals in their natural habitat. This was a breathtaking activity and we can’t recommend it enough.

You can actually swim up and around the rocks they sit on. You are not allowed on the rocks however, as the seals become territorial and could attack. In the water they were much more docile and curious. Marlena actually shared a moment with one seal where they sat floating in the water less than 5 feet apart looking into each others eyes for at least 10 seconds.

2) Enjoy The Drive

Driving from Akaroa to Kaikoura, enjoy views along the hilly Canterbury region, including Lyford and Waiau.


3) Walk The Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway

This was actually a really cool walk. Notice the impressive cliffs that you are able to walk on top of and also below them scouring the coast. We walked the long pebbled-beach coast and had an encounter with a New Zealand Fur Seal colony basking in the sun. You can walk start your walk from the town center. The full walk can be enjoyed in three hours.

See this link for more info on planning the hike: Kaikoura Walkway.

4) Enjoy a Walk Around Scenic Kaikoura

We didn’t take many pictures of the buildings in Kaikora but right in the town center are nice views of the mountains and coast.

Kaikoura – where you can enjoy views of the ocean and mountains, all in one place.


Where to Stay in Kaikoura, New Zealand

Albatross Backpacker Inn

We had a private queen room with a shared living area which was lovely decorated and quite comfortable.

The living room was a lovely place to enjoy our local hard cider we picked up


Where To Eat in Kaikoura, New Zealand

Thai Siam

We discovered the best coconut rice and Thai dishes we have ever had. Go figure, travel the world and you find your favorite Thai food in New Zealand. I still need that recipe…the cook wouldn’t budge.

Original World Famous Kaikoura Seafood BBQ

A favorite among locals, this food-stall by the water offers fresh local-caught seafood in an outdoor setting.


Other Recommendations of Things to Do

These are all adventures that we unfortunately didn’t have time to do on our own but would have considered if we had more time:

  • Whale Watching – The chances of seeing whales on a tour are close to 100% year-round, unfortunately we just didn’t allot enough time.


Questions For You

  • Would you be daring enough to swim with wild seals?



    1. Thank you Christy! Kaikoura is a wildlife paradise. We can’t wait to go back to swim with the seals again and even the dolphins! This place is magical!! We hope you can visit there one day!


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