Visit Kaikoura

Picture yourself enjoying a fine lunch in a small rural town. On one side is the Pacific Ocean, with whales, dolphins or seals sometimes in sight of your lunch spot. On the other the lush plains rise to majestic mountains that stand tall above this rich landscape.

You’re in Kaikoura, one of the wonders of nature, known for its spectacular marine life and landscapes, but also more recently for its damaging earthquakes. These forces of nature may have shifted the landscape and caused some challenges, but we can assure you that Kaikoura is as appealing as ever! The town is returning to normal, with accommodation available, and many of the marine experiences now reopened. This site will guide you in knowing what is open, how to get here, and why this destination should be on your bucket list.

Kaikoura relies heavily on tourism, showcasing its stunning scenery and unique marine wildlife experiences. Your visit will not only be an exceptional lifetime experience, but also a benefit to the town and its livelihood. If you want to help Kaikoura in its recovery and growth, you’ll find all you need on this site to lend your support.

And yes, Kaikoura is ...

Open!

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Give the gift of Kaikoura!

Nestled in the shadow of the rugged Seaward Kaikoura Range and bordering the Pacific Ocean, Kaikoura is a truly spectacular place. With such incredible scenery and amazing wildlife, it’s no wonder it has become one of NZ’s most popular destinations for both international and local visitors. But right now, when normally there would be thousands of visitors watching whales, swimming with the dolphins, or soaking in the scenery; it's currently comparatively quiet. As a small rural community, they rely heavily on visitors.

But you can help. These businesses are either open, or soon to open, and by pre-purchasing an experience, you’re helping them in the present, by keeping staff employed and having the ability to get operations back to 100%. Give the gift of a Kaikoura experience, and in doing so, help the town recover: The ultimate gift!

$150

Whale Watch Experience Gift Voucher

Kaikōura is a marine lovers' paradise, with marine mammals encounter available all year round. Giant Sperm Whales are the stars of the show and year-round residents. On a typical Whale Watch tour you may also encounter New Zealand Fur Seals, pods of Dusky Dolphins and the endangered Wandering Albatross.

Give this incredible maritime experience as a gift this Christmas. Vouchers are valid for 2 years from the date of purchase.

$150 NZD Per Adult, $60 NZD Per Child (3-15yrs inclusive)

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$99

1/2 Day Seal Kayaking Tour

Experience the excitement of watching Fur Seals ducking, weaving and diving around your kayak. Paddle gently along with them as they swim around the Kaikoura Peninsula hunting for their favourite feed of Octopus.

Our ½ Day Seal Kayaking tours are one of the most popular activity tours in Kaikoura.

Adults, $99.00, kids 12yrs and under $70.00. Call us on 0800 452 456, email [email protected] or book online now! !

Purchase Now

$175

Dolphin Encounter Gift Vouchers

Swimming with the dusky dolphins or joining the tour as a spectator is an incredibly special Kaikoura experience. The dusky dolphins are fondly regarded as the “acrobats of the sea” and the aerial displays of somersaults and leaps will bring a delightful appreciation of nature at its finest.

This is the perfect gift for those truly wanting to connect with nature!

Swimming: $175 NZD Per Adult, $160 NZD Per Child (8-14yrs). Watching: $95 NZD Per Adult, $50 NZD Per Child (3-14yrs). Vouchers are valid for two years from the date of purchase.

For more information please email [email protected] or phone 0800 733 365

$125

Albatross Encounter Gift Vouchers

Kaikoura is regarded as a top location for seabirds with up to ten different albatross species frequently sighted. This boat based birdwatching extravaganza is an opportunity to see a diversity of species in one place and in a short time frame.

This a fantastic gift for those with a passion for birds, and seeing these majestic creatures in their natural habitat.

$125 NZD Per Adult, $60 NZD Per Child (5-14yrs). Vouchers are valid for two years from the date of purchase.

For more information please email [email protected] or phone 0800 733 365.

$110

Seal Swim Kaikoura Gift Voucher

Snorkelling with wild New Zealand Fur Seals, in the shallow waters of the beautiful Kaikoura Peninsula, truly is a unique experience. It's one of those simple nature experiences that opens your mind to the sheer magnificence of our natural environment and its amazing inhabitants.

Give the gift of one of the world's Top 10 Marine Encounters' (Lonely Planet).

Swimming: $110 NZD Per Adult, $70 NZD Per Child (up to 14yrs). Spectator: $55 NZD Per Adult, $35 NZD Per Child (up to 14yrs). Vouchers are valid for two years from the date of purchase.

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What's going on in Kaikoura?

On November 14, Kaikoura and the surrounding area experienced a magnitude 7.8 earthquake. The impact of the earthquake and resulting landscape changes have been substantial and affected residents, visitors, and marine life.

But the Kaikoura community is resilient, as obviously is the wildlife! Within four weeks of the quake, the town was “open for business” and with road access now restored, it’s a great time to visit and show your support! The dolphins, whales, birds and seals are still there, with an interesting new landscape to play in!

78 Lodging Providers

68% are currently open for business.

100 Hospitality Providers

83% are currently open for business.

47 Activity Providers

83% are currently open for business.

4 Service Providers

100% are currently open for business.

Experience Kaikoura

Kaikoura is a unique destination, and undoubtedly the best place in New Zealand to experience marine wildlife, in a stunning location. It’s business “not quite as usual” for some experiences in Kaikoura, here’s an update on the key ones.

Whale Watch Kaikoura

Whale Watch is New Zealand's only vessel-based whale watching company offering visitors an exciting up-close encounter with the world’s largest toothed predator the Giant Sperm Whale in their natural environment at all times of the year.

On Monday 2nd January 2017 we will commence commercial whale watching trips again. We hope to see you on the water soon!

Open for business

Dolphin Encounter

Swimming with or watching the dusky dolphins which are regarded as the most acrobatic of all dolphin species is a "must do" experience while in Kaikoura. Pods of dusky dolphins ranging in size from 100 to 1000 are typically found all year round.

We have now opened our Café, Customer Service and Retail from 8.00am–3.00pm daily. Dolphin tours are operating daily by prior arrangement only, we are not running scheduled tours as yet. Tours will be subject to a number of factors including, weather and the tides.

Open for business

Seal Swim Kaikoura

Swim with wild Fur Seals in the shallow waters of the beautiful Kaikoura Peninsula. Recently listed as one of Lonely Planets Top 10 'Best Marine Encounters' Worldwide. This is an experience you do not want to miss! No experience necessary!

Our boats and facilities are ready to go and we are ready to operate as soon as circumstance of the surrounding area permit. The seals are back in large numbers on the Peninsula where we swim.

Open for business

Kaikoura Kayaks

Kaikoura's Original Kayak Operator. Award winning 1/2 day guided sea kayaking tours to view Fur Seals. 100% viewing success. Chance encounters with dolphins, penguins and albatross. Stay warm and dry in your enclosed stable double sea Kayak.

The good news is we are operating, we have an awesome team and are ready to show you our new coastline!

Open for business

Wings Over Whales Kaikoura

Experience the Majestic Sperm Whale, playful Dusky Dolphin and Kaikoura's incredible scenery from above! Wings Over Whales Kaikoura provide whale watching and scenic flights from comfortable, safe, high-winged aircraft.

Wings Over Whales Kaikoura continue to be open for whale watching flights, scenic flights and private charter.

Open for business

The Kaikoura Coast Track

Walk Kaikoura's hidden coastline and experience a private walking track like no other. Let us share our beautiful land with you for two days as you discover a coastline with abundant wildlife, bush, tussock covered hills and farmland.

Hello to all our walkers out there. All is well on Conway Flat. All is well with the Kaikoura Coast Track. Access to the south all open.

Open for business

Kaikoura Helicopters

Put yourself in the ultimate vantage point and explore Kaikoura and its many natural wonders with Kaikoura Helicopters. See the entire Whale, as we hover and fly slow orbits above him. Be amazed by the large pods of Dolphins. Explore the unique and rugged Kaikoura Coastline.

We are open for business as normal now for Earthquake Recovery, Transfers, Earthquake Scenic's, Heli Whale Watching, Alpine Scenic's, Heavy Lifting, Aerial Filming & Photography, Property & Stock Inspection, Search & Rescue...and more

Open for business

Levi's Pedal Kayaks Kaikoura

Levi's Pedal Kayaks Kaikoura has three main tours, with the seal kayak tour being the favorite. All tours are guided with transport from any location in Kaikoura. Come see the seals with us today.

From Dec 1 onwards me and my awesome guide Lui are going to be running guided tours to check out the new spots, these tours will be a donation tour so please tell ya friends and book.

Open for business

South Pacific Whale Watch

South Pacific Whale Watch provides New Zealand's most unique nature experience, Whale Watching by helicopter. Let us show you the amazing Leviathans of the deep the Sperm whales of the Kaikoura Whale Sanctuary. The Wild is closer than you think.

Open for business

Albatross Encounter

Kaikoura, world famous for whales and dolphins, also provides a wonderful opportunity for viewing an impressive array of seabirds, including the mighty albatross.

We have now opened our Café, Customer Service and Retail from 8.00am–3.00pm daily. Albatross tours are operating daily by prior arrangement only, we are not running scheduled tours as yet. Tours will be subject to a number of factors including, weather and the tides.

Open for business

Air Kaikoura

With one of the world’s most experienced whale watching pilots at the helm, let Murray and his friendly team of pilots/instructors fly you over the Kaikoura Sea Canyon to view the mighty Sperm whale from the tip to the tail.

In light of recent events Air Kaikoura will be running return flights from Christchurch (Rangiora) and also return flights from Blenheim (Omaka).

Open for business

How do I get to Kaikoura?

Situated roughly halfway between Picton and Kaikoura, the incredibly spectacular drive is almost enough of a reason alone to visit! Currently the inland route (SH70) is open, as is SH1 from Christchurch to Picton. SH1 North (from Picton to Kaikoura) is closed until further notice. You can also access Kaikoura by air, with daily return flights.

With many activity operators now up and running, the effort to get there will be unquestionably rewarding!

By Road

Road access to Kaikoura is now OPEN, with unrestricted access via the inland route (SH70) from Waiau to Kaikoura. Speed and stopping restrictions do apply. The great news is that SH1 from Christchurch to Kaikoura is now also OPEN. This road is only open from 6am to 8pm and some sections are one way. SH1 from Picton to Kaikoura is expected to be closed for many months yet while repairs are effected.

For the very latest in road and travel information for the Canterbury and Marlborough regions, visit the official NZTA site. and keep an eye on the status of these roads:

Picton to Kaikoura (SH1):

Closed 

[latest status update from NZTA]

Inland Route (SH70):

Open

[caution required - latest status update from NZTA]

Christchurch to Kaikoura (SH1):

Open with restrictions

[[ SH1 south of Kaikoura will be closed to all traffic for eight days from 8pm on Sunday 26 March to 7am on Tuesday 4 April to enable emergency slip face stabilisation work to be carried out. This work has become more critical following the heavy rain during the last few days which has closed the road for much of this week and part of last week. New slips along the route have meant we have repeatedly had to close the highway, disrupting travel. This work will make the route more reliable. Kaikoura will continue to be accessible by Inland Route 70. see the latest update ]]

This road is open in both directions but will be closed from 8pm to 6am every night from Peketa to Goose Bay. This road may close at short notice due to weather conditions. There are multiple works sites along this route where the road will go down to one lane and temporary speed restrictions will be in place. [latest status update from NZTA]

By Bus:

InterCity's daily bus services between Christchurch and Kaikoura resumes on January 12, travelling via the reopened State Highway 1.

Service 8728 will depart Christchurch at 7:00am, arriving in Kaikoura at 9:40am. Service 8727 will depart Kaikoura at 3:50pm and arrive in Christchurch at 6:25pm. Book at www.intercity.co.nz

By Air

With road access restricted into Kaikoura at present, the easiest way to experience Kaikoura is by air. 

DAILY SERVICES from Blenheim or Christchurch
CHARTER SERVICES: 
From Kaikoura:
From Nelson:
From Blenheim:
From Christchurch:
From Queenstown: