Top Things to Do in Kaikoura: Unforgettable Experiences Await!

Kaikoura is also known as “where wildlife takes over civilization”. This is a small town nestled on the shore of the Pacific Ocean, which remains a year-round tourist destination featuring some of the most memorable experiences that New Zealand is known to offer.

Here are the top 6 things you must not miss out on doing here in Kaikoura to complete your visit to New Zealand.

6 Things to Do in Kaikoura

1. Go Watch A Seal Colony and Take a Nap

Go Watch As seal Colony Take A Nap
Go Watch As Seal Colony Take A Nap

Seals are the most buzzing thing to watch in Kaikoura! The ideal place to watch seals is along the Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway with various viewpoints over seal colonies, along with plenty of seals probably blocking the path also. Better to give the seals plenty of space, as they do not like to be disturbed on land.

Located at the end of the peninsula, you can visit the Point Kean seal colony and always can see many fur seals. Generally, the best time to go is when the tide is out, as all the seals reside, sleep, and rock and roll near to the car park. 

This is a Department of Conservation-managed area and is free to visit. Whiles you can get the opportunity to see such marvelous marine life up close (not too close though) in your natural environment, we were a little disconcerted by some of the tourists who clearly didn’t respect wildlife so much and insisted on getting way too close for comfort.

2. Dive with Dolphins

You may also enjoy swimming with dolphins in Kaikoura as it is one of the main attractions. You will find small dusky dolphins that are easy to approach and playful. Hop on a tour boat, put on a snorkel, and jump in the water fearlessly.

You can opt to go with the tour operator Dolphin Encounter for two reasons. Firstly, they are one of the main and best-reviewed operators for these types of dolphin adventures in Kaikoura. Secondly, you can also score a half-price deal through the Kiwi discount site Bookme. You should organize your trip dates weeks in advance. Meaning you could benefit from excellent discount deals like this.

You might encounter literally hundreds of dolphins; in numbers like nowhere else you’d seen in New Zealand (e.g. in the Bay of Islands and Milford Sound), you will see a few dolphins.

You can also pay extra to ‘swim with the dusky dolphins’ in the Bay of Islands. Note that if you suffer sea sickness easily; the waters here can be very choppy and this probably isn’t the adventure for you.

Suggested read – 11 Hot Destinations for Kayaking in New Zealand

3. Mountain Bike


You may hike up the 8-hour trail to Mt Fyffe or can also get on a bike to get it done in half the time. Be careful that going up and down both will need expertise; so if you’re not sure or not aware of how to do it go hiking instead of biking. It’s a challenge though, and you’ll need to be quite experienced to make it safely

With such incredible landscapes awaiting you around the town; one of the more thrilling things to do in Kaikoura is to tackle a few mountain biking trails. You’ll have the chance to see much more and go much further than if you head out hiking and the nearby mountains are very much a playground for bikers.

4. Check Out the Fyffe House- Whaling Museum

Fyffe House- Whaling Museum
Fyffe House- Whaling Museum

This little pink building is located on the outskirts of central Kaikoura. It is easily visited on your way to the seal colony whether you are driving or walking. It is the last remaining whaling station in Kaikoura and the foundation of the building is the original whale vertebrae; that were used to create the building originally.

There is a small admission to enter the museum of $10NZD per person. A visit will provide you with the opportunity to see the whalebone floor, and learn about the history of the whales in Kaikoura.

The history starts with a look at the discovery of the coastline and its whales; the occupation of hunting them for their resources and then takes you to today; where they are protected in the marine reserves of the area.

5. Treat Yourself with a Whale Watching Experience


Considered as one of the most popular and best spots in the world seeing giant sperm whales; Kaikoura will offer you the most delightful memories in your life to see these giants of the sea. You can see sperm whales all year long in Kaikoura with Whale Watch Kaikoura.

There are two main draws to Kaikoura and this includes the whales. The waters off the coast of Kaikoura are abundant in food for the whales; so there are a few that have made this area their homes year-round. You are most likely to see Sperm whales on your visit.

However, because of the excess of natural resources, there are many other marine mammals that move through this area including humpback whales, orcas, and blue whales.

Also in this area are dusky and hector dolphins and albatross. So if you’re lucky, you may have a chance to spot one of those on your visit as well. Be sure to book ahead with Whale Watch Kaikoura for your chance to see the whales.

6. Watch Kaikoura Sunrise

Watch Kaikoura Sunrise
Watch Kaikoura Sunrise

It is famous for its east coast of the South Island so have a glimpse of the best sunrise views in the country. Go to the coast at dawn to watch out for some vibrant colors appearing in the sky.


These are the most amazing things in Kaikoura that you must visit or see if you plan a trip to New Zealand.

Mamta Sharma

Mamta is a spirited writer hailing from Wellington, bringing a youthful zest to the world of digital content. Merging her love for narrative with an eye for detail, Ella crafts stories that resonate and engage the modern reader.