Kaikoura is home to some amazing wildlife and you’ll have many chances to see it. Walk among the seals, swim with the dolphins, watch the whales or feed the albatross. We tried and failed to go whale watching and swimming with dolphins… but don’t worry, f you have the same luck as I did there are still plenty of things to enjoy about this beautiful seaside town in the northeast of the South Island.
The town itself is small enough to get around on foot and has plenty of options for accommodation and food. There is an aquarium and a day spa, you can visit a farm or a lavender garden, you can even go quad biking or llama trekking. It was in Kaikoura that I had my first experience with a New Zealand fire station alarm. It sounds like a WWII air raid siren and is the most terrifying this to wake up to when you don’t know any better. The beach is gorgeous, and it’s backed by snow-capped mountains, which is the best kind of beach.
For a free adventure I recommend walking along the coast until you get to the seal colony, just make sure to stay far enough away from them so they don’t feel threatened, they can move surprisingly fast on land. Apparently, if you’re in the water with them they’ll be super playful! But it was too cold to try out that theory…
You can also embark on a whale, dolphin or bird watching tour. There’s no guarantee that you’ll see the wildlife you were hoping for but the tour guides will try their best to make it worth your time and money. Our tour found a small pod of Dusky dolphins (you can’t swim with this endangered species), they took us to a rock covered in seals and bird poop and dragged a bag of fish guts behind the boat to attract the birds. No whales unfortunately but it was still a fun day out!
You can view the full album here.