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3 Hours' drive time to Kaikoura from Christchurch Airport


The seaside settlement is the most northern district in the Canterbury region located on the east coast of the South Island (an ideal location for both north and south bound travellers).

Kaikoura is on the Alpine Pacific Touring route, close to Hanmer Springs alpine spa village and the Waipara Valley wine region.  Kaikoura’s rich ocean environment is home to whales, dolphins, albatross, and seals.

Experience New Zealand’s best eco-tourism and a range of exhilarating activities on sea and land.

  • Experience the magic of whale watching with a cruise.
  • Swim with dusky dolphins in their natural environment.
  • See majestic sperm whales from an aeroplane.
  • Swim with New Zealand fur seals.
  • Explore the coastal waters around the Peninsula by kayak.

Kaikoura seasons


Spring - Sept to Nov
70 - 180

Welcome the return of the Hutton’s Shearwater, and Seal Swim, the reopening of the Kaikoura Coastal Track and the start of the farmers’ market. Celebrate spring at Kaikoura Whale Run and the Kaikoura Hop.


Summer - Dec to Feb
100 - 250

Make the most of long summer days and beautiful beaches. Swim with the dolphins, watch some waves, take a cruise and check out the marine life, hire a fishing rod and catch your own dinner, or play golf overlooking stunning vistas.


Autumn - Mar to May
80 - 220

Warm sunny weather continues into autumn. As the temperature drops fires are lit in the evening and the first light dustings of snow appear on the mountains. In autumn and winter, the Dusky Dolphin pods are at their largest.


Winter - Jun to Aug
30 - 140

Beautiful crisp winter days. The Kaikoura Ranges are covered in snow. Migratory whales pass through, it’s a great time of year to see humpback whales. You can ski or snowboard at Mount Lyford.

View the Top of the South Itinerary

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