A Guide to Kaikoura

A Guide to Kaikoura

There is magic in Kaikoura. It won't take long for you to feel it seeping out of the homely buildings and go dancing across the cliffs. Every turn looks like a fairy tale - and not in a superficial manner, but in a way that makes you feel content.

Kaikoura is a small seaside town 2 1/2 hours north of Christchurch on the east coast of New Zealand's South Island. Home to just 3,500 people, this is a place where you feel as welcome as you would at home. A shockingly beautiful place, there is plenty for outdoor lovers and ocean wildlife lovers alike.

How to Get to Kaikoura

I am traveling around New Zealand with a Stray bus pass that gives me unlimited hop-on, hop-off access all across the country. I took the Stray bus from Christchurch, an easy 2 1/2 journey that winds up the coast. The closest international airport is in Christchurch; there is a small local airfield in Kaikoura as well.

Where to Stay in Kaikoura

I cannot say enough good things about the Albatross Backpackers Inn. Run by a lovely couple who clearly are very proud of their space, the hostel is in a perfect location to access town and the beach. It's clean, comfortable, cosy and they offer free coffee/tea/hot chocolate, unlimited wi-fi and you can borrow guide books, towels and bikes at any time.

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Things To Do in Kaikoura

Kaikoura is exceptionally well-known for its water sports and marine life. There are plenty of tour operators who will take you dolphin or whale watching, swimming with the dolphins, kayaking and even whale-watching flights! The best thing to do in Kaikoura in my opinion is to head out to the coast to walk the Peninsula Walkway.

PENINSULA WALKWAY HIKE DETAILS

When: year-round

Where: Kaikoura

Difficulty: easy-intermediate

Length: 2 1/2 hours for 11km one-way loop hike starting and ending in town

Directions: from town, walk all the way along the beach to the Point Kean Viewpoint. From there, the Peninsula Walkway wanders along the grassy cliff-tops with views of white cliffs and seals lounging all around; my mouth literally fell open at the beauty. Continue to the South Bay Reserve then finish your loop back to town.

Bathrooms: yes, at the Point Kean Viewpoint and in South Bay Reserve

Public Transit: no (but no need, the walk is in town!)

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