Kaikoura Travel Guide

Browse 9 travel reviews, 24 travel blogs and 1,376 travel photos from real travelers to Kaikoura.

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Kaikoura Overview

Located on the southern coast of Marlborough between Christchurch and Blenheim, Kaikoura is one of the most famous places in New Zealand if you are coming for the seafood. Technically it is nothing more than a stop along State Highway 1, and for years it operated as nothing more than a quiet little fishing town specializing in crayfish. The name itself is actually derived from the words “kai” referring to food, and “koura” referring to the crayfish itself. And while it might have existed in the background for quite some time, in the past few years it has begun to transform into a tourist hotspot backed on one side by some of New Zealand’s amazing mountains, the sea on the other, and plenty of eating opportunities for the hungry traveler.

The Seward Kaikoura Mountains rise against the background, and the town itself is part of the Kaikoura Peninsula as it juts out into the southern sea, utilizing the currents from the nearby Hikurangi Trench which keeps the area stocked with a plentiful supply of fresh seafood. And while the town has begun transferring into a haven for seafood-lovers and mountain hikers alike, this is also one of the best places in the country to go whale watching or swim with dolphins. There is also a seal colony near the town. Beyond that, Kaikoura is part of the network known as the Alpine Pacific Triangle, which links together the three most popular recreational destinations in the country, giving the town yet another reason to be etched into the hearts and minds of travelers who make their way here. If you have ever experienced New Zealand in any format you know exactly what to expect, but if you haven’t yet, this is one of the best places to get your feet wet and experience the amazing Kiwi culture, food, and beauty.