Kaikoura on a Budget
We get it! In between the dolphin swims, whale watch cruises and eating plates of crayfish, doing things in Kaikoura can get a little pricey. Give your wallet a break by also spending your time doing free or cheap activities in Kaikoura! From gentle walks to free seal colony viewings to checking out the local museum, there’s a wide range of things to do that are either free or at least under NZ$30. Check out some of our top recommendations in this list of free and cheap things to do in Kaikoura!
While you’re here, you might also be interested in Kaikoura – Guide for Backpackers and The Guide to Kaikoura on a Budget.
1. Walk the Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway – FREE
Stretching your legs is always a fun and free thing to do, especially when there are seals involved! The 11km (7-mile) Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway is one of Kaikoura’s most popular walks, encompassing dramatic coastal scenery matched with lookouts over seal colonies. If you’re not feeling up to doing the whole walk, there are shorter options available. Find out more about them in the 5 Best Walks in Kaikoura.
2. Watch the Seals at the Point Kean Car Park – FREE
If you don’t fancy doing a hike, but still want an easy way to spot some seals, then drive down to the Point Keen car park. The car park near the end of the Kaikoura Peninsula is a 5-10-minute drive from town where you can park up and watch the seals bask in the sun. Be careful though, some seals take up the car parking spaces, so parking is limited. If you do have room in your budget for a wildlife encounter, check out more suggestions the 5 Top Wildlife Activities in Kaikoura.
3. Visit the Kaikoura Museum – CHEAP
If the weather isn’t playing ball, or you’re simply curious, head to the Kaikoura Museum. Set in the “Craypot” building opposite the i-SITE, the Kaikoura museum features fascinating exhibitions about the local wildlife, Maori tribes, fishing and whaling history, as well as information about the 2016 earthquake. There is a fee of under NZ$15 to check out this museum.
4. Watch a Sheep Shearing Show – CHEAP
While the whales, dolphins and seals may steal all the limelight in Kaikoura, there’s also opportunity to meet some of the other animals New Zealand has become famous for – sheep! Point Sheep Shearing at The Point B&B offers daily sheep shearing shows for as little as NZ$15 per adult and NZ$5 per child (prices subject to change). The show takes place in a classic New Zealand woolshed where you’ll learn about the various wool types, sheep breed and traditional techniques and tools, some still used to this day. The highlights, arguably, are handfeeding the majestic Drysdale Ram and even bottle-feeding the lambs, the latter available between August and January.
5. See Kaikoura’s Oldest Surviving Building – CHEAP
Sitting pretty in pink, about a 45-minute walk from the town centre along the Kaikoura Peninsula, Fyffe House is Kaikoura’s oldest surviving building. The heritage home not only makes a fun photo opportunity but can be explored on the inside by paying a small fee. The home also holds some simple exhibitions and archives about life in Kaikoura in the 1800s.
6. Get a Photo on Kaikoura Beach – FREE
Feel the sea breeze and soak in the scenery from Kaikoura’s beach. The beach spans in front of the town, offering picture-perfect views of the Kaikoura mountains. If you’re feeling brave, the beach is safe to swim in summer, and local surf schools have even found a new surf break off the beach after the 2016 earthquake.
7. Check Out the Kaikoura Farmers’ Market – FREE
Ok, so you need to time this right, as the Kaikoura Farmers’ Market only runs from April to November each Sunday at 10am-12am. Nevertheless, if you are lucky enough to be in Kaikoura on at this time, you’ll be treated to browsing home baking, artisan goods, fresh organic produce and crafts, some of which you can sample. Find the market at the west end of town.
8. Wake Up Early for the Sunrise – FREE
Kaikoura sits on the east coast of New Zealand meaning it captures some incredible sunrises on a clear day. You won’t struggle for spots on the coast to admire the views, whether it’s from Kaikoura Beach or from your own accommodation. Check out which accommodations are on the waterfront in 10 Best Hotels in Kaikoura and 10 Best Motels in Kaikoura.
9. Try Some of the Local Seafood – CHEAP
Compared to the rest of the country, dining in Kaikoura isn’t exactly cheap. Especially when the town’s speciality is the highly-sought crayfish. Getting a meal of half a crayfish can start from around NZ$25, but can definitely get more expensive. Alternatively, other seafood like whitebait or paua fritters offers a cheap meal option while still getting that local foodie experience. Try the seafood at Nin’s Bin, Kaikoura Seafood BBQ, Coopers Catch and Cods & Crayfish.
10. Challenge Your Mates or Loved Ones to Mini-golf – CHEAP
Get a little bit of healthy competition at The Emporium mini-golf! The 18-hole mini-golf course is a good way to spend 30 minutes to an hour putting your way through Kaikoura-themed holes. See if you can get your ball past the whale fluke or around the cattle stranded on an island from the Kaikoura earthquakes. With prices under NZ$10 and cheaper yet for kids, it’s surely an affordable thing to do in Kaikoura
More About Kaikoura
- 10 Best Budget Accommodation in Kaikoura
- 10 Incredible Things to Do in Kaikoura
- 5 Best Backpacker Hostels in Kaikoura
That’s it for our list of cheap and free things to do in Kaikoura. For more free stuff, check out the 50 Best Free Things to Do in New Zealand.