Things to Do in Kaikoura for Couples
At first glance, the fishy town of Kaikoura might not scream romance. But with breathtaking wildlife encounters, majestic mountains-to-sea scenery and a wealth of activities perfect for couples, you can’t go too wrong for a romantic getaway to Kaikoura or perhaps adding it to your South Island couples’ itinerary. Learn new hobbies together like surfing, discover your next favourite seafood dish for date night, and enjoy once-in-a-lifetime experiences like flying over diving whales. We’ll go through all our top recommendations when it comes to spending time in Kaikoura with this list of the most romantic things to do in Kaikoura for couples.
While you’re here, you might also be interested in The Honeymoon & Romantic Getaway Guide to Kaikoura.
1. Walk Hand-in-Hand Along the Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway
Stretching your legs is a fun and free thing to do together, especially when there are seals involved! The 11 km (7 mi) Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway encompasses dramatic coastal scenery matched with lookouts over seal colonies. Seals even make their way onto the track, which is exciting to see but be sure to keep your distance to not disturb these beautiful creatures. Find out more about the Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway, as well as a few other popular walks in the 5 Best Walks in Kaikoura.
Location: Point Kean car park, 4.4 km (2.7 mi) from Kaikoura (it is possible to walk to the start of the walk along the walkways lining the coast south of the town. Allow 50 minutes. At the end of the walk at South Bay, you can walk back to the town following the marked posts. Allow a further 1 hour).
2. Experience an Intimate Whale-Watching Flight
You probably know that whale watching, dolphin swimming and seal kayaking are a must-do in Kaikoura, but we find that whale-watching flights are just a little more romantic… Join a whale-watching flight with Wings Over Whales (more info on Viator and Klook) or Air Kaikoura, for a small-group tour and a more intimate experience. Soar over whales where you can see the majestic mammals from head-to-tail before they take their impressive dive into the deep.
Alternatively, enjoy the manoeuvrability and “action hero” feeling of flying over the whales by helicopter with South Pacific Helicopters or Kaikoura Helicopters. All of the flights mentioned above will also take the time to watch pods of dolphins from the sky if the opportunity arises. See more experiences like this in our 7 Luxury Experiences in Kaikoura.
Location: Tours either depart from West End (Kaikoura town centre) or from the Kaikoura Airport, 617 State Highway 1.
3. Walk and Have a Picnic at the Puhi Puhi Reserve
Another place in Kaikoura for a romantic stroll is this easy-going walk through lush native forest. Start off your visit to the Puhi Puhi Reserve by walking the Puhi Puhi Reserve Track, which features lowland coastal forest where many of the trees are up to 1,000 years old! There is also a picnic area at the start of the walk, ideal for a romantic picnic. Again, more information can be found in the 5 Best Walks in Kaikoura.
Location: Puhi Puhi Road, approximately 15 km (9 mi) north of Kaikoura.
4. Test Your Relationship in a Double Kayak
Try your chances at a super-close wildlife encounter, while enjoying the interesting coastal scenery, with one of Kaikoura’s kayaking tours. Choose to either peddle or paddle with Seal Kayak Kaikoura or jump into a double kayak with Kaikoura Kayaks (more info on Viator and Klook). Either way, your teamwork will be put to the test manoeuvring together across the ocean with the high likelihood of encountering seals, penguins and maybe even dolphins. See experiences like this in the 5 Top Wildlife Activities in Kaikoura.
Location: Seal Kayak Kaikoura – 18 Beach Road. Kaikoura Kayaks – 19 Killarney Street.
5. Learn Something New Together at the Kaikoura Museum
Ah museums, you can always rely on them when the weather isn’t playing ball. The Kaikoura Museum is well worth checking out thanks to its fascinating displays about Kaikoura’s wildlife, Maori culture, fishing and whaling history, as well as an exhibition about the 2016 earthquakes that shaped the landscape we see today. Find the museum in the iconic “Craypot” building opposite the i-SITE. It is open from 10 am to 4 pm daily.
Location: 96 West End, Kaikoura.
6. Gush Over the Cute Lambs at Point Sheep Shearing
What’s not to love about New Zealand’s most iconic farm animal?! At Point Sheep Shearing, meet the farm’s Drysdale Ram who will eat out of the palm of your hand and check out a sheep shearing demonstration where the farmer will go into detail about the techniques and tools used. Between August and January, you’ll also get the opportunity to hold and feed one of the adorable pet lambs – too cute!
Location: 85 Fyffe Quay, Kaikoura.
7. Learn a New Skill with Surf Lessons
Learning a new skill together is a great way to strengthen your bond. A favourite Kiwi pastime and something especially awesome to do in Kaikoura, surfing gets you out on the water in an alternative way, experiencing the thrill of riding waves. Learn to surf with surf schools like Kiwi Surf Experience who will teach you the basics, from board control to wave selection. If you’re an experienced surfer, learn more about the Kaikoura surf breaks in the 10 Best Places to Surf in the South Island.
Location: 63 Kiwa Road, Hapuku, approximately 15 km (9.3 mi) north of Kaikoura.
8. Team Up to Solve an Escape Room
Challenge yourselves to escape a puzzling room within one hour at The Emporium‘s escape rooms. The escape room complex, which also has an on-site brewery, offers two themed escape rooms where couples or groups work together to solve a series of brain-teasers and clues to escape! After the experience, celebrate the success or drown your sorrows with a craft beer made at the brewery. If that wasn’t enough, there is an 18-hole mini-golf course on the complex too! For more affordable activities like this, check out the 15 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Kaikoura.
Location: 57a Beach Road, Kaikoura.
9. Watch One of the World’s Most Romantic Birds on an Albatross Cruise
No wildlife in Kaikoura is quite as romantic as the albatross and here’s why: these large seabirds mate for life and go to extreme lengths to return to each other every year! You can learn more about these incredible “love birds” on the Albatross Encounter tour. This bird-watching cruise takes you out to the edge of the Kaikoura Canyon, a deep underwater canyon harbouring nutrients that attracts all the famous local wildlife, where your skipper and guide will attract large pelagic birds for you to see right before your eyes. Trust us, nothing compares to seeing these majestic seabirds up-close.
Location: 96 Esplanade, Kaikoura.
10. Dine Out in Kaikoura
For a town whose namesake is “kai” meaning food and “koura” meaning crayfish, it would almost be a sin to visit and not sample the local cuisine. Of course, the crayfish here is a must, with local seafood stops on the outskirts of Kaikoura like Nin’s Bin and the Kaikoura Seafood BBQ.
If looking for dinner recommendations, a romantic option is in the heart of Kaikoura. Zephyr is a good go-to for high-quality fare with everything, from the pate to the ravioli, made in-house. As for breakfast, brunch or lunch, try Sime’s Kitchen for their fresh carefully-sourced organic cafe meals in a casual setting.
Location: Nin’s Bin – State Highway 1, approximately 22 km (13.6 mi) from Kaikoura. Kaikoura Seafood BBQ – 55 Fyffe Quay. Zephyr – 40 West End. Sime’s Kitchen – 33 Beach Road.
More Romantic Things to Do in Kaikoura for Couples
That’s it for our official list of the most romantic things to do in Kaikoura for couples but there are many more experiences that you may well interpret as “romantic”. Check them out in our alternative guides:
- 20 Best Things to Do in Kaikoura
- 7 Luxury Experiences in Kaikoura
- The Honeymoon & Getaway Guide to Kaikoura
Finally, for more about planning the ultimate New Zealand getaway for couples, don’t miss The Honeymoon & Romantic Getaway Guide to New Zealand.