5 Best Walks in Kaikoura
5 Best Walks in Kaikoura

5 Best Walks in Kaikoura

© ChristchurchNZ

Walking Trails in Kaikoura

Let’s be honest, not all of us can afford to swim with dolphins or take a flight over whales every day. While we fully recommend discovering the adorable wildlife of Kaikoura, we also recommend breaking up your stay with one of the free walks in Kaikoura. Walks in the Kaikoura area feature a variety of landscapes, from coastlines occupied by seals to stunning views from the Kaikoura Ranges. Find out where to stretch your legs with this list of hiking and walking trails in Kaikoura.

While you’re here, you might also be interested in 5 Top Wildlife Activities in Kaikoura and 10 Best Hotels in Kaikoura.

1. Kaikoura Peninsula Walk (1-2 Hours One-way)

One of the most popular walks in the Kaikoura area, the Kaikoura Peninsula Walk starts at a seal colony at Point Kean. The walk starts with a 5-minute walk up to the Point Kean Viewpoint offering excellent views across the coast to the Kaikoura Ranges. From the viewpoint, it’s a 25-minute walk to the Whalers Bay Viewpoint offering more fantastic views of the rugged coastline. There is a short side track to Whalers Bay to get a closer look at “the Sugarloaf” and spot wildlife. Be careful not to approach or disturb wildlife. Return the way you came back to the Whalers Bay Viewpoint. From here, continue 20 minutes to South Bay Viewpoint for more scenery to soak in. The track ends 15 minutes away at the South Bay car park. The walk features interpretation panels to learn about the flora, fauna and history of the area.

Location: Point Kean car park, 4.4km (2.7 miles) 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 market posts. Allow a further 1 hour).

ChristchurchNZ© ChristchurchNZ

2. Puhi Puhi Reserve (30 Minutes Loop)

Enjoy this easy-going walk through lush native forest. The Puhi Puhi Reserve track features lowland coastal forest where many of the trees here are up to 1,000 years old. There is also a picnic area at the start of the walk.

Location: Puhi Puhi Road, 15km (9 miles) north of Kaikoura

NZPocketGuide.com© NZPocketGuide.com

3. Hinau Track (45 Minutes Loop)

This walk is named after the stands of hinau trees featured along the trail. The Hinau Track is a stunning bush walk with varied vegetation: mahoe, putaputaweta, broadleaf, fuschia, pigeonwood and kanuka can all be seen here. This walk starts from the Mt Fyffe car park.

Location: Postmans Road, 13km (8 miles) northwest of Kaikoura

NZPocketGuide.com© NZPocketGuide.com

4. Mt Fyffe Summit Track (8 Hours Return)

For a full day adventure with breathtaking views, do the Mt Fyffe Track to the summit. The steep track starts crossing farmland on a 3-hour walk to the Mt Fyffe Hut (or 5 hours return). It’s another 1 hour to reach the summit (or 2 hours return). Mountain bikers can also use this trail. Note that there are other hiking trails for multi-day hikes from the Mt Fyffe car park, suitable for those with route-finding experience, such as the Kowhai-Hapuku Circuit (2-3 days). This hike features at one of the 10 Kaikoura Must-Dos.

Location: Postmans Road, 13km (8 miles) northwest of Kaikoura

Pseudopanax at English Wikipedia© Pseudopanax at English Wikipedia

5. Haumuri Bluff (4-5 Hours Return)

For an adventure away from the crowds, choose the Haumari Bluff walk. The walk has many interesting things to see along the way, including a rusting train wreck, large seals (be careful not to get too close – they are not used to seeing people like the ones closer to Kaikoura), and minerals and fossils along the beach. The walk begins in Oaro, following a trail alongside a railway line for about 50 minutes until the trail ends and you will need to make your way onto the rocky beach below. Walk along the beach for about 40 minutes until you reach a limestone stack that used to be an arch that separated from the cliffs. This is called Spy Glass Point. Return the same way. Note that this walk should only be attempted at low tide.

Location: Oaro, 20km (12 miles) south of Kaikoura

nut.in.a.hut on Wikipedia © nut.in.a.hut on Wikipedia


Laura S.

This article was reviewed and published by Laura, editor in chief and co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. Since arriving solo in New Zealand over 10 years ago and with a background in journalism, her mission has been to show the world how easy (and awesome) it is to travel New Zealand. She knows Aotearoa inside-out and loves sharing tips on how best to experience New Zealand’s must-dos and hidden gems. Laura is also editor of several other South Pacific travel guides and is the co-host of NZ Pocket Guide’s live New Zealand travel Q&As on YouTube.

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