The Most Luxurious Tours and Experiences in Kaikoura
Spectacular landscapes and rich wildlife await to be encountered in the small coastal town of Kaikoura. While almost everyone comes here to watch whales, swim with dolphins or walk among seals, not everyone knows about the more premium experiences available. Join a small-group tour soaring above the whales in a plane or helicopter, hike the uncrowded Kaikoura Coast Track, and indulge in local delicacies like crayfish and paua. Check out some of our top activity and tour recommendations in this list of luxury experiences in Kaikoura.
1. Fly Over the Whales in a Scenic Plane or Helicopter Flight
Whale watching is a must-do in this part of New Zealand; one of the rare places in the world where you can enjoy commercial whale watching all year round! While whale watching cruises are available, a far more intimate experience is seeing the whales from the sky. Join a whale-watching flight with Wings Over Whales (more info on Viator and Klook) or Air Kaikoura.
Soar over whales where you can see them from head-to-tail before they take their impressive dive launching their giant fluke out of the water. Alternatively, enjoy the manoeuvrability and epic feeling of flying over the whales by helicopter with South Pacific Helicopters or Kaikoura Helicopters.
Plus, all of the flights mentioned above will also take the time to watch dusky dolphins from the sky if the opportunity arises. See more activities like this in our 5 Top Wildlife Activities in Kaikoura.
Location: Tours either depart from West End (Kaikoura town centre) or from the Kaikoura Airport, 617 State Highway 1.
2. Land in the Kaikoura Mountains on a Helicopter Tour
Watching the whales is not the only attraction a scenic flight can offer. South Pacific Helicopters also offer an extended flight experience taking up to a maximum of five people over the dramatic mountains, beaches and coastline with a touchdown at the summit of Mt Fyffe. Of course, dolphin and seal viewings across the ocean are also included in this tour.
Alternatively, join Kaikoura Helicopters for a 90-minute experience climbing 8,000 ft into the Seaward Kaikoura Ranges to bask in the mountain and sea views. Make the experience extra special with a private helicopter picnic thrown in the mix.
Location: South Pacific Helicopters – 58 West End. Kaikoura Helicopters – 16 West End.
3. Indulge in Fresh Crayfish at One of the Local Restaurants
Kaikoura is famous for having some of the freshest Kiwi seafood, which is the town’s namesake with “Kai” meaning food and “koura” meaning crayfish. With that, be sure to try the speciality at one of the many local seafood stops on the outskirts of Kaikoura like Nin’s Bin, a fresh crayfish food truck located 20 minutes north of Kaikoura on State Highway 1 or the Kaikoura Seafood BBQ on Fyffe Quay.
Location: Nin’s Bin – State Highway 1, approximately 22 km (13.6 mi) from Kaikoura. Kaikoura Seafood BBQ – 55 Fyffe Quay.
4. Experience an Exclusive Hike on the Kaikoura Coast Track
While hiking is a major part of a New Zealand holiday, you can experience a more premium form of hiking on the Kaikoura Coast Track. This private walking track takes two days to complete, allowing hikers to discover dramatic coastlines, tussock-covered coastal cliffs and lush farmland. Tramp through bush-filled gullies to emerge to views of the Kaikoura Mountains. The exclusive experience only allows 10 people on the track at one time and features luxury services like luggage transport, catering, and warm clean hiker’s cottages are available. For alternative walks, see the 5 Best Walks in Kaikoura.
Location: 356 Conway Flat Road, Conway Flat, approximately 43 km (26.7 mi) from Kaikoura.
5. Sample Kaikoura’s Own Gin, Beer or Sparkling Wine
Delite the palate with tastings of Kaikoura’s range of homegrown beverages. Esses Kaikoura specialises solely in Méthode Traditionnelle, with the aim to grow the perfect sparkling. Taste it for yourself at their tasting room which is open by appointment. Gin lovers should certainly not miss the small-batch boutique distillery of Mt. Fyffe Distillery, set on the scenic foothills of its namesake. Try their two distinct blends of artisan London dry gin; Woolshed Gin and Shearwater Gin, as well as experience a tour of the off-the-beaten-track distillery which is open by appointment. Finally, sample a range of craft beers at Emporium Brewing close to town along with a lunch menu, escape rooms and mini-golf – something to do in Kaikoura with the family.
Location: Esses Kaikoura – 280 Postman Rd, RD1. Mt. Fyffe Distillery – 202 McInnes Road. Emporium Brewing – 57a Beach Road.
6. Play Golf on the Scenic Kaikoura Golf Course
Spend some downtime in Kaikoura playing on one of the most scenic golf courses in the country. The Kaikoura Golf Club is nestled between the Kaikoura mountain ranges and the sparkling ocean waters, it’s hard not to be distracted at this 18-hole course. The course with a mix of tree-lined fairways and open spaces provides something for all abilities. Club and trundler hire is available, as well as food and drink at the clubhouse. Get inspired for more places to golf with our 21 Best Golf Courses in New Zealand.
Location: Kaikoura Flat, approximately 5 km (3.1 mi) from Kaikorua town centre.
7. Indulge in a Spa Treatment and Enjoy Fine Dining at Hapuku Lodge + Treehouses
If you’re not already staying at one of Kaikoura’s (and New Zealand’s) most unique accommodations, then at least pop in for one of its indulgent spa treatments and/or fine dining experiences. Situated at the Hapuku Lodge + Treehouses, the Kawakawa Studio Spa boasts a tempting array of spa packages to restore and indulge, as well as to enhance the romance with couples’ massages.
When you’re done, delight in a three-course lunch or dinner with a seasonal menu with ingredients sourced from the lodge’s garden, as well as local gardeners, farms and fisherfolk, no doubt deepening your appreciation for New Zealand cuisine. Reservations are essential. Learn more about the lodge at the 15 Best Luxury Accommodations in Kaikoura.
Location: State Highway 1, approximately 13 km (8 mi) from Kaikoura.
More About Luxury in Kaikoura
That’s it for the best luxury experiences in Kaikoura. For more experiences outside of the realm of “luxury” but no less magical, check out the following guides:
- 20 Best Things to Do in Kaikoura
- 10 Romantic Things to Do in Kaikoura
- 5 Best Wildlife Activities in Kaikoura
Find even more tips to make your luxury getaway exceptional in The Luxury Travel Guide to New Zealand.