5 Luxury Activities in Kaikoura


Luxurious 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 amongst seals, not everyone knows about the 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 fresh seafood like crayfish and paua. Check out some of our top activity recommendations in this list of luxury activities in Kaikoura.

For more information about Kaikoura, see The Luxury Guide to Kaikoura and check out the places to stay in 8 Best Luxury Accommodation 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, which is 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 Tripadvisor) or Air Kaikoura (on Viator and Tripadvisor). 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 (on Viator and Tripadvisor). 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.©

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 by the vibrant Hapuku Lake. From above, you’ll also get to see the meandering Clarence River and the Papatea Fault. Of course, whale and dolphin viewings across the ocean are also included in this tour. Check out South Pacific Helicopter’s flight options on Viator and Tripadvisor.

South Pacific Helicopters© South Pacific Helicopters

3. Indulge in Fresh Crayfish at One of the Restaurants

While Kaikoura isn’t exactly famous for fine dining, it is famous for having some of the freshest Kiwi seafood, which is exactly what the town is named after “Kai” meaning food and “koura” meaning crayfish. With that, be sure to try the speciality at Nin’s Bin, a fresh crayfish food truck located 20 minutes north of Kaikoura on State Highway 1, or at the Kaikoura Seafood BBQ on Fyffe Cray. Alternatively, try the Green Dolphin Restaurant & Bar on Avoca Street for their restaurant-style crayfish, paua, local lamb and aged Canterbury rib-eye steak.©

4. Walk 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 coastline, 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.

Pixabay© Pixabay

5. 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 Course 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.

Pixabay© Pixabay

[CLOSED] Plant a Tree to Commemorate Your Visit

And to say thank you to Kaikoura for what will undoubtedly be a memorable visit, plant a New Zealand tree with Trees for Travellers. Either spend an hour with a local conservation worker planting the tree and learning more about the native ecosystem, or purchase a tree for them to plant a tree in your behalf.©

More About Luxury in Kaikoura

That’s it for the best luxury activities in Kaikoura. Find even more tips to make your luxury getaway exceptional in The Luxury Travel Guide to New Zealand.


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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