Luxury in Kaikoura
The coastal town of Kaikoura might be small but its waters are home to some of the world’s largest marine mammals, largest seabirds and largest pods of dolphins. Needless to say, your visit here is mostly going to revolve around the unique wildlife experiences, but how can you amplify the experience from what the average tourist sees? How can you make your stay extra special, with premium accommodation and experiences? We’ll guide you through the highlights with this complete luxury travel guide to Kaikoura!
6 Luxury Activities in Kaikoura
- Fly over the whales on a scenic plane or helicopter flight
- Land in the Kaikoura Mountains via a helicopter tour
- Indulge in fresh crayfish at one of the restaurants
- Walk the Kaikoura Coast Track
- Play golf on the scenic Kaikoura Golf Course
- Plant a tree to commemorate your visit
For more information on each experience, see our 6 Luxury Activities in Kaikoura.
Luxury Activities in Kaikoura
Treat yourself to some of Kaikoura’s most premium experiences. Here are some activities to inspire you for your stay in the wildlife capital of the South Island.
Wildlife & Scenic Flights
Whale watching is a must-do in this area 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 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) to soar over whales as they come up for air before they take their impressive dive launching their giant fluke out of the water. Alternatively, enjoy the manoeuvrability and frankly epic feeling of flying over the whales by helicopter with South Pacific Helicopters (on Viator and Tripadvisor). All of the flights mentioned above will also take the time to watch dolphins from the sky if the opportunity arises.
Watching the whales is not the only attraction a helicopter flight can offer. South Pacific Helicopters also offers an extended flight experience over the dramatic mountains, beaches and coastline with a touchdown at the vibrant turquoise Hapuku Lake. From above, you’ll also get to see the meandering Clarence River and the Papatea Fault. Of course, wildlife viewings across the ocean are also included in this tour. Check out South Pacific Helicopters’ offerings on Viator and Tripadvisor.
Luxury Land Activities
Want to play golf on arguably the most scenic course in the country? Spend some time at the Kaikoura Golf Course! Nestled between the Kaikoura mountain ranges and the sparkling ocean, it’s hard to not be distracted on this 18-hole course. The course with a mix of tree-lined fairways and open spaces provides something for all level of golfer. Club and trundler hire is available, as well as the clubhouse serving food and drinks. Get inspired for more golfing with our 21 Best Golf Courses in New Zealand.
While hiking is a major part of a New Zealand holiday, you’ll struggle to find anywhere as uncrowded as the Kaikoura Coast Track. This private walking track takes two days to complete, allowing hikers to discover dramatic rugged coastline, tussock-covered coastal cliffs and lush farmland. Tramp through bush-clad gullies to emerge to views of the Kaikoura mountains. The exclusive experience only allows 10 people on the track at one time. Plus, luxury services like luggage transport, food and catering, and warm clean hiker’s cottages are available. For alternative walks in the area, see the 5 Best Walks in Kaikoura.
Fine Dining in Kaikoura
Kaikoura is a small down-to-earth town, which is all part of the charm here. While you won’t exactly find lavish fine dining experiences here, you can still experience some of the freshest 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 Quay.
For restaurant-style dining, try the Green Dolphin Restaurant & Bar on Avoca Street for their Kiwi favourites like crayfish, paua, local lamb and aged Canterbury rib-eye steak. For lunch, try Hislops Wholefoods Cafe on Beach Road for their fresh organic cafe meals.