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Kaikoura

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About Kaikoura

Famed for its beautiful scenery and fascinating wildlife, the town of Kaikōura — and the broader Kaikōura Peninsula — will be a sure-fire hit with outdoorsy travellers eager to soak up the magic of the South Island. With everything from world-class whale watching to hiking, kayaking and golf, guests of all ages will be spoilt for choice when deciding what to see and do. Our expert-recommended selection of the best places to stay in Kaikōura includes cosy B&Bs, eco-pods and luxurious treehouse suites, ideal for a romantic escape or fun trip with friends and family.

Active travellers should head for the lively Esplanade, where you can hire kayaks, SUP boards and snorkelling equipment or arrange diving and fishing charters. Spot sperm whales, humpbacks, pilot whales, and orca during seasonal migrations, along with seals and pelagic birds — including albatross and Hutton’s Shearwaters. Kayak alongside dolphins, enjoy boat tours or take to the air for a bird’s eye view of the Pacific. Hikes amidst the craggy peaks of the Seaward Kaikoura Range or along the Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway to Point Kean are superb.

Kaikōura itself is a friendly seaside community, with lovely cafés, shops and restaurants. History buffs can visit 19th-century Fyffe House — part of a once-remote whaling station — and Kaikōura Museum, or delve into the region’s past with Maori Tours Kaikōura. Come evening, enjoy beachside sundowners or hide away with a cold glass of NZ Sauvignon Blanc at one of the best places to stay in Kaikōura.

The Best Places to Stay in Kaikoura

For a Central Stay

  • Kaikoura Boutique Hotel has 12 rooms on Kaikōura's waterfront Esplanade. The 1880s building now has chic interiors with sea views, as well as a buzzing bistro and bar. Great for active travellers eager to embark on whale watching tours, kayaking trips, surf lessons and more. A seaside favourite, well-placed for exploring Kaikōura as a couple or with friends.
  • Nikau Lodge is a charming five-bedroom B&B with stunning sea and mountain views. Just five minutes from the beach in Kaikōura, the house has leafy gardens, a hot tub and a relaxed feel. For tranquil couples who will appreciate the owners' local knowledge and homecooked breakfasts. Adults only.

For Families or Groups

  • Manakau Lodge has four bedrooms with striking rural views. Book the whole place if travelling as a family or with friends, bring your pets and enjoy cooking up a storm in the modern kitchen or grilling delicious seasonal produce on the garden BBQ. A contemporary lodge with a relaxed feel.

For Luxury

  • Hapuku Lodge + Tree Houses offers an indulgent hideaway on a working deer farm north of Kaikōura. Book one of ten spacious suites with free-standing tubs, handcrafted wooden furniture and epic views. Foodies will adore the kitchen's use of garden-grown ingredients to create inventive dishes, whilst nature lovers can enjoy a plethora of activities. Romantic and luxurious.
  • Manakau PurePod is a romantic gem, 20 minutes from Kaikōura. Boasting 360-degree views of rolling farmland and the snow-capped Kaikoura Ranges, this contemporary glass-and-steel cabin hides a cosy bed, kitchen, fabulous shower and telescope for keen star-spotters. Enjoy big breakfasts and gourmet dinners of cheese & smoked meat platters delivered to your door. A dream escape for two.

FOR AN APARTMENT OR HOLIDAY COTTAGE

  • If you'd prefer a self-catering option, we suggest that you visit our online partner Booking.com.

TRAVEL INFORMATION

  • Fly to nearby Christchurch International Airport and travel two hours to Kaikōura by car or bus.
  • New Zealand is famously wonderful for a road trip! Contact our online partner Rentalcars if you would like to hire a car.
  • Travel during the spring or summer for the best weather, with temperatures peaking around 18-22°C between December and April. For a quieter trip and great deals, look at May or October-November. The best time to spot migratory whales is June to August — the resident sperm whales are in Kaikōura throughout the year.

STILL NOT SURE?

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Best Hotels in Kaikoura

  • Kaikoura Boutique Hotel Kaikoura 12 rooms from £90

    Local exploring  -  Set on Kaikoura's Esplanade, this is a great pick for explorers eager to discover the town and enjoy activities out on the water
    Wildlife Area  -  Winter is the best time for whale watching by boat, helicopter or small plane
    Historic  -  Set in an 1880s building, just 10 minutes' walk from Kaikoura Town
    Great walks  -  Hike a portion of the Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway
    Air conditioningSpaRestaurantGardenViewsParkingNo pets

    A chic boutique property offering a spectacular coastal position in Kaikoura. Bright bedrooms are simply decorated in grey and white hues while the picture windows spectacularly frame the views. With friendly hosts, indulgent breakfasts and even a champagne bistro-bar, this property is hard to beat. See More

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  • Nikau Lodge Kaikoura 5 rooms from £135

    Wildlife Area  -  Enjoy a boat trip with Whale Watch Kaikoura or a flight with Wings over Whales in one of the world's top whale watching spots
    Romantic Break  -  An adults-only B&B, the lodge is brilliant for romantic couples, who will appreciate the spacious suites & superb views
    Total relaxation  -  Kick back in the hot tub, sip a glass of wine on the terrace and unwind in blissful tranquility
    Great walks  -  Spot endemic birds and soak up scenic views on the South Bay & Peninsula Walk
    GardenViewsParking

    A welcoming B&B in a historic house just five minutes from the beach in Kaikōura. Couples will love the five comfortable rooms & suites, many with stunning sea and mountain views; the leafy garden and hot tub are a real treat. Friendly owners cook up big breakfasts & offer useful local knowledge! See More

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  • Manakau Lodge Kaikoura 4 rooms from £160

    Active Holiday  -  Five minutes from the beach and offering a host of outdoor activities including riding, cycling, hiking, kayaking and more
    Wildlife Area  -  Spot whales, dolphins and seals with Dolphin Encounter Kaikoura or Kaikoura Kayaks
    Families  -  Book the whole 4-bedroom house for a fabulous trip with extended family & friends
    Self catering to rent  -  The house has a modern, well-equipped kitchen as well as a Weber BBQ
    Air conditioningGardenPet friendlyDisabled accessViewsParkingNo pets

    A cosy four-room bungalow with a truly spectacular backdrop. This diminutive lodge in Kaikoura offers spectacular ocean and mountain views. Uncluttered contemporary rooms feature handmade wooden furniture, rain-showers, underfloor heating and scenic private patios. See More

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  • Manakau PurePod Kaikoura 1 rooms from £280

    Back to Nature  -  Truly immerse and surround yourself in vast expanses of unspoiled wilderness at this wonderfully isolated property
    Country Escape  -  Remote and removed from it all, it is hard to imagine a more perfect place to escape the world for a weekend
    Romantic Break  -  Perfectly sized for two, enjoy each other's company in splendid isolation and comfort
    Birdwatching  -  The property's floor to ceiling glass window walls permit guests to observe the local fauna from the comfort of their own room
    GardenViewsNo pets

    Marvel at stunning mountain vistas by day and a tapestry of a million stars by night in a beautifully secluded and isolated luxury pod. Excellently outfitted with cooking and bathroom facilities in a thoroughly modern construction perfect for couples seeking a slice of unspoiled rural heaven. See More

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  • Hapuku Lodge + Tree Houses Kaikoura (RD 1) 10 rooms from £393

    Foodies  -  Chat to chefs as they prepare delicious dishes from garden-grown herbs and vegetables, paired with locally sourced fish & meat
    Back to Nature  -  A nature lover's dream, set on a deer farm with rare birds and chances to go whale, dolphin and seal-spotting on the water
    Wildlife Area  -  Marine safaris take place on water or air, offering sightings of dusky dolphins, sperm whales, fur seals & giant albatross
    Other Activities  -  Help pick olives (May & June) or watch the harvesting of the stag's antlers on the farm
    RestaurantSwimming PoolGardenViewsParking
    Recommended by  -  Mr & Mrs Smith

    Contemporary country hotel in Kaikōura, one of NZ’s top whale watching areas. Tree house style rooms with handcrafted wooden beds and furniture, rainforest showers and great views. With a pool, sauna and library, on a deer farm. A great base to explore local wildlife, walks and Maori culture. See More

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