Kaikoura is a small town on the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island. It’s a place for several exciting things to opt for, like whale watching, visiting authentic restaurants, and has an abundance of other things to do, including hiking, biking, and fishing. And the best part about this place is, there are many free things to do.
If you’re traveling with kids, there’s plenty for them to enjoy as well – from petting farm animals at “Wacky World” to sliding down slippery slides at “Teddy Bear Kingdom.” However, you may have to pay some amount to enjoy these activities.
Anyways, sticking to the title of our blog, let’s help you explore the exciting free things to do in Kaikoura at any time. (Credit Information: https://www.karakalobster.com)
Stroll through Kaikoura’s oldest surviving building:
Fyffe House was initially built in 1842 for the town’s magistrate. It is an iconic building, restored beautifully from the inside. The museum also hosts several events throughout the year like art exhibitions, craft markets, storytelling, and more. If you’re looking for some culture while in Kaikoura, why not stop by?
Visit Karaka lobster cafe:
If you want a hearty meal after all that walking, then check out one of the best restaurants in Kaikoura. Situated right beside the Okiwi bay, this place is a must-visit with a stunning view you wouldn’t want to miss if you are visiting this town. This cafe is famous for its delectable crayfish cuisines, exotic beverages, and some of the mouth-watering desserts to treat up your taste buds.
Although the dishes here are not free, the affordable prices are worth every bit of the food served here.
3. Kaikoura’s Fragrant Lavender Fields:
This part of Kaikoura is a must-see. The fragrant smells in the air and stunning views will make you wonder why you hadn’t visited this part of New Zealand before! And it’s almost free to call, just costing around $2/head, so no excuses! Head down in early summer for beautiful fields where you can pick your lavender or wander to your heart’s content. If you’re lucky, you might even catch a lavender festival!
Walk along the peninsula walkway:
The Peninsula Walkway is a scenic 3-4 hour walk from Kaikoura to South Bay. The route offers fantastic views along cliffs and beautiful bays with stunning waterfalls making this one of the best free things to do in New Zealand. You can also find some classic restaurants after walking a few miles.
The walkway is near the end of Whaanga Rd in South Bay. You can start this beautiful walk at any time of the year. However, you can’t do it at night as walking with a flashlight is not allowed, and there are no street lights, so walking in the dark can be dangerous.
Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway from Kaikoura to South Bay on Vimeo.
Explore the seals at Kean car park:
Kaikoura has the highest population of sea lions in New Zealand, with over 12,000 living in the area. The Kean car park at Kaikoura is one of the best viewing spots to watch them! Little blue penguins also like this area, so you might get the chance to see them too! Any time during daylight hours, you can head down to check out these beautiful animals for yourself.
Stopping off at Kaikoura Museum is also free, so you can learn all about the history of this beautiful part of New Zealand while getting up close with some preserved animals. It also has a separate space to describe the historical Kaikoura restaurants and its delicacies. You can watch them being fed daily at 11 am for free, too, or check out the town’s underwater inhabitants, which are on display in their Aquarium.
If you are a book-beard and interested in knowing closely about a place’s history, its culture, and its people, then visiting Kaikoura’s museum must be on your bucket list once you reach this place.
7. Have a picnic at Point Kean:
This spot is another one for views! It’s also one of the only places in New Zealand where fur seals come ashore en masse. Point Kean is another car park that costs $10 to park, but the views are worth every dollar. Please bring a blanket and have a picnic, it’s the perfect place to spend an hour or two.
If you are visiting Pint Kean with a group of 10 people or more, order your meal from the best seafood restaurants in Kaikoura and enjoy dining amidst the spectacular view with your whole bunch of people at the cost of one car parking.
8) Visit the seals around Whale Cove:
Whale Cove is one of the best spots to see whales on the Kaikoura coast, and you might even be able to spot a few fur seals on your way there. You might even get to see one give birth! Again, any time during daylight hours, you can stop by and hurry down for a bit to check them out.
9) Take a walk through the car park at Kowhai Flats:
This area has some of the best sea and mountain views in New Zealand. If you’re not too keen on walking up hills, don’t worry! The whole thing can be viewed from your car while parked there for free, or if you like to get active, why not do it on foot?
10) Watch the sunset at Point Kean:
Who can say that you’ve been to New Zealand if you didn’t see a beautiful sunset? Head down to Point Kean at around 5 pm in summer for some epic sunsets over the ocean, and it’s free to visit, so no excuses! If you’re lucky, you might even see a few whales breaching in the distance. Again, bring your picnic blanket and make it a day!
What’s the best time to visit Kaikoura?
The best time to visit Kaikoura is in the summer, which falls anywhere between December and February or during autumn, usually around March-April. The winter months are colder, so it’s always better to prepare accordingly.
How can you get to Kaikoura?
There are two ways to get to Kaikoura from Christchurch. The first option is to drive there through SH1, but this journey will take around 3 hours. The second option is catching a plane from Christchurch Airport. This way might be faster but not as affordable as the first option.
Once you visit here, you may want to kick-start your day off with the most tempting breakfast in Kaikoura at the best price and cherish some of the world’s finest coffee.
How far is Kaikoura from Christchurch?
The distance between Christchurch and Kaikoura is around 200km, which takes about 2.5 hours to drive with no stops. The drive through the spectacular scenery can be broken into a day trip if you leave early in the morning and return late in the evening.
How long do you need to explore Kaikoura?
Kaikoura can be explored as it is not as big as other cities like Auckland, Christchurch, or Wellington. If visitors were to stay for longer than 1/2 days, we recommend spending more time on the peninsula for the beautiful views, walks, and restaurants.
What is Kaikoura’s best feature?
The peninsula area of Kaikoura has beautiful untouched beaches that are great for swimming in the summer months and seals that can be fed daily at certain spots along the coast. The town also has some delicious seafood restaurants, which are a must for visitors to try out.
It’s not all about the sharks in Kaikoura. There is so much more to the place than just the marine life. If you’re interested in some history, visit Fyffe House or spot some of New Zealand’s native plants at Okiwi walks. A walk on top of a hill will give you a fantastic view of the city, or try out one of their many Harbour Cruises if you want to get a better understanding of this town. Kaikoura is far from being just about its wildlife; it can also beat any other town with its stunning restaurants, delectable crayfishes and several different kinds of seafood.
Also, If you need some inspiration for your next vacation, we recommend taking a trip to Kaikoura and its Karaka Lobster cafe and enjoying the world’s best crayfish here. So, happy holiday! This small town on the east coast of New Zealand is gorgeous and worth every penny.