We’re sticking closer to home with this post, but still very much focused on nature. Kaikoura is one of our favourite places in New Zealand and although we haven’t been there for years it’s always on our minds to go back! Kaikoura is located right on the Pacific Ocean about two and half hours’ drive north of Christchurch with the snow-capped Seaward Kaikoura mountains behind the town providing a picture perfect setting. The town is also uniquely located by an oceanic trench which attracts all sorts of amazing marine life to its waters, and means you can eat some delicious seafood by the shore too. In fact, the name Kaikoura means ‘meal of crayfish’ in Maori and you can find plenty of that, as well as reliable old fish and chips.
There are loads of opportunities to get up close to the marine life, with whale watching and swimming with dolphins being the highlights. Whale watching can be done from a boat or helicopter if you feel like splurging on a treat, and it really is amazing being up close to these huge, magnificent creatures. However, swimming with the dolphins is even better, you get to swim with pods of dolphins in their natural environment and they are so sociable and curious that if you hum a song through your snorkel they’ll come and investigate, I tried some Elvis with mixed results! Back on land you can go for some beautiful walks, with the peninsula walkway being the obvious top choice for spectacular views, it’s informative too with an impressive array of information panels explaining the geology, animals and the plants that make the area so special. It’s awe-inspiring to get up so close to a seal colony and see huge fur seals basking on rocks, and all for free! A few kilometres north of Kaikoura you can visit seal pups playing in a pool at Ohau Waterfall, seeing them frolicking in the water is simply enchanting and it’s a nice walk too. Kaikoura has so much to offer wildlife lovers and seafarers, one you’ve visited you’ll never forget it.