Autumn Weekend Adventures In Kaikōura

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Whether it be on land, by sea, or in the air, Kaikōura’s unique mountain and ocean environment offers nature’s ultimate playground for families to explore.

The region has plenty of guided and free scenic land-based activities along with unique marine wildlife encounters all year round. Enjoy a three-day weekend in Kaikōura with this suggested itinerary for the perfect family short break.

Day 1 – Explore the shore

Kaikōura Kayaks

Start your family weekend in Kaikōura with a guided kayak tour to explore the bays of the Kaikōura Peninsula and watch the seals in action on the water alongside your double kayak. Get on the water for an active family activity with Kaikōura Kayaks or choose a hands-free pedal kayak experience with Seal Kayak Kaikōura. The morning tours are usually calm on the ocean and suitable for families with (younger) kids to enjoy.

After lunch stretch your legs and go for a wander around the Point Kean Seal Colony. This rocky area is a popular hangout spot for the NZ fur seals during the day. There is a track from the carpark that leads up to a lookout with panoramic views of the mountains. Here you can also start the Kaikōura Peninsula Walkway, Kaikōura’s signature walk. This stunning 3-hour loop walk can be split up into smaller sections to be enjoyed by all family members.

Kaikōura Kayaks

Kaikōura Kayaks


Seal Kayak Kaikōura

The Kaikoura Seafood Bbq

Kaikōura Seafood BBQ

Finish your walk at Gooch’s Beach on the Esplanade and relax while the kids are playing at the beach’s playground. The calm bay offers safe swimming, stand-up paddle boarding and occasionally there are some small waves to practice your surfing skills.

Don’t miss Kaikōura Seafood BBQ for all things seafood including crayfish.

Day 2 – Get to know your favourite marine mammals

Whale Watch Kaikōura

Start the day early to see your favourite marine mammals around the Kaikōura coast. Take a boat trip with Dolphin Encounter to get a closer look at the Dusky Dolphins. These joyful and curious residential dolphins like to socialise in big pods and are always a delight to watch. Families with children older than 8 can also opt to swim on these trips.

Whale Watching is a very popular family activity that cannot be missed during your family weekend in Kaikōura! Whether it is by boat with Whale Watch Kaikōura or whale watching by air, seeing the magnificent sperm whales in real life is a memorable experience for young and old.

Whale Watch Kaikōura

Whale Watch Kaikōura

Kaikoura Museum

Kaikoura Museum

Mt Lyford Ski-Field

Mt Lyford Ski-Field

After lunch visit the Kaikōura Museum to dive deeper into the history and culture of the town or learn more about the marine mammals you have seen on your morning trip.

If you’re up for something more active the Kaikōura Bike Trail is the most family-friendly local bike track that follows along the Kowhai river and native bush.

Mt Lyford Ski-Field is 60kms inland from Kaikōura and is perfect for some family fun on the slopes from around June/July.

Day 3 – From the water to the land

Start your day and wake up with the calm of the ocean on one of Kaikōura’s local fishing charters. Fishing is a popular activity to do together and is an excellent way to introduce your kids to the true Kaikōura coastal lifestyle. If you rather stay on land today there’s Llama trekking where you will be given your own llama to bond with on a stunning coastal walk.

In the afternoon visit Glenstrae Farm 4WD Adventures for the ride of your life. The Argo ride is suitable for families that are up for an adventurous ride through native bush and hill country farmland. See the spectacular views of the rugged Kaikōura coastline at Haumuri Bluffs with their private NZ fur seal colony.

Kaikoura Fishing Tours

Kaikōura’s local fishing charters

Emporium Brewing

Emporium Brewing – Brewery, Escape Rooms and Mini Golf course

Glenstrae Farm 4WD Adventures

Glenstrae Farm 4WD Adventures

Top off your day at The Emporium for a game of Kaikōura themed mini golf or solve a series of puzzles at one of Emporium’s Escape Rooms.

On your way out north of Kaikōura make sure to stop at the Ohau Point Lookout to watch the seal pups playing mischievously in the rock pools. This Kaikōura breeding colony is a must-see on your family weekend in Kaikōura and is only a 20-minute drive from town.

For more information visit Kaikō

Main image credit: Whale Watch Kaikōura

Written by Kidspot NZ with information supplied by Destination Kaikōura.

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