Kaikoura is a base for wildlife experiences of all kinds. It is also a great place to eat crayfish (in the Maori language kai means food, koura means crayfish). The environment is truly spectacular; the village is caught between the rugged Seaward Kaikoura Range and the Pacific Ocean. In winter the mountains are covered with snow, adding to the drama of the landscape. Kaikoura’s special talent is marine mammal encounters, as whales, fur seals and dolphins live permanently in the coastal waters. Whale watching trips leave the town several times a day and the local seal colony is always entertaining.
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Top things to do in Kaikoura
From Kaikoura it is possible to get up close to the mighty albatross, one of the world’s largest flying birds. The tour involves feeding and observing the large pelagic birds, letting the birds visit the boat, rather than seeking them out. Birds that may be seen off the Kaikoura coastline include twelve species of albatrosses, penguins, gannets, skuas, shearwaters, petrels and terns.
Swim with dolphins
Off the coast of Kaikoura it is possible to watch, or swim with dusky dolphins in their natural environment. These dolphins are resident in these waters all year round and are known for their acrobatic leaps and interactive behaviour. Other marine mammals, including orcas and pilot whales, are also occasionally seen.
Surrounded by spectacular landscapes, with the rugged Seaward Kaikoura Range to the west and the Pacific Ocean to the east, Kaikoura is a great base to experience some of New Zealand's best wildlife experiences. Giant sperm whales are present year-round and New Zealand fur seals, pods of dusky dolphins, albatrosses can also be seen. Humpback, pilot, blue and southern right whales are also visible at certain times of year. Whale watching can be done by boat or scenic flight.
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