Christchurch to Kaikoura (and back), chasing whales, spotting seals, and searching out some of NZ's best seafood.
3 - 5 days
Christchurch to Christchurch
Best Time of the Year
all year round
- Whale watching
- Fresh seafood meals
- Seal spotting
- Point Kean
Christchurch to Kaikoura
Distance 181km - Driving Time 2 hours
On Friday afternoon we picked up our campervan from Britz Campervans Christchurch (big shout out to the amazing staff!) and headed off to Kaikoura. The sun was setting as we made our way through Waipara and Greta Valley. We decided to stop off at St. Annes reserve for a scenic break, as the lake looked amazing, basking in the pink sunset.
We arrived at Kaikoura in the darkness and wanted an easy dinner so decided to grab some nothing other than fish and chips from Coopers Catch; the homemade aioli was divine! We parked up for the night at the Kaikoura Top Ten Holiday Park and settled into bed for our first night in the campervan. We decided to sleep in the area above the driver and passengers seats because that way, we didn’t have to rearrange any of our seating arrangements. We were both so impressed with how comfortable it was and how well we slept!
After having a fantastic sleep, we woke up to a beautifully clear (and crisp!) day in Kaikoura. After a quick shower, we headed off for a coffee and some breakfast from The Beach House Cafe. It was a short walk from our accommodation and had a cosy fire, delicious food and great coffee. Such a perfect way to start the day.
We had a flight with Wings Over Whales at 10am so we made our way to the airstrip to get our briefing. Before we hit the skies we learnt a little about the sperm whales that we were about to see; the information we were given pre-flight was fascinating and we truly appreciated that knowledge being shared with us. The flight gave us amazing views of whales and the whole of the beautiful Kaikoura peninsula. The views were simply breathtaking!
In the afternoon we were going to try our luck swimming with dolphins with the team at Encounter Kaikoura. After getting fitted into our wetsuits, we hopped on the bus and drove five minutes to South Bay to board the Moana Nui for our adventure. The dolphins swam around the front of the boat but were not keen to hang around so we were unable to swim with them however we grabbed some cool long exposure snaps and enjoyed the ride and cracking jokes with the staff.
For dinner, we made our way down to The Whaler Bar and Restaurant. I ordered the ribs (and walked away very satisfied) and watched The All Blacks play France on the big screens. We won, so everyone was very happy at the end of the night!
Christchurch to Kaikoura
Distance 181km - Driving Time 3 hours
We decided to get up early and head to the Point Kean Viewpoint which is a five-minute drive from central Kaikoura. We spotted some seals, took in the sights and learnt about the history of the area. After a quick bite to eat, we hit the road home with intentions of making a few scenic stop-offs along the way. We decided to check out Gore Bay and the Cathedral Cliffs and as per usual, the scenes were absolutely stunning.