Kaikoura FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions about Kaikoura, New Zealand)

Kaikoura Questions & Answers

Is Kaikoura worth visiting?

Of course Kaikoura is worth visiting! Kaikoura is worth visiting more than once. In fact once you've been here, you will probably start making plans for your return trip.

Is Kaikoura part of Canterbury?

Kaikoura has official been part of the Canterbury region since 1992. Before that it was part of Marlborough and many Kaikoura long time residents - and even people in other parts of NZ - still consider Kaikoura to be within Marlborough for sentimental reasons.

Where is Kaikoura Station?

Kaikoura Railway Station is located at Whaleway Station Rd along the Kaikoura foreshore. The station's building is home to Whale Watch Kaikoura
The Coastal Pacific train stops here twice per day: in the morning on the way to Picton, and every afternoon on the way to Christchurch. You will need a ticket to board the train which can be purchased on site.

Where is Kaikoura wharf?

Kaikoura's old wharf is at Wakatu Quay, off the southern end of the Esplanade in front of The Pier Hotel. In recent times it has been undergoing redevelopment as part of the revamp of the Wakatu Quay area after the area was described as run down by the Kaikoura mayor and council.

What does Kaikoura translate to?

Kaikōura loosely means "to eat crayfish". The Māori name for Kaikoura is Te Ahi-kai-koura-a-Tamatea-pokai-whenua. Tamatea-pokai-whenua is a famous Māori ancestor and a traveller who visited the Kaikoura Peninsula. While there, crayfish was eaten and so came about the name of this location. Find out more about Kaikoura's Māori history.

Where can I find the Kaikoura boating forecast?

If you're planning to go out boating at Kaikoura, you will want to find out the forecast for weather and swell conditions. New Zealand's Marine Weather Forecasting service at marineweather.co.nz is the best place to find swell charts, wind, tide and wave height details.

How long is a Kaikoura Whale Watch tour?

Kaikoura Whale Watch runs several different tours that run from a few hours up to a full day. Their good value Marine Combo tour gets you a 3.5 hour whale watch experience on the boat, plus a 3.5 hour Dolphin Encounter and a 45 minute Wings Over Whales scenic flight.

Is there a dentist in Kaikoura?

If you need to see a dentist in kaikoura there is just one option: the Kaikoura Dental Centre at 6A West End. This is the only dental facility in Kaikoura itself and their opening days and hours are limited to only Tuesday-Thursday 9am-5pm. The closest other dental practices to Kaikoura are in Blenheim and Christchurch.

Does Kaikoura have an Irish pub?

There is an Irish bar and pub in Kaikoura at Donegal House which is a hotel with accommodation, restaurant and bar. Donegal House is located on Schoolhouse Road. Both the restaurant and bar have an Irish themed menu.

When is the Kaikoura Orca season?

The best time to see Orca or killer whales off Kaikoura is Orca from November until March. During that time you can be lucky enough to see a pod of orcas consisting of anywhere from a few individuals up to 20 animals. They are not seen as regularly as whales and dolphins; sightings of Orca off Kaikoura usually happens just a few times every month between November/December and March. Rays and sharks are known to be favoured for prey for Orcas around New Zealand.

Where can I get fish and chips in Kaikoura?

New Zealand is famous for its fish and chips and you will find a huge number of places to get your tasty takeout fix around Kaikoura. Almost every food establishment offers some form of fish and chips on the menu. To name just a few: Kaikoura Seafood BBQ Kiosk, The Craypot and Coopers Catch are all famed for their fried fish & chip meals.