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Encounter Foundation

Kaikoura, New Zealand

Kaikoura is located in the South Island on the main route mid way between Christchurch and Picton (see map). Christchurch, 180km (2.5 hours drive) to the south of Kaikoura has an international airport and Picton, 160km (2 hours drive) to the north, is the entry point for travellers coming to the South Island by ferry from Wellington in the North Island.

Kaikoura is a small coastal village that has an incredible vista; a large mountain range (the Seaward Kaikoura’s) provides a dramatic backdrop to the town centre located on the east side of a small peninsula extending out into the Pacific Ocean. This stunning view alone captivates those who visit Kaikoura.


Kaikoura is blessed with natural attractions revolving around the ocean and mountains and as a result is now well served by many activities which centre on these two domains.

Encounter Kaikoura which is the headquarters for the Dolphin Encounter operation also operates the Albatross Encounter with Ocean Wings tour that focuses on the many species of seabird off the Kaikoura Coastline.

The viewing of marine life, namely whales, dolphins, seals and birds is the main reason visitors come to Kaikoura, but there are many other attractions such as walksfishing, scuba diving, 4 wheel adventures, Maori Tours, a wonderful golf course and a relaxing day spa with much more on offer. The Kaikoura Information Centre website also has a full compliment of activities and information on Kaikoura:


Kaikoura is well served with places to stay, from Motor Inn to Backpacker accommodation. Once again Kaikoura Information Centre is a good source for this directory.

Some Examples


Anchor Inn Motel ,  White Morph Motor Inn, Sails Motel, Lobster Inn Motor lodge


Waves Apartments, Waterfront Apartments

Holiday Parks

Kaikoura Top Ten Holiday Park

Holiday Homes

Kaikoura Beach Front Villa


Manakua Lodge

Book A Batch

Book a batch in Kaikoura


Fish Tank Lodge, Dolphin Lodge, Dusky Lodge, Albatross Backpackers, YHA Kaikoura, Lazy Shag, Sunrise Lodge

Bed & Breakfasts

Inn The Bay, Bendamere,Surf Watch,The Point, Nikau Lodge, Bay-View


Where to camp in New Zealand? In New Zealand we promote responsible camping within designated sites. For information on sites within New Zealand go to Every NZ Campsite.

Food and Beverage

Kaikoura has a large selection of eating places, from restaurants to fish and chip and fast food outlets. Crayfish (rock lobster) caught locally in the waters around Kaikoura, is a delicacy and a favourite dish in most restaurants.

Cafe Encounter The Encounter Kaikoura complex has its own licensed café facility for visitor’s and clients alike and specialises in breakfasts, lunches and casual dining.


Hislop's Cafe,Tutis Restaurant, The Peir HotelGreen Dolphin, The Black Rabbit Pizza Co, The Whaler.

 Kaikoura is well known for its crayfish (or rock lobster), a sought after delicacy that many visitors to Kaikoura enjoy when eating out.  © Dennis Buurman» Crayfish
 The Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway is one of New Zealand's most popular short walks and has fantastic views for those who take the walk.  © Dennis Buurman» Kaikoura Peninsula
 Kaikoura is blessed by such natural beauty, with rugged snow capped mountains that overlook the ocean, a stunning combination.  © Dennis Buurman» Kaikoura Township
 Surfing at Mangamaunu, north of Kaikoura. Kaikoura has a number of well known surfing breaks and of these Mangamaunu is probably the most well known.  © Dennis Buurman» Surfing
 The surf rolls in along the Kaikoura Coast at Oaro, 15km south of Kaikoura.  © Dennis Buurman» Oaro Coastline
 The shoreline looking from the Esplanade.  © Dennis Buurman» Kaikoura Beach
 A beautiful sunset over the hills to the west of Kaikoura. The pond in the foreground is on the 13th hole (par 3) at the Kaikoura Golf Course.  © Dennis Buurman» Twilight
 A view across the bay from the wharf with the snow capped Kaikoura Mountains in the background.  © Dennis Buurman» Kaikoura Wharf
 Blue cod is one of the species of fish sought after by the many recreational fishers who come to Kaikoura in search of bounty from the sea.  © Dennis Buurman» Fishing