12 hours Kaikōura
Think you can't experience a taste of Kaikōura in 12 hours? We can prove you wrong. We’ve gathered a neat package of activities, delicious food, scenic spots and great entertainment that can all be squeezed within a 12 hour period in this seaside town.
The best things to see, eat and do in Kaikōura
There’s no time to be wasted when new experiences await, so rise and shine with the sun – watching it pop up from behind the ocean it is not a bad way to start the day.
Breakfast at Sime’s
33 Beach Road
Head over to this Beach Road eatery and begin the day by refuelling with some of the most interesting breakfast options on offer in Kaikōura. Meals are not done half-heartedly at Sime's and every dish on the menu has been given a twist that makes it stand out from the rest. Think your café favourites lifted up a notch with a bit of ingenuity in the kitchen, such as creamy parmesan mushroom medley on manuka sourdough finished with white truffle oil, or brioche french toast with pistachio cream, roasted pistachios with dulce de leche and seasonal fig. Top that off with coffee brewed to perfection with Peoples Coffee beans and you’ve got a pretty nice start to the day!
Half-day llama trek at Kaikōura llama trekking
16 Kowhai Ford Road, Kaikoura Flat
Now here’s something a little different to add to your next round of never-have-I-ever. Just a five-minute drive from town takes you to llama trekking where you can make some new furry friends and experience Kaikōura from a unique angle. This trek will have you walking along the coastline with your own llama in tow, and includes morning tea and entry to the historical Fyffe house, too.
BeeBox for local honey and mead tasting
28 West End
Once back in the centre of Kaikōura, make your way to the container mall and enter BeeBox, a locally run store specialising in organic honey selections. Celebrating honest honey and supporting sustainable beekeeping practices, BeeBox is your one-stop-shop for all things honey. Don’t leave without having a wee taste of Mead, which is a speciality dessert wine made with honey.
Coffee at Bean Me Up
84 West End
Just down the road towards the southern tail of West End, sits Bean Me Up. This quirky café brews some serious coffee that’ll keep you going for the next few hours. There's to look at here with owner-operator Sharon’s collection of vintage finds, artworks, photographs and knick-knacks galore. If you’re feeling peckish, there are plenty of delicious sweets and savouries to choose from, all vegetarian and made on-site. Make sure you poke your head in Bean Me Up’s arcade around the corner and have a go at some of the old school games like Pac Man that they have there. A word of warning though, they are pretty addictive and you might get stuck here for some time!
Lunch at Flo & Co.
9 West End
By now it’s surely time to eat again, right? Head back down to the other end of West End and discover the bustling near-new Flo & Co where both the cabinet and menu are brimming with all your café favourite. If you’re in town with kids in tow, there’s a great play area at the back of the café that will keep them entertained.
Retail therapy at Husk Home and Addy & Lou
27 West End, Kaikōura
Now that you’re all fuelled up again it’s time to check out what Kaikōura has on offer on the retail side of things. Just a few doors down you’ll find the most beautifully curated homewares store Husk Home. Filled with an interesting selection of handmade products and established brands, it’s hard to choose what to walk out with. Across the road and a few steps forwards sits Addy & Lou, another homewares store showcasing more stunning items perfect for the home or as gifts. Plenty to choose from here too, and if you’re lucky this store might just have one of its pop-ups going when you visit!
Emporium Brewery Tasting
57A Beach Road
By the time you’ve finished with all that shopping, it’s surely beer-o’clock. Find your way to Emporium Brewery to taste some local craft beer and have a chat with the friendly brewers. Purchase a number of different beers brewed right on these premises that you won’t come across at your local supermarket, a perfect souvenir to savour at a later date or a gift for that friend who is feeding the cat while you're away. These guys also run a mini-golf course and a couple of escape rooms, should you feel up for another activity.
The Pier Hotel for a drink with a view
1 Avoca Street
As the sun begins to set behind those majestic mountains, there’s no better place to be than The Pier Hotel. This classic Kiwi pub showcases some of the best views in town and is the local’s favourite for a pint or two. Grab your drink of choice, head outside to the beer garden or try your luck with finding a window table to park at and watch the sky turn pink.
Dinner at Zephyr
40 West End, Kaikōura
One of the finest restaurants in Kaikōura, Zephyr is the place to make your dinner reservation. The menu draws inspiration from French cuisine and focuses on meat, but vegetarians have been taken into consideration as well. A calm and relaxing spot to wind down after a big day.
Film at The Mayfair
Walk off that food baby and take a stroll along the waterfront to The Mayfair. This culture and arts hub functions primarily as a movie theatre with brand new state of the art auditoriums. You can expect to find the latest releases on show and tickets can be grabbed online to avoid missing out. Time to sit back and settle down for an hour or two in the comfy seats with big-screen entertainment.
Nightcap at The Strawberry Tree
21 West End
You may feel like tucking yourself into bed after emerging from that dark theatre, but since you’re here, you might as well tick off the last box that will complete a pretty well-spent day in Kaikōura. Head back to the town centre and finish off the evening with a nightcap at the iconic Strawberry Tree. Find a seat near the crackling open fire, stargaze out back in the beer garden or perhaps find yourself catching some tunes by local musicians.
Words by: Petra Nyman
Photography by: Nancy Zhou