GuideA day in Kaikoura

Kaikoura has it all. Spectacular scenery, wildlife, adventure and some equally as spectacular food and drink offerings.

A woman holding a cup of coffee.

The neatest things to see, eat and do.

We recommend a road trip to the middle of the South to check out these cool joints.

Neat Places in Kaikoura

Hislops Wholefood Cafe

33 Beach Road, Kaikoura

What happens when two brothers, one steadfastly religious and the other the founder of a hippy commune, live side by side? You’ll find the answer at Hislop’s. This grassroots, organic restaurant is as much about the story behind it as it is about delicious fresh and organic ingredients.

Started by Paul and Elizabeth Hislop, their venture aims to deliver the quality organic produce Paul grew up with from his uncle’s hippy commune in southern Kaikoura.

Hislop’s has had quality, nourishing ingredients at its core since before it became a trend. From milling their own grain for organic bread to grinding their own paste for Turmeric lattes and serving Paul’s brother-in-law Nick’s, locally brewed Honey Mead. Enjoy delicacies from a lengthy menu. Most dishes are accompanied by Hislop’s famous fresh salads and there is more than enough raw cakes and sweet treats to satisfy your sweet tooth.

A man and woman sitting at a table.

Mountain Honey / Hexagon Mead

8 Rakanui Road, Kaikoura

A green flag leading to a humble shed tucked off a rural road shows few signs of the unexpected sweet haven nestled inside. The HQ of certified organic beekeepers, Mountain Honey, also doubles as the brewery for Hexagon Mead production. While pots of honey and bottles of mead are available for purchase, it is the site tour hosted by Nick Parkinson which brings these products – and this place – to life.

As tour guests walks through multiple climate controlled rooms, Nick walks visitors through the honey-making and mead-brewing processes. He explains how the honey is named after the family’s hive locations – deep in the Kaikoura mountain ranges – and how the mead is brewed in French oak barrels, just like its monk creators intended. The stories of the family’s foray into mead-making (the idea of his son, Jesse) and the colourful history of the property (a former hippy commune) add even more intrigue and character to these local gems.

A photo of stills.

Emporium Brewery

57a Beach Road, Kaikoura

Refreshing in more way than one, Emporium Brewery doesn’t just bring quality craft beer to the seaside community. At the site of an old roller disco rink, Emporium has continued the fun-loving history of it’s Beach Rd address with an 18 hole mini golf course and world-famous Escape Rooms coming soon. With an impressive history in the craft beer scene for such a young brand, Emporium has released eight beers and is served at bars and restaurants throughout New Zealand – including some in Kaikoura.

At Kaikoura, there are four rigger taps of Emporium beer which will soon be brewed on-site but are currently contract brewed in Christchurch. The sun soaked location is perfect for a pit stop with the kids, or a place to park up – especially after you’ve enjoyed a day of the plethora of ocean activities Kaikoura is famous for.

A woman pouring beer.

Poppy’s Real Home Made Ice Cream

18 West End, Kaikoura

It’s hard to miss Poppy’s on Kaikoura’s main strip. Not because of it’s prime location or prominent signage – but because of the long line of customers spilling out its doors and onto the footpath. Serving over 20 flavours of handmade, gluten-free ice cream, tourists and locals alike can’t seem to get enough of these cool icy treats.

The small space has all the trappings of a traditional, small-town Kiwi cafeteria and has recently been extended to serve dinner, too. But it is the ice cream that brings the crowds. Rich and creamy, Poppy’s creations are rustic, generous serves which drip down the cone if you lick too slow. Conceived from the need for gluten-free treats for a young relative, Poppy’s now caters for anyone after a comforting cold sugar hit. Choose from Kiwi classics and more inventive flavours like Sambuka, Bailey’s, rocky road, pineapple lump, saffron, peanut butter, mint chocolate as well as real fruit varieties.

People eating ice cream.

Beach House

39 Beach Road, Kaikoura

Room after room of dining tables and comfy seats, games, bright rays of sunshine and the smell of delicious cooking: It’s easy to feel like you’re visiting a family bach when you stop into the Beach House. Aptly named for it’s proximity to the coast and location on Beach Roadd, the Beach House serves standard cafe fare and a delicious array of nostalgic baked goods.

From generous slabs of lollie cake, to scones, cakes and biscuits – there is sure to be something here for the whole family or travelling party. Dine inside or out, soaking up the sunshine in the courtyard or streaming through the many windows, or if the weather is colder, get cosy by the fire.

A plate of food on a table.

Donegal House

Schoolhouse Road, Kaikoura

Donegal House is a family pub with a rich history proudly displayed. Still owned by descendants of the Irish emigrants who fled the Great Famine to set up a new life on New Zealand shores, this is a fitting destination for the whole family.

A hand-painted family tree sits pride of place in the courtyard, black and white photos line the walls – this is a treasure trove of the Irish settler family’s memories, and the perfect place for an event of your own. Wholesome pub meals with daily specials, standard beers and wines are on the menu, but it is also the sprawling gardens, water features, ample outside seating, live music, campervan facilities, motel rooms and venue hire which gives Donegal House it’s neatness.

With views past grazing stock and quintessential farmland to the mountains, this is a place to soak up the surrounds at one of the coolest Irish pubs in the country. A popular spot for large family reunions, birthdays, weddings and other milestone celebrations – the owners are proud of Donegal events which often continue long into the night.

The exterior of Donegal House.

Kaikoura Cheese Localvore Store

45 W End, Kaikoura

Fromage fanatics have reason to step inside this delightful little artisan cheese shop on Kaikoura’s main drag. Aptly named the Localvore Store, this is home to award-winning cheese artfully celebrating Kaikoura-born-and-bred milk and honey.

Created from the milk of nearby goats and cows, the cheesery is akin to a gallery. Here, picture perfect wheels and wedges are artful displayed in a rounded glass cabinet. Others are wrapped in the signature monochrome Kaikoura Cheese packaging and exhibited in open top chillers or presented on an oiled wooden table with the brand’s own Kaikoura Honey.

Two people browsing.