Whale tales and seaside adventures: Kid friendly activities in Kaikōura

Kids playing mini golf with their parents on a sunny day.

Looking for things to do with the kids in Kaikōura? You've come to the right place.

Words by: Petra Nyman

In town with the little ones? Perfect. There is so much to discover here, and Kaikōura with kids will take you to spots you might not have discovered on your own. Let us point you in the right direction to get the best out of this coastal gem with tamariki in tow.

Discover the wonders of the region at Kaikōura Museum

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96 West End, Kaikōura

Situated within the prominent cray pot building at the edge of the township’s retail centre, Kaikōura Museum will take you on a journey to discover the region's natural, social and cultural aspects. Experience the earthquake exhibition, then let the kids wander through the award-winning museum at their own speed. There are plenty of hands on activities and drawers to open to keep busy bubs interested.

Meet the seals along the Kaikōura Peninsula Walkway

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Kaikōura Peninsula Walkway, Kaikōura Peninsula, Kaikōura

Nothing quite like whānau hīkoi to burn off that energy, and what better way to see a different side of town than taking the kids for a stroll along the Kaikōura Peninsula Walkway? Spot seabirds and seals, discover the historic pā and whaling sites, and take in stunning views across the Pacific along the way. The entire walk takes approximately three hours to complete, but it is possible to walk smaller parts of the track if that sounds like too much to take on.

Stop for lunch at Beach House Café

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39 Beach Road, Kaikōura

Treat your little troopers to a fluffy or hot chocolate at the Beach House Café, and grab yourself a great cup of coffee while at it. A true local’s favourite, this café has plenty of different rooms to discover, wonderful mountain views from its back deck and a great community vibe, plus highchairs to plonk the smallest of the crew in to gain yourself a hands-free moment to enjoy that cuppa.

Partake in some art and film at Mayfair Arts and Culture Centre

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80 Esplanade, Kaikōura

The iconic pink art deco building of Te Whare Tōi ō Kaikōura Mayfair Arts & Culture Centre is impossible to miss on the waterfront. This is the local cinema, art exhibition and event space, which was completely rebuilt after the earthquake and now houses purpose-built state-of-the-art auditoriums. Various events roll through here throughout the year, but if nothing else, there’s bound to be a family friendly film on that will keep everyone entertained for an hour or two.

Take in a spot of mini golf with a side of locally brewed beer at Emporium Brewing

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57A Beach Road, Kaikōura

Head on over to Emporium Brewing for an afternoon of activities for children and adults alike. Its 18-hole minigolf course will keep the kids busy, and the craft beer will have the parents smiling. Emporium’s famous burgers will also surely hit the spot after a round of hole-in-ones or near misses. If you’re after a different kind of family bonding experience, there are escape rooms too, but these do require pre-booking.

Two people on bikes on a bike track amongst bush on a sunny day.

Bike the family-friendly Kaikōura Trail

Want to explore the town on two wheels with the entire whānau? Look no further than The Kaikōura Trail, which takes you on a bike ride across the district with stunning views of Mt Fyffe and the seaward Kaikōura ranges. Follow the signs along the trail and choose from various sections to cover a suitable distance for your group. A basic mountain bike is a requirement for making it an enjoyable ride.

Two women and a man holding an ice cream cone each, their heads cut out of the photo.

Treat yourselves to a home made ice cream at Poppy’s Parlour

Open over the summer months only, Poppy’s Parlour is a must stop ice cream shop when the sun is out. Home-made ice creams in all your favourite flavours are scooped here for the kid’s delight, and coffee to keep the grown ups going can be picked up from Poppy’s too.

A skate park right next to the ocean on a grey and wet day.

Visit the world’s most scenic skate park

Quite possibly the most scenic skate park in the country, if not the world, Kaikōura skate park is a must-hit spot with your wheel-mad moppets. Situated literally at the water’s edge on the Esplanade, you might just get lucky enough to watch a pod of dolphins swim on by, or a whale tail pop up on the horizon as your kids perfect their latest tricks. 

Finish the day with a dinner of fish and chips from Coopers Catch

9 West End, Kaikōura

What better way to end a day of exploration than grabbing some quality fish n’ chips and heading to the beach to fill those hungry tummies in true Kiwi style, as the light begins to fade? Grab your kai from Coopers Catch, tuck it under the arm, and guide the kids across the bridge over to the oceanfront. Settle down on the rocks, dig in and take a moment to appreciate the stunning simplicity of a day well spent.

Neat Kaikōura Places

Cultural Artwork Package

Steps up to a Māori pouwhenua.
Place Kaikōura Editor's Pick

View stunning cultural artworks that tell the rich history of Kaikōura.

Karaka Lobster

Lobsters on display in the fridge at Karaka Lobster.
Place Kaikōura

Impossible to miss.

Slam Club

Customers having a beer at Slam Club, Kaikōura.
Place Kaikōura Editor's Pick
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Famous for its toasted sandwiches, Slam Club is the favourite destination for foodies passing through town.

Kaikōura Boutique Hotel

Exterior view of Kaikōura Boutique Hotel.
Place Kaikōura
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A beautifully restored late 1800s hotel.