Whale tales and seaside adventures: Kid friendly activities in Kaikōura
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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Neat Kaikōura Places
The Pier Hotel
A classic Kiwi pub and restaurant housed within an iconic nineteenth century hotel.
Mt Fyffe Distillery
On the foothills of Mt Fyffe, Kaikōura, you’ll stumble across one of New Zealand’s smallest nano gin distilleries, Mt Fyffe Distillery.
Quality food in a relaxed yet stylish environment.
Kaikōura Surf Company
For all your surf and skating needs.
Kaikōura Peninsula Walkway
The Kaikōura Peninsula Walkway has it all; the wild ocean, rugged cliff tops and mountain views capped with snow throughout winter, and an abundance of marine wildlife.