Elora and boyfriend Ben picked up a motorhome and embarked on an adventure filled weekend escape to Kaikoura. Here's their story.
Living in Christchurch has so many perks, but my favourite is the close proximity to so many wonderful locations just a few hours drive. The oceanside town of Kaikoura is an easy 3-hour drive from Christchurch and boasts one of the most incredibly complex marine systems, providing an abundantly rich habitat for marine mammals and seabirds making it an ideal place for getting ‘close to nature’. There is so much to see in Kaikoura that I definitely rate it as a must visit - especially if you’re as close as we are in Christchurch!
Christchurch - Christchurch
Best Time of the Year
All year round
- Whale watching
- Cooper's Catch
- Seal spotting
Christchurch to Kaikoura
Distance 181km - Driving Time 3 hours
Picking up our maui Cascade mid-morning in Christchurch, we had the luxury of taking it home to pack it up before cruising off to Kaikoura around lunch time. Our camper really had everything we needed to be self-contained and since we had a full kitchen on board (stove top, microwave, sink and all cutlery, plates and glasses) we didn’t have to spend extra money on going out to eat.
About an hour and a half outside of Christchurch is a tiny seaside village called Motunau - we made a stop here to enjoy the ocean and scenic views before carrying on our way.
The rest of the drive was super cruisy and after a few stop-go signs on the way in (the roads to Kaikoura are damaged but very much safe and open) we made it to Kaikoura. We checked in to Top10 Kaikoura and parked up our camper for the evening. After a quick meal at local pub The Whaler, we headed back to our camper to watch the Crusaders play. Lucky I don’t go anywhere without my laptop!
The next morning we woke early and cooked a delicious breakfast of sausages (picked up at Harris Meats in Culverden on the way up) and poached eggs in our maui motorhome kitchen. I was pretty excited because day two was Whale Watching day! We headed off to Whale Watch Kaikoura which was just a few minutes drive from our accommodation. We had a mind-blowing experience seeing 2 sperm whales!
After arriving back, we stopped for the best fish and chip lunch at Cooper’s Catch (who do a gluten-free option!) then went for a tiki tour around Kaikoura. This included driving along the peninsula where we stopped to watch a seal basking in the sun on the side of the road and then up to the Kaikoura Lookout where we were greeted with a panoramic view of the whole of Kaikoura. The evening was once again spent relaxing and watching rugby in our camper!
Kaikoura to Christchurch
Distance 181km - Driving Time 3 hours
Unfortunately our time in Kaikoura was coming to a close! After a sleep in, we popped across the road to Hislops Cafe for a delicious brunch before hitting the road back to Christchurch. Just outside of Kaikoura during the beautiful coastal drive, we stopped at an empty pull in bay to watch a colony of seals resting on the rocks. They were definitely different to the seal colony on the peninsula point and were quite intrigued by us - we spent a while there just watching them as they watched us. We got back on the road and drove back to Christchurch ready for our breezy camper return.
The real food highlight for me was Cooper’s Catch. Since going gluten free over 5 years ago, I haven’t been able to indulge in my ultimate kiwi nostalgia food - go old fashioned Fish & Chips. Cooper’s Catch made this possible for me with their gluten free offerings. Sampling both fresh blue cod and gurnard in their gluten free batter led to a pretty incredible experience for me and I couldn’t recommend visiting them highly enough.
Ben and I had such a fantastic time in Kaikoura. The Top10 holiday park was fantastic - their newly renovated bathrooms with heat pumps installed made all the difference in the cold winter weather and it was nice to have such clean and modern facilities.
Whale Watch Kaikoura was my overall top highlight and being able to witness two massive sperm whales in their natural habitat before they plunge back down to the deep sea was an experience I’ll never forget!
Our trip was made by being able to experience it from maui’s Cascade Motorhome - a unique way to travel our beautiful country.
Thanks to Elora (@elorahh) for the story - we're glad you had a great time.