The Insider's Guide to New Zealand
KAYAK AROUND THE PENINSULA
One look at waves crashing into rocks may leave visitors wary of the prospect of sea kayaking. Perhaps this is Kaikōura's way of protecting one of its well-kept secrets? Sea kayaking provides an excellent opportunity to see marine life up close — so close, in fact, that seals and dusky dolphins have been known to come within arm's reach. Kaikōura Kayaks owner Matt Foy has seen it all in his 20 years of operation. Remember the video of a seal slapping a kayaker with an octopus? The extraordinary encounter, which made international headlines and went viral, was filmed on a tour with Matt. There is a time and a place for guided tours and Kaikōura, with its complex aquatic ecosystem, is most certainly the place. Knowledgeable guides know where to spot the most seals and keep a constant eye on the water for dolphins, blue penguins and migrating sea birds. There's no such thing as a predictable day out on the water, and that's part of the fun. The half-day tours are suitable for all skill levels and are available year-round — yes, even winter, when wetsuit booties and gloves keep kayakers as well-protected against the elements as the blubbery seals laying idly about.
19 Killarney Street, Kaikōura. 0800 452 456, kaikourakayaks.nz