KAIKOURA, NEW ZEALAND
A chance to get close to whales and dolphins, seals, and albatrosses on a sparkling azure bay.
The small town of Kaikoura sits on the spectacular northeast coast, in the shadow of the snow-capped Kaikoura mountains. South, a sea trough extends unusually close to the coastline, creating an upsurge of nutritious plankton soup and attracting an extraordinary variety of ocean inhabitants.
Modern Kaikoura was established as a whaling station in the early 19th century. Station manager George Fyffe built Kaikoura's oldest remaining house (Fyffe House) near the Old Wharf in 1860, and gave his name to the mountain immediately behind the township. The whaling industry was replaced by fishing, particularly for crayfish. Today Kaikoura's wildlife is hunted only by the camera, and the resident and migratory whales are the big draw.