It's a nice 2.5 hour drive from Christchurch to Kaikoura, even in the rain. It's a pretty coastal drive for the last part, reminding me of parts of Hwy 1 on the coast of California.
I'm usually a very organised traveller, but we hadn't booked a boat cruise for the time we were meant to be in Kaikoura and when we arrived they were booked out, so take the tip and book in advance if it's something you really want to do. If you miss out like we did, there is plenty to keep you busy.
We drove out to the seal colony, while the tide was in and were surprised how close some of the seals wanted to get!
We then enjoyed a nice lunch at the Kaikoura Seafood BBQ hut on the side of the road - crayfish, paua fritters, whitebait fritters and chowder - yum!
We drove back into town to check out the Kaikoura Historical Society Museum, small, but worth the visit if you have an hour to spare.
We then drove back to the seal colony to take the walk to the lookout (5 min up hill), we were planning on doing the full hour or so walk but the wind was extremely strong so we decided to give it a miss, the views from the lookout were definitely worth briefly braving the weather though!
We checked into our accommodation at The Fairways, which is just out of town but the golf course. We chose here based on Tripadvisor reviews and were not disappointed.
We then decided to have a drink and then a meal at The Pier. What did we have? If you guessed crayfish you'd be right! The view is stunning and the service was great.
In the morning we enjoyed breakfast at the Kaikoura Food Company before heading off to Hanmer Springs.