Wildlife Encounter Kaikoura

Departing Christchurch aboard the Coastal Pacific, our overnight package will take you to the quaint seaside town of Kaikoura for an unforgettable day out with Dusky Dolphins and the world's largest seabirds.

Prices from $649*

per person

number of nights
2 Nights
number of activities
3 Activities
number of nights
Return train
transfer included

Discover heavenly wildlife in Kaikōura

Voyage along the picturesque Kaikōura coastline to one of New Zealand's most heavenly locations for two days of intimate wildlife magic.

Your adventure begins aboard the Coastal Pacific train with New Zealand's stunning scenery gliding by your window. Arriving in Kaikōura, you will discover an idyllic world filled with fascinating wildlife and legendary history.

Over the next two days, you'll experience intimate encounters with New Zealand's inquisitive sealife, including dolphins and albatross, as they play in their natural environment. You will then explore the legends of Kaikoura and its famous seal colony on a two-hour guided tour. 

When you climb aboard the Coastal Pacific train for your return journey, you'll wish you could stay forever. 

Map of our Kaikoura Wildlife Encounter package


  • Return travel on Coastal Pacific
  • Morning tea on our Coastal Pacific train
  • Dolphin Encounter Kaikōura TOUR
  • albatross Kaikōura TOUR
  • 2-hour tour of Kaikōura
  • One night's accommodation
  • Breakfast at your accommodation
  • Transfers between train, activities and accommodation
  • Dinner on our Coastal Pacific train

exploring the Kaikoura coastline from the Coastal pacific train
Kaikoura's seals playing on the rocks by Kyle Mulinder
Photographing Dusky Dolphins on a Kaikoura Dolphin Encounter
Albatross gliding over the sea in front of the Kaikoura mountains

Your Wildlife Encounter Package Itinerary

Day 1 Morning: Coastal Pacific train

Day 1 Morning: Coastal Pacific train

In the fresh morning mist, your adventure begins aboard the Coastal Pacific train, escaping through the backyards of Christchurch and across the mighty Canterbury Plains.

By mid-morning, you'll be enjoying your Coastal Pacific Morning Tea while weaving through rural communities and remote farmsteads before joining the Conway River as it flows through a narrow forested valley on its journey to the Pacific Ocean.

The final stage of this magnificent journey straddles the wild beaches of Oaro, before tunnelling through the mountains and out onto the vast Kaikōura plains.

Upon arrival in Kaikōura, you'll be greeted and transferred to your accommodation where you can relax and get dressed for your next adventure.


Morning coffee on the Coastal Pacific
Enjoying the sea breeze from the Coastal Pacific train's Open-air Viewing Carriage
Coastal Pacific cruises along the beach near Oaro


Day 1 Afternoon: Albatross Adventure

Day 1 Afternoon: Albatross Adventure

Your afternoon adventure is an intimate audience with albatross. Within a fifteen-minute custom-built boat ride, you'll be in a remarkable world ruled by pelagic birds - including albatross, shearwaters, petrels, penguins, gannets, skuas, and terns.

While these feathered wonders of nature overwhelm your senses, your onboard crew will be providing incredible insights. With the longest wingspan of any bird, your encounter with Kaikōura's albatross will leave an enduring impression.



Seafaring clothes are recommended - flat-bottomed shoes, jacket, hat, sunglasses, sunscreen.


Day 2 Morning: Dolphin Encounter tour

Day 2 Morning: Dolphin Encounter tour

Sail into Kaikoura's stunning harbour, surrounded by picturesque mountains, for a close encounter with New Zealand's playful Duskies. Your Dolphin Encounter tour will bring you nose-to-nose with Kaikōura's marine intelligentsia, whose 'aquabatic' displays provide enthralling entertainment. Here, in their natural environment, it is barely believable to see how much Kaikōura's dolphin population enjoys performing for a crowd. 

Adventurous types can upgrade to the Swimming with Dolphins package, which includes diving in with these inquisitive locals - perhaps they will teach you a trick or two?

Whichever option you take, this will be one encounter you'll never forget.

explore Kaikoura's Dusky Dolphin population with Dolphin Encounter
Watch acrobatic dolphin displays in their natural Kaikoura environment
Explore NZ swimming with dolphins in Kaikoura photo by Bare Kiwi

Seafaring clothes are recommended - flat-bottomed shoes, jacket, hat, sunglasses, sunscreen.


Day 2 Afternoon: Kaikoura Guided Tour

Day 2 Afternoon: Kaikoura Guided Tour

Your local guide will collect you in the early afternoon for a stunning 2-hour tour of Kaikōura, visiting places of interest and learning more about this beautiful town and its history. During the tour, you can explore the dramatic formation famously raised during the 2016 earthquake, stroll around Kaikōura's famous seal colony, and venture up to the viewpoint for dramatic 360° views of the town and the Kaikōura peninsula.

Everywhere you go, stunning views of the Kaikoura mountains will dominate the horizon. There are few places on Earth that leave such a lasting impression.

A seal stands tall on the rocks of Kaikoura
Looking across the uplifted rocks at Kaikoura

Day 2 Afternoon: Coastal Pacific return journey

Return to Christchurch aboard our Coastal Pacific in the late afternoon. With the sun descending over the mountains, all you need to do is sit back and enjoy your Coastal Pacific dinner while stunning views of the Canterbury countryside glide by.

With much to talk about and photos to share, perhaps it's time to enjoy a drink from our licensed cafe and say "Cheers" to a mesmerising couple of days?


Sun sets over the Coastal Pacific Picton to Christchurch train


choose accommodation

Choose your Kaikoura accommodation

Choose from our hand-picked accredited accommodation.

View accommodation


Wildlife encounter Package Pricing
1 May 2021 - 30 Sept 2021
Single from $800*
Double/Share from $694*
1 Oct 2021 - 14 Dec 2021
Single from $828*
Double/Share from $706*
15 Dec 2021 - 15 Apr 2022
Single from $929*
Double/Share from $784*

*Starting prices include return train fare, 1 night in Kaikoura, and three activities. All Packages are subject to availability at the time of enquiry until a firm booking is made. Additional accommodation and activities are available on request.


The minimum age limit for children travelling on a Dolphin Encounter tour is 3yrs+. Dolphin Encounter Kaikōura maintains the right to raise the age limit depending on sea and weather conditions at the time of check-in. 

Add more to your holiday in Christchurch

exploring Christchurch on our Whale Watch package
Stay in Christchurch city centre in the Muse hotel
Discover Christchurch history in the Canterbury Museum

Extend your holiday by adding one of these great Christchurch hotels before or after your Dolphin Encounter Kaikoura package:

View Christchurch Accommodation
choose Christchurch accommodation
choose Christchurch activities
View Christchurch Activities

Bookings & Enquiries

0800 872 467

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Hours of operation:

Mon to Fri: 8am - 5pm

Public Holidays: Closed

Overseas: +64 4 495 0775

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