I don’t care what other towns I see in New Zealand. None of them can possibly be as stunning as Kaikoura. A photo really can’t do it justice.
In Kaikoura, as in Rotorua and Taupo, most activities are not free; as much as I would like to go kayaking, whale watching, swimming with dolphins and/or seals, and sailing, it’s just not in our budget. (We’re going to splash out on a glacier hike, but that’ll be our only splurge.) However, the views in Kaikoura are totally free, and there’s a great hike around the Kaikoura Peninsula that is chock-full of scenic views. It takes three hours to walk, not including time spent taking photos.