Kaikoura is located on the east coast of the South Island just north of Christchurch. Here the high mountains rapidly drop away to deep seas, bringing all manner of marine life to the area.
From seals to dusky dolphins to orcas and humpback whales, there's more wildlife in Kaikoura than most beaches combined.
My favorite activity was getting to swim with wild dolphins. Not for those who easily get seasick, you pile in a small boat and head out on the water in search of the pods.
Jumping overboard, you'll be astonished by how many dolphins come swimming up to you and flip around. There are few such places in the world where you might have the opportunity to engage and interact with a fascinating species like in Kaikoura.