Up Close And Personal With A Seal On A Day Hiking Trail

Print Friendly

Guest Post: Hiking  in New Zealand

Meet a Seal on a Day Hiking Trail

Aside from being able to get up close and personal with a seal on a day hiking trail, Jade Johnston of OurOyster.com also says:

This walk has it all. Views of mountain ranges, picturesque pasture lands, ocean views, a forest hike, and even animal encounters. All these things, combined with the ease of getting to the trail, makes this walk the ultimate short day easy hike in New Zealand.

"A sunning seal by the beach along a day hiking trail in the Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway in New Zealand"

The sign reads “Please keep at least 10 metres from seals at all times” but sometimes that isn’t always possible. The sign goes on to state, “If a seal comes into the parking lot, keep your distance and don’t get in between it and the sea.”

New Zealand is one of the rare places in the world where you can get up close and personal with wildlife such as the fur seal, only a 10 minute walk from civilization. Most hiking fans will already know that New Zealand is THE destination for hiking adventures for all experience levels. A great example of these are the Great Walks – a collection of nine different 3-5 day long hikes in a variety of stunning landscapes.

You may also have heard of some of New Zealand’s amazing day walks, such as the world famous Tongariro Crossing. However, the Tongariro can be a pretty full-on adventure with steep stairs and windy ridges.

For a slightly more relaxed day walk, consider the Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway.

"Views of mountain ranges and the ocean along a day hiking trail on the Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway day hiking trail in New Zealand"

The Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway is ideal for those wanting a quick nature get-away, but who do not want to invest in a full day’s worth of strenuous activity.

The walkway takes approximately 2 hours to complete, but if you are like James and I, you might want to stretch it a few hours longer, take a picnic and enjoy the views.

The hike both starts and finishes in town, so there is no need to book any special shuttle services or leave your car in any unsecured parking area. The walk is also extremely gentle, which makes it perfect for a lazy day’s stroll, or for an outing with kids in tow.

As you head out of town, you will be greeted by the sight of beautiful mountain ranges and calm waters.

"A view from a day hiking trail on the Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway"

The town of Kaikoura used to be famous for its whaling activities, and is now famous for it’s more eco friendly whale spotting cruises. A legacy from the days of old still stand as you pass along the towns beach, in the form of whale bone fences.

About 10-15 mins. walk from town you will come to a car park with a lot of commotion. This is the Kaikoura seal colony. You can get right close and personal with the seals here, but remember to always keep to a reasonable and safe distance. Seals can be a lot more agile on land than they look!

From the car park, the path climbs up a hill which overlooks the peninsula. The path then turns inland, taking you through cow and sheep pasture until you reach the other side of the peninsula. We reached this section around twilight, and the reflections of the sun upon the water were just breathtaking.

"A view from a day hiking trail in New Zealand"

At this point, you descend into one of the outer suburbs of Kaikoura, but to get back to where you started you will need to cut through a small wooded area. Don’t worry though, this is all well sign posted. Once back in town, you only need to walk a few blocks to get to a cozy restaurant or back to your hotel.

Jade Johnston Jade Johnston is a writer at OurOyster.com – the website she runs with her partner James. She has been travelling for six years, and just spent the last year in New Zealand. Her website focuses on documenting her travel experiences, while at the same time providing practical information as well asbudget travel tips . Currently Jade and James are exploring all Australia has to offer. You can also find her at Facebook , and on Twitter.

15 comments to Up Close And Personal With A Seal On A Day Hiking Trail

  • We got some great pictures of seals while we were in NZ, but nothing like these – great job! Our favorite hike was up in the Mt Aspiring National Park where we hiked to the French Ridge hut and stayed for 5 nights. It was a beautiful (and tough!) trip!

  • I love Kaikoura! It’s a great spot for a day hike and also a surf! Funny when you’re surfing though, the seals can get a bit curious and swim by for a visit.

  • I love seaside hikes too, Debbie.

  • I love walking near the ocean to see the amazing animals and ocean life. This does sound fantastic and I be the views are equally beautiful.

  • Leigh, you seem to have been around quite a bit wherever there’s an “adventure” to be had. Respect!

  • @Natasha – I really agree – we took so many photos of those mountains! You can see them from town right when you begin the hike…. another reason why it took us WAY more than the recommended 2 hours to complete the hike! There were just too many photo opportunities!

    @Christy & Scott – Definitely! If you like hiking then you need to make going to New Zealand a priority!

  • I hiked this area a zillion years ago and seeing so many seals still stands out in my mind. What lucky people the Kiwis are with so much great outdoor activity packed in a small country.

  • Yes, they are very inviting, aren’t they? Would also like to get to New Zealand.

  • I really need to make it to New Zealand soon. These hikes sound awesome!

  • Nice post Jade. The Kaikoura coast is magical – I love the way the mountains seem to float above layers of sea and cloud.

  • @Lori – Im glad you like it! New Zealand is a great place for all sorts of outdoor activities! If you go there, make sure to check out Kaikoura.

    @tunimaal The tongariro is also a pretty amazing day hike! It’s a lot more intense than the Kaikoura one though!

  • Really a pity. Next time around perhaps. Thanks for dropping by.

  • This is an Amazing hiking trip. I should have done it. I was in New Zealand 2 years ago and I did the Tongariro Alpine Crossing (19km to the top of a Volcano)… But the one you are showing us is amazing

  • It does sound like a good day hike, Lori. Really makes me want to hop it over to New Zealand.

  • Interesting experience and a nice post :) I liked it!

Leave a Reply