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In Kaikoura, I recommend: Sunrise Lodge for location, hospitality, privacy and coziness, Dusky Lodge for an upbeat, stylish and youthful feel or Cray Cottage for its rave reviews (for those who love peace and quiet).
While in Kaikoura, enjoy a looooong (think 5 hours) walk around the Kaikoura penninsula, watching for sea lions, seals, birds and free-roaming sheep. Or do what made Kaikoura famous and take part in Dolphin Swimming, Whale Watching or Seal Swimming. And whether its the marine activities or the rain that comes off from the South Pacific Ocean, be prepared to get wet. It's worth it.
PS check out my fashion blog Anywhere But Here to see my feature in Self Magazine :)