Nestled along the pristine coastline of New Zealand’s South Island, Kaikoura is a beautiful beach town popular with both local and international vacationers! It is a small, laid-back town, with only a few locally owned restaurants, cafes, and bars.

‘Kaikoura’ roughly translates to ‘to eat crayfish’ in Maori, leading us to the main highlight of the town – chowing down on some truly divine, fresh crayfish.

Only a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Christchurch, Kaikoura is a fave for local Kiwis who want to spend a long weekend or holiday in their traditional style baches (holiday homes).

Encircled by incredible mountains, rising to incredible heights of 2600 meters above sea level, the landscape is impressive and varied, making it a fun spot to explore. With so much adventure and outdoors fun to be had, basing yourself in a cozy place to stay will make your trip all the more enjoyable. There aren’t any large resorts or hotel chains, but you will find plenty of quaint bed and breakfasts, guesthouses, and great motels in Kaikoura. Check these out!

Best Motel for Couples in Kaikoura
King Studio at Panorama Motel
Best Motel for Couples in Kaikoura

King Studio at Panorama Motel

  • > $$$
  • > 2 Guests
  • > Direct garden access and gorgeous sea views from the room and patio
  • > Full kitchenette and basic living area
Best Budget Motel in Kaikoura
One-Bedroom Apartment at Sierra Beachfront Motel
Best Budget Motel in Kaikoura

One-Bedroom Apartment at Sierra Beachfront Motel

  • > $
  • > 2 Guests
  • > Private kitchenette and bathroom
  • > Free parking, paid laundry, and BBQ facilities are available
Over-the-Top Luxury Motel in Kaikoura
Deluxe Queen Studio at Kaikoura Peaks eMotel
Over-the-Top Luxury Motel in Kaikoura

Deluxe Queen Studio at Kaikoura Peaks eMotel

  • > $$$$
  • > 2 Guests
  • > Rustic beach-chic interiors with patios overlooking the mountain or sea views
  • > On the beachfront in North Kaikoura

Staying in a Motel in Kaikoura

For the most part, motels are just a more affordable version of a hotel – they are often smaller, and a little more basic, but with great amenities.

Motels were once typically built alongside roads and highways, perfect for road trippers to get a break from driving. Nowadays, they are designed for you to settle in and have a temporary home away from home while you travel.

Kaikoura township NZ

Rooms in motels can have a full kitchen, or at least a kitchenette, with all the appliances you could need to prepare your own simple meals and snacks. They also have a private bathroom, and include linens and towels for ultimate comfort and convenience.

Motels in Kaikoura have become one of the most popular kinds of places to stay in New Zealand. Instead of being for just a night en route elsewhere, many visitors to Kaikoura are settling into the top motels for an extended time. 

With an influx of tourism, motels have adjusted to the demand and created more comfortable, cozy rooms that are not just convenient but also edging over into luxurious. Today, many of the top spots in Kaikoura are beautifully designed with balconies and patios overlooking ocean or mountain views. 

Along with their in-room facilities, guests can make use of shared amenities like laundry and BBQ facilities, free private parking, and shared gardens.

What to Look For in a Motel in Kaikoura

Not all motels in Kaikoura are created equal. You will find some that have everything and more, and others that have ultimate comfort but fewer private facilities. If there is something in particular you are looking for, be sure to add that to your filtered search.

Though kitchens or kitchenettes are common, they aren’t a standard. Being sure to tick the kitchen box in your search will make sure you are seeing the motels that are best for you.

Those travelling solo, as a couple, or as a family with young children, will be able to find a motel room to suit. There is everything available from economy doubles to one-bedroom studios, and three-bedroom apartments.

If its for a quick stopover, a long weekend or extended stay, the motels in Kaikoura have lots of amenities to make you feel at home like speedy WiFi, laundry facilities, easy parking and central locations.

Start your search with a good browse through these top properties! Should there not be something you like – though its unlikely – is a great next stop.

The Top 15 Motels in Kaikoura

There are beachside motels, motels overlooking the mountains, and totally homey Kaikoura motels that promise a relaxing and comfortable stay. Take a look at these!

Overall Best Value Motel in Kaikoura – Sails Motel

Standard Studio at Sails Motel
  • $
  • 2 Guests
  • TV set and kitchenette
  • Just a short stroll from the beach

Located in Esplanade, just across the road from the beach, Sails Motel is a warm, comfortable place to stay with a nautical feel. All of the rooms in the motel have their own private bathrooms and kitchenettes with a microwave, toaster, and coffee and tea facilities – perfect for feeling right at home while exploring New Zealand.

Places to Visit Nearby:

  • Fyffe House
  • Kaikoura Lookout
  • South Bay Reserve

Spend the morning sipping fairtrade organic coffee on your bedroom patio, and enjoy watching the waves lap against the city’s Esplanade. Sails Motel is a spacious and comfortable spot in the heart of the town, ideal for those who love being beside the sea.

Each room is decorated with a warm color palette and a nautical aesthetic that oozes comfort. With a covered patio and outdoor furniture, when you aren’t out exploring, bask in the views of the sea and horizon.

Best Budget Motel in Kaikoura – Sierra Beachfront Motel

One-Bedroom Apartment at Sierra Beachfront Motel
  • $
  • 2 Guests
  • Private kitchenette and bathroom
  • Free parking

The Sierra Beachfront Motel is an ideal motel in Kaikoura for those on a tighter budget. New Zealand can be pricey, and finding local cheaper places to stay will make your trip more doable.

Luckily, the affordable price hasn’t affected its offerings. It is located on the coastline, just a stone’s throw away from the Pacific Ocean. Only a ten-minute drive to South Bay, and five minutes from the famous Racecourse, you can enjoy the top bits of town without compromising on saving some coin.

There are loads of convenient amenities included at the motel like free parking, a fully equipped kitchen, guest laundry service, and affordable Wi-Fi.

Choose from loads of different types of room to suit you and your group, all at a reasonable cost!

Best Motel for Couples in Kaikoura – Panorama Motel

King Studio at Panorama Motel
  • $$$
  • 2 Guests
  • Garden access and gorgeous sea views
  • Full kitchenette

Begin your day right with stunning views of the Kaikoura Mountains and the Pacific Ocean at this gorgeous Kaikoura motel.

Beautifully decorated and well-located for a romantic trip for two, Panorama Motel is set right on the Esplanade, featuring rooms with private patios and balconies overlooking either the mountains or the sea. 

Off-street parking is available and large enough to fit trailers or boats.

Located towards the more quiet end of town, it is a pet and child friendly spot making it great for families too. Add on a continental breakfast to your stay for something a little more convenient.

Motel for a Group of Friends in Kaikoura – The Anchor Inn Beachfront Motel

Two-Bed Apartment with Ocean View at The Anchor Inn Beachfront Motel
  • $$$
  • 4 Guests
  • Ensuite bathroom with a spa bath
  • Across the street from the sea

Set on the edge of the Pacific with just one road between you and the ocean, The Anchor Inn Beachfront Motel is one of the most unique places to stay in Kaikoura.

The two-bed apartment option is perfect for a group of friends having a beachfront adventure, boasting a balcony with a sea view, private kitchen, and ensuite bathroom.

The private room is spacious and packed with cozy furnishings to lounge and relax when you aren’t out exploring. As well as the TV lounge, there is a private work desk where you can get in a few hours of work before enjoying a magical oceanfront sunset.

Over-the-Top Luxury Motel in Kaikoura – Kaikoura Peaks eMotel

Deluxe Queen Studio at Kaikoura Peaks eMotel
  • $$$$
  • 2 Guests
  • Rustic beach-chic interiors
  • On the beachfront in North Kaikoura

At Kaikoura Peaks eMotel, you can wake up to the magical sounds of birds chirping with natural light flooding through the room.

Designed more like a cozy home than a motel, the style has neutral tones, wicker decor, and warm lighting bringing a natural aesthetic into the space.

Each of the private rooms in the stylish Kaikoura motel has a wardrobe, seating space and kitchenette, private bathroom, TV, and a comfortable, plush bed.

You’ll also have access to your own patio with gorgeous views of the surrounding mountain ranges.

If you have a little bit extra budget, Kaikoura Peaks eMotel will be the dream stay.

Best Motel in Kaikoura for Families – A1 Kaikoura Motel and Holiday Park

Three-Bedroom Suite at A1 Kaikoura Motel and Holiday Park
  • $$$
  • 7 Guests
  • Space for up to seven guests 
  • Private patio with mountain or sea views

Extra space is a must when traveling with young kids! This three-bedroom suite is the best motel in Kaikoura for young families. Not only is it ideally located just five minutes from the main beach, the motel itself has common spaces, including a shared garden, terrace, kitchen, and lounge.

In your private suite, there is a personal kitchen with a full-sized fridge, oven, and stove. Great for preparing snacks and meals to keep the kids happy. There’s also a living room, dining room, and balcony with mountain views.

With space for up to seven guests, a family with kids or group of friends will be super comfortable.

Best Motel in Kaikoura for Backpackers – Dusky Lodge and Backpackers

Dorm Room at Dusky Lodge and Backpackers
  • $
  • 1 Guest
  • Seasonal saltwater pool and Jacuzzi
  • Lots of different room options

Backpacking is all about meeting like-minded travelers and enjoying the company of others. Dusky Lodge and Backpackers is Kaikoura’s largest hostel with a selection of bunk and private rooms to choose from. All of the rooms have heating, bed linens, and towels included. There are three shared kitchens where you can prepare and store your food, as well as a BBQ deck to enjoy on a warm night.

There are all kinds of amenities available for guests like the freshwater spa and saltwater heated pool (open seasonally).

Close to the Kaikoura Trail and shops, you can easily get about on foot and save even more money. New Zealand hostels are iconically amazing, and this one just further proves the theory!

Motel in Kaikoura with the Best Views – Sea View at Alpine View Motel

Two-Bedroom Apartment with Sea View at Alpine View Motel
  • $$
  • 4 Guests
  • Views of the sea and alpine mountains
  • Garden with picnic tables and BBQ

If you’re after some good views, Alpine View Motel in Kaikoura has some of the best. Between the beach and the mountain vistas, the comfortable, simple motel is an idyllic spot to base your adventures.

Each of the rooms is designed with contemporary interiors and fitted with home comforts like a TV, microwave, fridge, and tea and coffee facilities. All of the rooms also have their own bathroom with complimentary toiletries.

Breakfast is available for an extra fee, and you can park for free.

Top All-Inclusive Motel in Kaikoura – Bella Vista Motel Kaikoura

Superior Studio at Bella Vista Motel Kaikoura
  • $$
  • 2 Guests
  • Breakfast available upon request
  • In the city center

There’s no such thing as a fully all-inclusive motel.

As near as damn it is Bella Vista Motel Kaikoura that has loads of amazing amenities. Set in the town center overlooking the sea on one side and the mountains on the other, Bella Vista has a collection of modern studio rooms with great self-catering facilities.

Extra amenities include laundry appliances, a BBQ area, and free off-street parking. Adding something special to this motel in Kaikoura are the cooked and continental breakfast options available upon request.

Best Motel for a Weekend Trip to Kaikoura – Kaikoura Quality Suites

Executive Studio at Kaikoura Quality Suites
  • $
  • 2 Guests
  • Balcony with garden or inner courtyard view
  • BBQ facilities and a lounge area

Those visiting Kaikoura for a quick weekend will want to be based right among the action.

With its modern rooms, sunny terraces, and common spaces, Kaikoura Quality Suites is perfect for lounging near the sea and being a short walk from town.

All of the private rooms have their own basic kitchenette with a microwave, kettle, fridge, and toaster. You can save some money by making your own meals and snacks.

The motel features facilities for disabled guests, plenty of free on-site parking, family-sized rooms, and complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the property. 

Best Motel in Kaikoura for Long-Term Travelers – Bay Cottages

Chalet at Bay Cottages
  • $$
  • 2 Guests
  • Living room with fireplace
  • Personal washing machine and BBQ

On the other end of the spectrum, those wanting to spend a longer time exploring Kaikoura should check out the Bay Cottages. It is located across the peninsula in South Bay, beside the sea.

Each cottage has a spacious, open-plan with a kitchen, dining space, and living area. Perfect for enjoying days lazing around the cottage when you aren’t out around town, you can cuddle up with a book and prepare tasty homemade meals.

Natural light streams through the windows, helping the living room fireplace keep the room toasty warm during winter months. The area around this Kaikoura motel is famous for walkers and hikers, and marks the starting point for the Peninsula Walk.

Best Motel with a Swimming Pool in Kaikoura – Kaikoura Gateway Motor Lodge

Standard Studio at Kaikoura Gateway Motor Lodge
  • $$
  • 2 Guests
  • Big solar-heated outdoor pool
  • Self-catering apartments with mountain or sea views

Swimming pools aren’t exactly a usual amenity in Kaikoura. But, if you’re visiting in the summer months, you’ll agree it’s a lovely extra!

The Kaikoura Gateway Motor Lodge not only has a refreshing swimming pool, it also features modern rooms with warm wooden touches and calming neutral shades.

Each room is equipped with cooking facilities, TVs, and irons, and has either park, mountain, or sea views – some even boast a spa bath in the ensuite bathroom!

Best Motel in Kaikoura for Solo Travelers – Mediterranean Motel Kaikoura

Twin Studio at Mediterranean Motel Kaikoura
  • $$
  • 1 Guest
  • BBQ and free parking
  • Self-catering studios

Looking out over the impressive Kaikoura mountain ranges, Mediterranean Motel Kaikoura is a basic yet comfortable spot on the edge of the town.

While the rooms can fit up to four guests, the motel is perfect for solo travelers thanks to its low price per night.

The rooms are fitted with a plush bed, comfortable linens, and a couch that faces a flat-screen TV for movie nights. There is a private kitchen in each room with a microwave and mini fridge (and access to BBQ facilities) meaning you can prepare your own food without having to venture into town.

This motel in Kaikoura even has complimentary bikes for hire!

Most Traditional Motel in Kaikoura –  Blue Seas Motel

Large Studio at Blue Seas Motel
  • $$
  • 2 Guests
  • Kitchenette and electric blankets
  • Tour desk, BBQ facilities, and laundry

Located along the main Esplanade, right across the road from the beach, Blue Seas Motel is a classic place with spacious studios and multiple-bedroom apartments in a slightly off-the-beaten-track location.

You’ll be just a twenty-minute walk from the town center and all the bars, restaurants, and cafes you might want to check out while in town.

It is one of the best motels in Kaikoura on a budget, with a BBQ and guest laundry facilities, as well as a tour desk on site! Take advantage of the Wi-Fi provided, and ask for a delicious breakfast to be prepared each morning of your stay.

Amazing Luxurious Motel in Kaikoura – Lobster Inn Motor Lodge

Deluxe Queen Studio at Lobster Inn Motor Lodge
  • $$$
  • 3 Guests
  • Facilities for disabled guests
  • On-site bar and restaurant, and room service

The Lobster Inn Motor Lodge is a family-run motel in Kaikoura that is popular among families and couples.

It has modern rooms with self-catering facilities, all just a short distance from the town center and all the worthy attractions in Kaikoura.

Take your pick from studios and deluxe suites, each with a kitchenette. There are even a few one and two-bedroom apartments that would be perfect for families and groups of friends traveling together.

To make it even more convenient, there are amenities included like guest laundry services, unlimited Wi-Fi access, and on-site conference facilities.

Don’t Forget Your Kaikoura Travel Insurance

ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing.

They offer month-to-month payments, no lock-in contracts, and require absolutely no itineraries: that’s the exact kind of insurance long-term travellers and digital nomads need.

SafetyWing is cheap, easy, and admin-free: just sign up lickety-split so you can get back to it!

Click the button below to learn more about SafetyWing’s setup or read our insider review for the full tasty scoop.

Final Thoughts on Motels in Kaikoura

Kaikoura is a small and beautiful place in New Zealand for families, couples, and solo travelers to visit. Luring in a prominent local Kiwi crowd throughout the year, Kaikoura is known for its fishing scene and coastal activities, as well as delicious seafood and a laid-back atmosphere. 

Since the town is so small, finding a great place to stay isn’t hard. Sure, there are few name-hotels and large resorts in the area, but the locally owned B&Bs, guesthouses, and self-catering spots are the ones to choose. 

Among these locally owned ones, you’ll find some of the best motels in Kaikoura, ideal for all visitors on a budget. Motels are a comfortable place to sleep in the heart of the town, usually fitted with self-catering facilities and gorgeous ocean or mountain views.

Don’t forget to pre-purchase a comprehensive travel insurance plan before your trip. While the town is incredibly safe, there is always room for error and injuries, and it is always best to be safe rather than sorry!

And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links. That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!