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REAL insight into MĀori life...

Join us as we share more than 800 years of
unbroken family history & tradition in Kaikōura


Rich in natural & cultural history…


Kaikoura  is  on the East Coast of New Zealand’s South Island – about midway between Picton and Christchurch.

The township is sited on a peninsula that juts from the Seaward Kaikoura Ranges and these snow-clad mountains serve as a dramatic backdrop for the picturesque seaside village and it’s rugged beaches.  The mountains rise to heights of over 2,600 metres and under the sea are canyons and trenches that plunge to depths of 1,000 metres very close to shore.

This is a place where man can feel insignificant in the presence of nature’s wonders.

On 14 November 2016 Kaikoura had a magnitude 7.8 earthquake and it altered the landscape, and some say the people, forever.  The quake uplifted areas of the East Coast from just north of Oaro  which is south of Kaikoura by twenty minutes.  Some parts of the coast were lifted more than six metres and the powerful movement beneath us also caused major damage to the things we’ve built on the land, especially the roads and railway line into Kaikoura.  Rebuilding this lasted five years and now the road is much improved with many rest areas for you to visit.

There are many places to stop and admire the magnificent vista as well as works of art that speak to the Maori history, occupation and tradtions in the area.  We think it is one of only a few places in the world where indigenous people have such a strong and visible narrative.

So take your time getting here and soak in the mauri (essence) of what is Kaikoura.

For up to date information on travel, Kaikoura activities and accommodation, please visit to www.kaikoura.co.nz .

Maori Occupation

Hidden in the beauty of today’s landscape are many relics of the past and stories waiting to be told. Maori people have inhabited the Kaikoura area for 800 to 900 years.

One of the earliest names for Kaikoura was ‘Te Koha o Marokura’ (The gift of Marokura).  Marokura was the God who shaped the underwater trenches and canyons, thus carving out a home for the many whales, dolphins and other sea life living here today.

Things to do and see

Kaikoura is home to a host of multi award winning and not to be missed visitor experiences so plan to stay a while.

World renowned for the variety of marine life in our waters – Fur Seals, Dolphins and an impressive variety of Sea Birds including albatross.  Most widely known for being one of only a few places in the world where you can view whales all year round.  A resident pod of sperm whales is just a short boat ride away and from time to time other species of whale are in the area too; or you can take a leisurely sea kayaking trip around the Kaikoura peninsula where you can almost be guaranteed to see the New Zealand Fur Seal.

It’s not just on the water where you have the Kaikoura experience; there’s a whole range of activities on the land or in the air.  Check out whale watching by fixed wing aircraft or helicopter, horse trekking, farm tours and four wheel farm bike tours. If you like a bit of adventure then consider piloting a plane or for something more relaxed stroll along the beachfront or into one of Kaikoura’s many forest walkways.  And speaking of walks, you ought to check out the Wilderness Walks and Kaikoura coastal track 2-3 day walks – not as well known as many of NZ’s great walks, but no less beautiful.

A pleasant half or full day can be spent visiting local artists and don’t forget to drop in on the lavender farm where you can purchase gorgeous lavender products and maybe end the day with a meal at Donegal House – an Irish pub in the middle of what was the proprietor Murray Boyd’s dairy farm.  He and many of the non Maori families in Kaikoura have a rich Irish ancestry.

Kaikoura boasts a wonderful choice of restaurants and cafes and most serve the local delicacy Crayfish (lobster).  Try the world famous Kaikoura Seafood BBQ, or you may prefer to cook your own seafood having caught it earlier on one of the many fishing charter tours available.

For more information on what Kaikoura has to offer www.kaikoura.co.nz

Getting there

Driving –
Check http://www.nzta.govt.nz/traffic/ for up to date information.
Generally you will need a minimum of 2.5 hours if travelling from Christchurch.

Coach & Shuttle –
Daily departures from Christchurch.  Check www.kaikoura.co.nz for more details and for information regarding travel from north or west of Kaikoura.

Train –
Summer departures are available and one of the nicest ways to journey to Kaikoura.

The friendly and helpful team at the Kaikoura I-SITE Visitor centre have up to date timetables and can make bookings for you so email them info@kaikoura.co.nz for help.