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 has altered our landscape forever. The quake uplifted areas of the East Coast of the upper South Island and the degree of uplift varies along the coastline. What we know is we have the newest land and beaches in the country, maybe even the world.
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. Travelling in and out of Kaikoura takes longer now, especially if you are coming from the North. The main highway between Kaikoura and Picton is closed each night. It pays to check the road status before travelling as slips sometimes happen; resulting in road closure through the day as well.
Please visit to www.kaikoura.co.nz for up to date information on travel.
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 many 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.
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 star gazing tour.
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
Check http://www.nzta.govt.nz/traffic/ for up to date information.
Generally you will need a minimum of 3 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.
Suspended until the rail line is re-built following the damage incurred through the Kaikoura Nov 2016 earthquake.
We can’t wait for this journey to start up again as it is a particularly pleasant way to enjoy the Kaikoura coastline as it weaves it’s way into the township.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org for help.