Astonishing Nature and Energy
Kaikoura is located 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.
Maori Occupation of Kaikoura
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 area for the last 800 to 900 years resulting in a rich history and culture.
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.
Stay a While
We think you should stay for a WEEK to fully appreciate all Kaikoura has to offer. If you don't have enough time and can only manage 2-3 days prepare to be busy as Kaikoura is home to many multi award winning and not to be missed visitor experiences.
Our sometimes sleepy village is world renowned for the huge variety of marine life in our waters - Fur Seals, Dolphins and an impressive variety of Sea Birds including albatross, provide visitors with a range of marine experiences, and it's one of only a few places in the world where you can view whales all year round.
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.
Kaikoura boasts a wonderful choice of restaurants and cafes and most serve the local delicacy Crayfish (lobster), or you may prefer to cook your own seafood having caught it earlier on one of the many fishing charter tours available, or pop down to the Kaikoura Seafood BBQ and sample their simple menu of a huge range of freshly cooked seafood right on the foreshore. And if the skies overhead are clear, a must do is the night time tour to view the magnificent night skies over Kaikoura. Our links page provides you with many options.
Driving - Allow 2.5 hours from either Picton or Christchurch and 2 hours if you are travelling from Hanmer Springs. Contact us if you require driving times from elsewhere.
- Coach & Shuttle - Daily departures from Christchurch, Blenheim and Picton.
- A Shuttle service operates from Hanmer Springs - frequency variable depending on the time of year.
- Train - Schedule varies throughout the year - departs Christchurch for Picton passing through Kaikoura mid morning. The train journey is a particularly pleasant way to enjoy the Kaikoura coastline as it weaves it's way into the township.
Kaikoura offers a variety of accommodation and you can find something to suit most budgets. We recommend booking in advance to avoid disappointment. For more specific information on accommodation and activities in Kaikoura, we suggest you check out our links page or visit: www.kaikoura.co.nz