. . . the meeting place.
Few places in the world can boast of such natural
wonders as those offered by land and sea in Kaikoura
The seaside settlement of Kaikoura, situated midway
between Christchurch and Picton on the rugged east
coast of New Zealand's South Island, is overlooked
by majestic mountains, which are snow-capped for
many months of the year.This unique combination
of ocean and mountains offers stunning coastal alpine
scenery and a host of eco-tourism oriented activities,
including Whale watching, Dolphin swimming, walks,
and much more!Whether you are looking for relaxation,
nature, excitement, art, history and culture, or
fine wines and cuisine, Kaikoura offers it all.
Accommodation is extensive, ranging from backpackers
and holiday parks to bed & breakfast, motels
With a population of approximately 3,200 residents,
the Kaikoura township is located on a rocky peninsula,
protruding from lush farmland beneath the mountains.
In the waters off the peninsula, a complex marine
system provides an abundantly rich habitat for marine
mammals and seabirds making it an ideal place for
getting 'close to nature'.
town with it's own fasinating history, archaeological
remains indicate that Moa Hunters inhabited the
peninsula 900 years ago. In Maori legend, Maui placed
his foot on the Kaikoura peninsula to steady himself
while he 'fished-up' the North Island. The Maori
name Kaikoura translates to 'meal of crayfish' (Kai
- food, koura - crayfish), and it is crayfish for
which the region has traditionally been famous.
The area's abundant food sources attracted Maori
settlement, and the remains of several pa sites
can still seen on the peninsula to this day.
1770 Captain Cook first discovered the Kaikoura
peninsula, believing it to be an island. The first
shore whaling station was established in 1843, located
near where Fyffe House still stands today. Other
whaling stations soon followed, and at one stage
the industry employed over one hundred men in the
Kaikoura district alone. Whale numbers steadily
declined after 1850 and the exportation of them
became un-economic, leading whalers to turn to alternative
means of existence, such as farming. Whaling continued
sporadically until as recently as 1964 when the
last of NZ' s whaling operations ceased.
the emphasis in Kaikoura is the conservation of
marine life, working with a sustainable tourist
industry which allows visitors from all over the
world to appreciate life in the ocean. In 1978,
the Marine Mammal Protection Act was finally passed,
providing total protection to New Zealand' s whales,
dolphins and seals. Kaikoura lies within the Southern
Hemisphere Whale Sanctuary.
different species of whale can be seen off Kaikoura
at different times of the year, but almost always
the huge Sperm Whales. Flukes lifting clear at the
start of the deep dive, adolescent male Sperm Whales
enjoy the rich diet of the Kaikoura waters while
building up their strength to move to the mating
grounds of the warm north. Regularly diving to depths
of one kilometre, Sperm Whales have been known to
dive to 3 kilometres, holding their breath for up
to two hours - perhaps gulping down a few groper
or wrestling with a giant squid.
clean sharp fin of the Orca is often sighted in
Kaikoura, and schools of Pilot Whales are occasional
visitors. And everywhere the fun loving Dusky Dolphin.
Fur seals, once almost hunted to extinction are
now plentiful here, resting on warm rocks after
a nights fishing. Seabirds, also enjoying the rich
sea harvest, are abundant.
is part of the popular Alpine Pacific Triangle,
a touring route which links it with the Hurunui