Kaikōura Pocket Guide #1
Home to some of the most abundant marine life found off the coast of New Zealand and hard-to-beat landscapes made up of steep mountains reaching to the sky right beside the Pacific Ocean, Kaikōura is a true natural wonderland.
Recent years have seen Kaikōura go through some true hardships, especially so in the aftermath of the 2016 earthquake, which was the largest recorded seismic event in New Zealand. The Kaikōura earthquake left access to and from the town cut off for weeks, and slowed down for months, and saw the coastline go through unforeseen changes.
Though times have been tough here on the South Island’s east coast, the people of Kaikōura have found the resilience to move forward and create new ways to bring life to their much-loved home base. They’ve learnt to roll with what Mother Nature throws their way and carry on. Made up of a tight-knit community, the residents of Kaikōura are real doers. Most of the business owners have multiple ventures on the go at once, are invested in their town and love it with passion.
These days the Kaikōura township is home to a number of interesting cafés and restaurants, many of which celebrate the local hunter-gatherer culture. It’s constantly evolving and attracting more visitors day by day. New and renewed retail outlets strive to match the offerings of bigger cities, and both land and sea-based activities are aplenty.
The coastal highway, which snakes both south and north of Kaikōura, has gone through an enormous re-development and now boasts stunning, culturally significant artworks along with generous stop-in-bays where you can take in both the artworks and the beauty of the coastline, and the seals laze on the rocks within their colonies just meters away.
Blessed with stunning scenery, world-famous for the varied marine life, rich in delicacies such as crayfish and other seafood, and home to some of the best surf on the South Island, it's not wonder Kaikōura is a favourite holiday destination for both New Zealanders and visitors alike.