The seaside settlement of Kaikoura, lies on the East Coast’s Kaikoura Peninsula, which flows into the Pacific Ocean. The township offers magnificent scenery, and boasts great marine attractions and adventurous activities. For hundreds of years, the Peninsula was a stronghold for the Maori people, due to a large supply of seafood. Today this abundance of seafood provides a source of exportation to many overseas markets. The town’s name means ‘crayfish food’ and many stalls selling the delicacy are visible on State Highway one. A rugged coastline dominates the area with the Kaikoura mountain range forming a stunning scenic backdrop to the region.
Kaikoura is an important wildlife habitat for fur seals, birds and marine life, which continually attract visitors to the South Island each year. The Peninsula’s tip provides the opportunity to view seals basking on the rocks, while numerous dolphin and whale watch attractions operate, including helicopter flights. Visitors can swim with the dolphins, or alternatively see some of the world’s largest seagoing birds, the albatross and mollymawk. Numerous adventures await tourists arrival back on land including 4-wheel motorbiking, cave tours, horse trekking, skiing and scenic mountain flights. The Kaikoura Peninsula walkway is the most popular half-day track in New Zealand and provides access to several fur seal colonies. Other walks in the area cater to all fitness levels and range from 30 minutes to half and full day treks. Surfing is a popular water activity and many indulge in the sport, either for competition or leisure, at world renowned Mangamaunu beach and Puketa beach.
Kaikoura is home to archaeological remains indicating that Moa Hunters and Maori settlers inhabited the area, while artists and craftspeople incorporate local creativity into streetside murals and colourful designs.
The small resort township also portrays a festive nature and celebrates an annual ocean festival in October, known as the Kaikoura Seafest. The ocean extravaganza provides an interesting array of tastes, sights and sounds and is fast becoming one of the most premier festivals in New Zealand.