Kaikoura is a place like nowhere else in the world – where mountains spectacularly meet the sea, magnificent marine and wildlife abounds, and exciting adventures and fascinating Maori and European history await you.
Post-earthquake, since SH1 road reopened in December 2017, the town of Kaikoura has gone from strength to strength with returning visitor numbers. Thank you if you were/are one of those visitors.
It means a lot. We aren’t back to pre-quake visitor numbers just yet, that will take another 12-24 months, but we’re heading in the right direction, which is very encouraging.
Best things to see and do remain getting up close with our locals; sperm whales, blue whales, humpback whales, orca, dusky dolphins, common dolphins, hector dolphins, the NZ fur seal and our wonderful coastal birds like the albatross and Hutton’s shearwater.
You can experience this marine life from a boat, plane, helicopter or by sea kayak.
- New Photography Opportunities
There have been some remarkable changes to the landscape and the foreshore. The seabed has been uplifted between two-five meters in certain areas and this has created new and fascinating discoveries and photo opportunities.
The best place to see the uplifted seabed for photos is along the Kaikoura Esplanade as you make your way towards the Point Kean seal colony (4km from town).
When you get near the Pier Hotel area, at low tide you’ll some amazing cylindrical rock formations. Travel around the corner to Fyffe House and you’ll find some incredible whitish looking rock formations which are great for photos.
To view the enormity of the uplifted seabed, when you get to the Point Kean seal colony carpark, walk three minutes uphill to the viewing areas. The new seabed is astonishing and has become the newest, best, MUST DO thing to do in Kaikoura.
At low tide you can now walk out 1km towards the ocean. There are two seal colonies on this part of the seabed.
At the left side of the carpark is the ‘retirement village’ where older seals lie and enjoy being fat and lazy. Towards the right-hand side of the rocks across the channel on the new uplifted seabed is the new ‘teenage hangout’ for young seals.
If you have the time, we highly recommend you doing the one-hour one-way Kaikoura Peninsula Walk to South Bay. As you make your way across the ridge you’ll see more examples of where the seabed has lifted.
Walk thirty minutes along the top of the ridge and then take the stairs to the lower coastal track to Whalers Bay. On the lower track you’ll see coastal birds and more seals as you walk back to Point Kean.
Don’t forget to drive around to the South Bay Reserve and walk back up the Peninsula track for another 30 minutes.
Again, you’ll see astounding new formations in the seabed and may spot a few kayakers and stand-up paddleboarders as well. To get really up close to see the remarkable new foreshore and seals, consider doing a sea kayak trip. You won’t regret it.
- What’s State Highway 1 Road Like Post-earthquake?
If you’ve travelled the road before, you’ll see some great changes along the coastline and foreshore and lots of improvements to the road and bridges.
There will be ongoing roadworks throughout 2018 so we recommend you allow 5 ½ hours travel time for your journey.
Due to roadworks there is NO FREEDOM CAMPING and there are limited areas to pullover to take photos. Please drive to the conditions.
Locals and tourism operators are hearing positive stories from drivers about how much better shape the SH1 road is in than expected and how much improved the road is. In the future, there will be dedicated pull-over areas for photos and hopefully a new seal viewing north of the original Ohau Point seal viewing area.
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