"Kaikoura ~ 'To Eat Crayfish'" Kaikoura by allikat

Kaikoura Travel Guide: 210 reviews and 699 photos

Crayfish, Paua, Mussels, Kina.....

Kaikoura is a Maori placename, which means 'to eat crayfish' (which, by the way, is a rock lobster). But its older name was Te taumanu o te waka a Maui, and supposedly refers to the fact that this is the place, according to Maori legend, that Aotearoa's North Island was fished up from the ocean by the great navigator Maui.

There is heaps to do in Kaikoura, it has beaches, shops, cafes, and a dramatic mountain range that sweeps down to the waters edge, after which it continues downwards to the incredible depths of Kaikouras ocean trench. This encourages the marine life that attracts the whales to Kaikoura, for which it has become world famous, and there are several companies offering whale watch flights and boat trips. Unfortunately funds have so far prevented me from experiencing these for myself, so I can't comment on them, except to say I hear its a fantastic sight to behold, and the chance of seeing a whale is high.

However, I can comment on the food! Kaikoura, and the surrounding bays, are filled with an abundance of seafood, and offer great diving and fishing. (But please remember, DON'T take more fish, crayfish or paua than the quota and don't take undersized fish. Details can be obtained from the Kaikoura Marine & Coastal Protection Society). And if you can't catch your own delicious seafood, there are several roadside places selling the freshest selection of greenshell mussells and crayfish imaginable!


Mountains and beaches ~ the perfect combination!

This is a picture of the Kaikoura ranges, which sweep down to the ocean floor. They dominate the skyline for many miles, and spend a fair part of the year snow capped. They offer good hiking opportunities, including lots of low level walks through native bush.

Shortly after moving to New Zealand I spent some time at Goose Bay, south of Kaikoura. One day in particular I hiked up into the hills behind the Bay, following a stream and scrambling over rocks and through bush, before coming to a deep, icy cold swimming hole. It was scorchingly hot weather, and the water made you gasp for breath. It was a wonderful day in a very special place.

This picture was taken from the Penninsula Walkway, an easy and well signposted walking track above the Kaikoura Penninsula, starting from the seal colony carpark. It gives good views of the township with its mountain backdrop, as well as of the tidal rock flats, shown here.

The cliff edge drops away quite sharply, so care should be taken near the edge.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Dramatic mountains and beaches ~ and great food!
  • Cons:Quite touristy.
  • In a nutshell:The busy area's are easily avoided in favour of the wilderness of New Zealand
  • Last visit to Kaikoura: Jan 2004
  • Intro Updated Jun 22, 2006
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