"Hike the Kaikoura Coast at Low Tide" New Zealand Things to Do Tip by AKtravelers

New Zealand Things to Do: 1,195 reviews and 1,690 photos

  You can't help but hike close to seals
by AKtravelers

One of the best day tramps in New Zealand is a walk along the Kaikoura Peninsula Coast, but it has to be done at low tide. The areas near the hike's beginning and end are underwater at high tide, making the walk less appealing (unless you're a seal). We started at the Cliff Walk's north car park, but instead of climbing to do the cliff trail we went left and descended to the sea shore, which is mostly flat limestone rock at this point. About mid hike, there are switchbacks leading up to the Cliff Walk that can be your escape route if you get caught by the tide at either end, just as we did.
Unfortunately for us, low tide on the one day we were in Kaikoura was at 6:30 a.m. and, since we like our vacations to be actual vacations, were were not about to get on the trail that early. We started at 8:30 hoping that we would have enough time to complete the trek, but by the time we neared the south car park, the tide was very high and the only narrow passage ways were blocked by seals (something like the photo here). We ended up having to retrace some steps and return via the swithbacks, which was fine with us -- it was a beautiful hike both ways. We saw lots of seals and seabirds, and had great coastal views.
There will eventually be a travelogue on the entirety of this hike.

Review Helpfulness: 4 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Mar 4, 2006
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