Kaikoura (Maori for seafood) is a seaside town of 4000 which has become a favoured place for visitors seeking a marine wild life encounter. You can swim with dolphins, watch whales from a boat or get close to an albatross or a seal on the beach. Take your pick of the Kaikoura based commercial tours or independently walk on the Peninsula, on the slopes of Mount Fyffe, or on nearby beaches.
Some beaches also provide excellent surfing and diving opportunities.
Do not miss the audio visual show at the Information Centre ($3.00). It explains why Kaikoura is such a remarkable place in the marine world. Scholars and students of marine ecology from around the globe visit here for these reasons. Gain an insight into Maori culture,spirituality, values and way of life by taking the Maori Tour. A local community group has proposed an integrated use of a number of marine protection and fisheries mechanisms to manage coastal and marine resources. In order to sustain the marine environment sanctuaries are proposed for whales and fur seals and reserves planned to encompass commercial, recreational and non-fishing areas.
South Island Iwi Ngai Tahu have always populated Kaikoura, thanks to it's plentiful marine resources, nowadays tapping into the tourist trade by operating tourism activities in the area.
A major earthquake (Magnitude 7.8) hit Kaikoura on the 14 November 2016 cutting the main road and rail access to the north and south. A concerted effort to repair the State Highway and railway which were subject to major land slides has a billion dollar repair bill. The rail link was reinstated for limited traffic in August 2017 reducing significantly the heavy transport road traffic on the inland route to Picton then reinstatement of the State Highway was completed in 2018.