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April 10, 2013

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Kaikoura – There’s lots to sea

 As the visitor information says:  The seaside settlement of Kaikoura, situated midway between Christchurch and Picton on the rugged east coast of New Zealand’s South Island, is overlooked by majestic mountains, which are snow-capped for many months of the year.  Few places in the world can boast of such natural wonders as those offered by land and sea in Kaikoura.  This unique combination of ocean and mountains offers stunning coastal alpine scenery and a host of eco-tourism oriented activities, including whale watching, dolphin swimming, walks, and much more!

Looking south at the coastal hills - the big mountains were behind me

Looking south at the coastal hills – the big mountains were behind me

We took a day-trip from Christchurch, although a long weekend would have been a much better idea!  The road from Christchurch gets progressively more curvy as you get closer to this seaside town, and passes through a number of short tunnels along the rugged coastline (which the kids just loved).  The mountains drop straight into the Pacific Ocean, into an area called the Kaikoura Canyon. The canyon extends northeast to join the Hikurangi Trough, which in turn connects with the Kermadec Trench, one of the deepest spots on earth (10,047 m at it’s deepest point, or 32,963 ft).

Simply put, Kaikoura is an ideal place for a wildlife nursery – hence the abundance of baby whales, dolphins and seals.

There are over 20 seals in this sea shore photo

There are over 20 seals in this sea shore photo

Not the most common driving hazard to watch out for - Seals!!

Not the most common driving hazard to watch out for – Seals!!

Our daughter checking out the tidal pools for anything to "discover"

Our daughter checking out the tidal pools for anything to “discover”

Here's a bashful seal pup we encountered on the short 10 min walk to the Ohau Stream Seals.

Here’s a bashful seal pup we encountered on the short 10 min walk to the Ohau Stream Seals.

Dad’s Recommendation:
Sometimes a day trip just isn’t enough time … so make sure the preparation and total driving time still allows for a suitably long visit at your destination.  If you want to see the whales, AND the dolphins, AND the seals, AND do some walks, AND check out the shops in Kaikoura township, plan on spending a weekend!

1 Comment Post a comment
  1. Sally Swift
    Apr 11 2013

    A must for my next visit….HA !

    Reply

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