Kaikoura Tourist Attractions
The little town of Kaikoura lies on the northeast coast of the South Island at the foot of the Seaward Kaikoura Range (2600m), just north of the rocky Kaikoura Peninsula, which is famed for its seal colony.The Maori name Kaikoura (eating crayfish) is a reference to the rich crayfish fishing grounds that were much prized by the Maoris. In the 19th C. whaling also made a major contribution to the economy of the town. There are still a few relics of the old whaling stations in the form of whalebones (e.g. in the Garden of Memories).On the rocks at the end of Kaikoura Island is a colony of several hundred seals with some yellow-eyed penguins. They do not appear to have any fear of humans. A trip on a boat will yield sightings, from an appropriate distance, of not just seals but also of black and Hector's dolphins, sperm whales, and albatrosses with wingspans of over 3m.
Maori Meeting House
Near the hospital is the Takahara Marae (assembly place), which has been given a new lease of life by the construction of a modern Maori meeting house. From the little Maori cemetery there is a good view of the mountains across the bay. The old Maori pa was taken in 1828 by Te Rauparaha, the warlike chief from the North Island. From here it is a short distance to the Kaikoura Lookout.
Maori Leap Cave
3km south of Kaikoura is the Maori Leap Cave, a karstic sea cave hollowed out by the surf with fine stalactite formations and in which large numbers of bird and seal skeletons were found.Guided tours by arrangement through the local visitor center.