Adventure of the Week: The Kaikoura Coast Track
Walking in New Zealand was one of the things that inspired the creation of Macs Adventure in the first place, so it has been a pleasure to launch trips there this year and watch them take off. While New Zealand is famed for its Great Hikes, we wanted to showcase some of the lesser known parts of the islands, parts which don't make it into the pantheon of the 'Great Hikes' title, but which are utterly outstanding, but just a little quieter. One of these is the remarkable Kaikoura Coast Track.
In a Nutshell:
Where: The start of the trek is located two hours north of Christchurch, in the northern part of the South Island of New Zealand. This is an exclusive little trek, where only 10 people are given permission to walk every day, so you can experience a hidden slice of New Zealand beauty and have it more or less to yourself.
Distance: A mere 24km! 'Why, this is nothing to we hardened walkers,' I hear you cry, but this is only a short break trip, so you will just be walking this distance over two days, nicely split at 12km per day.
Grade: We have graded this trip Easy to Moderate. While the distances are not too great, there is a little ascent (200m on the first day and 450m on the second) which means you have to have a little walking fitness about you.
ou will be walking mainly on beaches, coastal paths, open farmland and through native bush. The terrain can be uneven at times but is usually smooth.
Why Walk Here?
While this trip is only a short break, it is an area well worth discovering as part of your longer trip to New Zealand. Its exclusivity is a real bonus, meaning that you get to experience a wild part of New Zealand that few others get to. This track was developed by three farming families who owned the land and wanted to share a piece of heaven with the rest of the world, but wanted to restrict the numbers to conserve the path, but also to let people experience this area the way it was intended, surrounded by tranquility.
Tranquillity, however, is not the only thing that you will be surrounded by. One of the joys of the route is the incredible scenery. The route is framed by the Kaikoura Seaward Mountains, their sharp peaks jutting up into the blue skies. This is complemented by the deep green fields and gulleys you walk through and the drama of the steep cliffs and black-sand beaches. A visual feast!
There is also a lot of wildlife on this coast and being that it is so untainted by humanity, you will find the wildlife a little more curious and friendly than normal. Dolphins and whales are regular visitors to this stretch of coast and if you are lucky, you will see them display their acrobatic skills. Seals bask on the rocks and are reasonably approachable (though don't try to hug them!) and the route is packed with birdlife, with fantails and grey warblers adding to the natural soundtrack of your trek.
You stay in a lovely little beach house and a cottage on a working farm for your two nights on the trip, welcomed and looked after by your hosts at every turn. They are a comfortable and relaxing way to enjoy the area and learn more about the people who live and work on the coast.
Planning and Preparation
The Kaikoura Coast Track is fairly simple to get to. If you are flying into Christchurch you can get to the start of the track in 2 hours driving. Or there is a local bus which will take around 3 hours.
If you have any questions about the route, don't hesitate to contact one of our Destination Specialists, who will be more than happy to help.