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Few places in the world can boast of such natural wonders as those offered by land and sea in Kaikōura.
Kaikōura is the northern-most district within the Canterbury region and is easily accessible with a 2.5hr drive from Christchurch. To the North is the port of Picton just 2hrs drive, where you can catch the ferry across to Wellington. It has a population of approx 4,500 residents.
Kaikōura translates to ‘crayfish’ in Māori and is known as the crayfish capital.
In 1770 Captain Cook first discovered the Kaikoura peninsula, believing it to be an island. The first shore whaling station was established in 1843, located near where Fyffe House still stands today. Other whaling stations soon followed, and at one stage the industry employed over one hundred men in the Kaikoura district alone. Whale numbers steadily declined after 1850 and the exportation of them became un-economic, leading whalers to turn to alternative means of existence, such as farming. Whaling continued sporadically until as recently as 1964 when the last of NZ’ s whaling operations ceased.
Today, the emphasis in Kaikoura is the conservation of marine life, working with a sustainable tourist industry which allows visitors from all over the world to appreciate life in the ocean. In 1978, the Marine Mammal Protection Act was finally passed, providing total protection to New Zealand’ s whales, dolphins and seals. Kaikoura lies within the Southern Hemisphere Whale Sanctuary.