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It is an amazing fact that a million tourists visit the town of just a few thousand residents every year to get up-close to seabirds, watch whales and swim with dolphins. Of course this town is the legendary Kaikoura - it offers the ultimate nature experience. What you might not realise is that one of the best ways to explore Kaikoura is by venturing out on one of the many scenic hiking tracks that scatter the region. Here we will discuss some of the ‘must-do’ hikes in Kaikoura, be sure to spend a few days off the beaten track to really experience the wilderness and beauty of Kaikoura and The South Island of New Zealand.
The Kaikoura Coast track
The Kaikoura Coast track has been voted one of the best hiking tracks in New Zealand and for good reason too. This private walk is completed over a period of three days with a team of experienced guides to lead the way. Each day you will walk for approximately 5 hours and a complete a total of 13km. You will encounter a variety of different scenes along the way, as well as enjoying luxury accommodation.
During the first leg of the trip you will have the opportunity to view rigid cliff faces, 8000 year old tree stumps, fossils and tremendous coastal views. Day two has the team hiking up through Medina into the Hawkswood Range to Mount Wilson. It’s at this point you have views of both The Banks Peninsula and the Southern Alps. Day 3 consists of forestry slopes to Buntings Bush stream. Here the group will follow the bush-filled valley to the top of the Hawkswood Range. Spectacular views of the Seaward Kaikoura Mountains and the ocean can be witnessed here.
This is a truly beautiful hike that includes meals, a luggage carry service and accommodation. A great option for those who want to see the sights without leaving life's little luxuries behind. This hike can be completed by those with an average fitness level and children over 12 are welcome to join in.
The Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway
For those in search of a shorter hike, or are opting to take children along, the Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway provides easy access to explore the Kaikoura Peninsula. This hike can be completed with one moderate full day trip and the walkway is accessible for wheelchairs and prams. It is a self-guided track but there is information panels that are scattered through the track making for an informative and unique short hike.
Kaikoura Mountain Hikes
There are two popular Kaikoura Mountain hikes, one of which is at Mount Fyffe. From the summit this trip offers stunning views of Banks Peninsula and on a clear day views of the North Island. The hike takes about 8 hours to complete on a return trip with minimal stops and a brisk pace. If you wish to make the journey a little slower, there is also hut accommodation which can break the hike into a 2 day trip. Use of the huts must be granted by the Department of Conservation.
The second is the Kowhai - Hapuka Circuit. This 2 or 3 day tramping trip takes you over the rugged Kowhai Saddle and through typical Kaikoura Mountain Country. This trail is classed as a route so in some places it is unmarked - taking a map is advisable. This trail is best completed during the summer months as the alpine weather conditions can be unpredictable so caution should be taken.
There are many more hikes around Kaikoura to explore, each with unique features and sights. Always remember to inform someone about your whereabouts and return times, and be sure to check The Department of Conservation website for warnings and further information.
Receive 10% off guided walks and heli-treks with Walks Kaikoura by becoming a TOP 10 Club Member. For more information and great accommodation options visit TOP 10 Holiday Park Kaikoura.
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