Kaikoura Secrets

The town of whales and seals has some special places you may wish to experience after you visit to the whales.

Kaikoura - A Local Tells Us Their Secrets

How many times have you visited an area and really taken the opportunity to gab with one of the locals for an insight as to what the place is all about?

I was extremely lucky to be directed to Maurice Manawatu who owns and runs the Maori Tours with his wife Heather. Maurice has roots in the area back to his great-great-great grandfather. He is a very personable person and after a few minutes you just sit and listen to the tales. One has a feeling of being with someone who truly enjoys sharing time with you.

“So, Maurice,” I asked after sitting spell-bound for quite a length of time, “How about sharing some of the secrets of Kaikoura with us?”

With a wide grin and a sparkle in his eyes he responded laughing, “You mean where can you get a feed of paua and crayfish in knee deep water? Can’t do that or I would get run out of town.”
“I wouldn’t be allowed back in if I wrote that in the magazine either,” I answered.
“How about a story or two about a past resident or a special place the locals know about that isn’t common knowledge.”

Here is what I was told and will pass it on so you too will have something special to think about when you visit Kaikoura:

The story of Barney’s Rock -
It seems a fellow by the name of Barney Riley opened a whaling station back in the 1800’s. Now Barney, it seems, enjoyed a drink or two or three and his missus wasn’t easy to live with when he had one too many so Barney would get in his row boat and head out to a certain rock where he would curl up for the night and sleep returning the next morning to work. Must have been some numbing booze. Locals still think of Barney when they see the rock.

The Ole’ Swimmin” Hole -
North of Kaikoura off St Hgwy 1, after turning away from the coast for a few kilometres, is a place known as Stagin’s Spay where the river widens into a very large swimming hole only the locals frequent. If you get in good with a Kaikoura local you might be given an invite to enjoy this hidden swimmin’ hole.

Ohau Point Waterfall -
North of town is a signposted ten minute walk to a tremendous waterfall. What is not known is, in season, mama seals take their pups there. Can you imagine seeing a
pool full of seal pups under a waterfall? It is so enjoyable to see the seals playing in the waterfall pool. One of my most enjoyable experiences.

The Hutton Shearwater -
There are only two nesting colonies in the world high on isolated mountain slopes west of Kaikoura. Locals have begun a program to establish a new colony at the tip of the Kaikoura Peninsula so they may be fully protected.

You know what? I still don’t know where to go to get the paua and crayfish! I’ll have top work on that.

For more information see the New Zealand Travel Guide -

Ron's New Zealand Travel Guide