On a rocky peninsula near the northeastern tip of New Zealand's South Island is the rugged and eco-friendly community of Kaikoura. With its spectacular scenery, abundant wildlife and its reputation as a leader in sustainable development, it is no surprise that this beautiful seaside town is such a popular destination for eco travelers. Towards the inland the towering mountain escarpment of the Seaward Kaikoura Range cloaks the peninsula and offers a protected habitat for a diverse range of wildlife. Off the coast, the cool waters of the Pacific Ocean provide an ideal environment for sea birds and aquatic animals, including marine mammals.
Once a colonial whaling town, the district's past is a far cry from its modern-day environmental focus.
This unique and inspired community is the only district in New Zealand and the second in the world to earn Earthcheck global tourism certification as part of the United Nations Action for climate change – a commendable achievement. Located just 2 1/2 hours north of Christchurch, the Kaikoura district is at the forefront of sustainability and with centrally located accommodation available. It is an easy choice for travelers in search of a coastal eco-tourism adventure.
Enter Kaikoura and you will see all around you how sustainable development is part of everyday life. From recycling and zero waste initiatives to energy efficiency and environmental products, the Kaikoura community has introduced a wide range of local programs to protect the natural environment and to ensure sustainable economic growth for future generations. The Fantastic No Plastic initiative, for example, encourages locals and visitors alike to purchase reusable shopping bags and say 'no' to plastic. As part of the annual Trash to Fashion competition locals are invited to design fashion pieces from recycled and sustainable materials. These creations are on display and listed for sale at the local museum. Why not reduce your carbon footprint and leave a lasting impression by purchasing a plant for the Trees for Travelers program? 80 per cent of the region's trees were lost after settlement, but with Tree for Travelers you can make a personal contribution to Kaikoura's sustainable future.
For nature lovers, the rich marine environment with its diverse flora and fauna is without doubt the centerpiece of the Kaikoura eco-tourism experience. Witness the giant Sperm Whales that inhabit Kaikoura's coastal waters all year round. Get up close with Humpback, Blue, Pilot and Southern Right whales as they migrate along the coast. Swim with the fur seals and watch the local dusky dolphins as they perform their acrobatic displays. Or travel by boat to deeper waters and see the immense beauty of the Great Albatross along with petrels and shearwaters. The nutrient rich coastal waters of Kaikoura are home to the most diverse range of sea birds New Zealand has to offer and are a premier destination for bird watchers and marine enthusiasts alike.
Kaikoura is a wilderness region where conservation and tourism work hand in hand to deliver a unique travel experience. Be inspired by the pristine natural beauty and sustainable community of Kaikoura.