Kaikoura is a town on the east coast of the South Island of New Zealand. It is located a two and a half hour drive north from Christchurch on State Highway 1. The drive features amazing coastal views, but it is what awaits you at your destination which is the real adventure for sea lovers. Kaikoura is one of the gems in New Zealand’s tourism crown for the remarkable array of marine life which makes its home or passes through there, particularly rare and endangered whales and dolphins. Whale watching is one of leading attractions in Kaikoura.
Whales can be seen year round, by boat and by scenic flight. The Giant Sperm Whale makes a year round home in Kaikoura and over the winter months, Humpback whales are frequently sighted. Some people are also lucky enough to see rarer Minke, Pygmy Sperm, Southern Right and Beaked Whale. There are also many other marine creatures to be seen including orca, both Dusky and Hectors Dolphins, and fur seals. The rich marine life also attracts a wide range of sea birds including the giant Royal Albatross. This marine life also makes Kaikoura one of New Zealand’s premiere fishing destinations.
What makes Kaikoura such a mecca for marine life and thus commercial and sport fishers? Its hidden secret lies deep under the waves off shore where two strong sea currents converge in the 2km deep Kaikoura Canyon and draw huge quantities of plant and animal nutrients to the surface in a great upwelling. This upwelling combined with deep water so close to shore has created a remarkable variety and abundance of sea life. This depth so close to shore means even small boats can have the opportunity for deep sea angling. One particularly interesting spot to fish is near Barney’s Rock, 15 kilometres south of Kaikoura Peninsula where the sea floor is a full kilometre down only one kilometre from shore.
Anglers can try their luck for barracouta, kahawai, sea perch, blue cod, terakihi, trumpeter, grouper, albacore tuna, and mako shark. Kaikoura is also a great spot to set your cray pots.
There are a number of places where you can enjoy beach fishing in Kaikoura. One famed spot is in front of the railway station where you can catch kahawai and barracouta and even salmon. Surf casting behind the breakers you might find yourself lucky with red cod, rig, skate and blue shark. At the new wharf you might catch red and blue cod, kahawai and conger eels. The old wharf and South Bay are also noted spots. If you fancy trying out trout fishing, pick up a license from a sport or fishing shop and try Lyell Creek. The sea run trout by the mouth are good eating.
A number of charter boats and fishing tours operate from Kaikoura making it the perfect holiday destination for anyone keen on fishing.