Kaikoura Coast Track is a venture started in 1994 by three local families. The 3 day walk is both an eco-tourist project and great way for hikers to discover the stunning Kaikoura region in the South Island of New Zealand. It has allowed the three families that founded it to both diversify their businesses and meet people from all over the world.
The human side of the walks is the part that stuck out for me the most. It’s not hard to understand the attachment of the owners to their land, which covers 3935 hectares, and why they want to share their local knowledge with others. I also loved the diversity of the landscapes along the walk, from the stunning Pacific Ocean to the bush, beach forest and rolling farmland. The Kaikoura walk itself is not particularly difficult which means it is open to almost all ages - from 7 years old right up to 77 years old. I, for example, started the walk with some 30 something Dutch tourists and later accompanied some New Zealand artists in their fifties. A primary school group had just finished the walk when I arrived.
I particularly appreciated the signage installed along the hike that informed walkers about the endemic species that call this special region home and the birdsong that surrounds you along the way makes you feel like it’s just you and the wilderness. One little piece of advice - hiking staffs could come is useful as there are certain passages that were a little steep and muddy but it depends on the recent weather conditions.
The tariff includes pack transfers from one accommodation to the next and you can park your vehicle securely at the start of the walking track. The accommodation provided is comfortable farm cottages with hot showers and if you choose the catered option all you will have to do is heat up your meals and then you can settle in to get to know your hiking companions. Your hosts will prepare a picnic basket for your lunches and on the last evening, you will be welcomed by Linda Garrett and Mike Macfarlane in their lovely homestay. You’ll get to try some of their specialities like roast leg of lamb, pear and ginger crumble or lemon meringue tart. A true pleasure for your taste buds!
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