Kaikōura 'absolutely pumping' after quake and Covid-19 challenges

8:03 pm on 9 January 2024

By David Hill, Local Democracy Reporter

Tourists are flocking back to the seaside resort of Kaikoura. Photo: Fiona Wardle Photography, supplied by Encounter Kaikōura

Photo: Supplied / Fiona Wardle Photography

Kaikōura is ''absolutely pumping'' as tourists flock back to the seaside resort, mayor Craig Mackle says.

Mackle said the town was the busiest he had seen it for several years, following the 7.8 magnitude earthquake in 2016 and Covid-19 restrictions.

''The place is absolutely pumping. I haven't seen it this busy in a long time. It is wonderful.

''The food outlets are busy. I've seen The Pier [Hotel] absolutely pumping the meals out.''

Destination Kaikōura manager Lisa Bond and chairperson Lynette Buurman said local businesses were enjoying a busy summer without the staff shortages of the last few years.

''Over the last few weeks Kaikōura has been really busy with many families and holiday makers enjoying the beautiful weather,'' Bond said.

''I am pretty sure ice creams have been in hot demand. There have been plenty of people swimming in the ocean, biking the cycle trails and enjoying a stroll along the new link pathway along Esplanade.''

The town has hosted eight cruise ships visits so far this summer, with another nine scheduled visits to come.

Buurman said the comments from cruise ship passengers have been positive.

''The feedback is that we have a lovely, little port town with plenty of things to do.

''I think all businesses will be having a good summer. Everyone is upbeat and we don't have the staffing challenges we had last summer.''

Buurman is also business manager at Encounter Kaikōura.

She said passenger volumes so far this summer were on a par with pre-Covid levels - the summer of 2019/20 - and at around 90 percent of pre-earthquake levels.

''It is incredibly busy. It has been great for the town. We've had so many visitors and the weather has been superb.

''It might ease off a little bit now that we are over those stat holidays, but our forward bookings are still pretty solid.''

The opening of Kaikōura EcoZip Adventures on 20 December has added another on-land attraction to complement the on-water activities, Buurman said.

Bond said there were plenty of attractions coming up including the annual Music on the Lawn at Fyffe House on Saturday, 20 January, and the Kaikōura A&P Show on Saturday, 24 February.

The Kaikōura Memorial Hall is hosting concerts from Christchurch bands 1 Drop Nation on Friday, 19 January, and The Feelers on Saturday, 20 January.

The Kaikōura Museum has its award winning Earthquake Exhibition running until the end of February.

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