The Magnificent Kaikoura Ranges
The Kaikoura Ranges are made up of two mountain ranges, the Seaward Kaikoura Range and the Inland Kaikoura Range.
The Seaward Kaikoura Range rises up almost directly out of the sea in places, while the Inland Kaikoura Range runs parallel but further west. The Inland Kaikoura Range is divided from the Seaward Kaikoura Range by the Clarence River.
Manakau is the highest mountain in the Seaward Kaikoura Range, at 2,610 metres. Tapuae-O-uenuku is the highest mountain in the Inland Kaikoura Range, at 2,885 metres.
The Kaikoura Ranges are an impressive sight, visible for quite some distance. On a clear day you can see the ranges from the southern coast of the North Island.
Sightseeing in the Kaikoura Ranges
In late summer, at Lake Grassmere just 40 kilometres south of Blenheim, travellers on State Highway 1 can admire a vast network of settling ponds turning coral pink.
In the background, mounds of salt crystals await processing at this substantial solar salt harvesting operation.
From here the road and rail routes head towards the sea and take in the wild beauty of the Pacific Coast.
Rolling sand dunes dressed in golden tussock, toi toi and ti kouka (cabbage tree palm) flank the foothills of the rugged Seaward Kaikoura Range in some of the most dramatic and awe-inspiring scenery in the world.
Colonies of fur seals bask on the rocks, and vantage points allow a close-up of these furry fish eaters.