The recent North Canterbury Earthquakes have been quite devastating for the Inland Road and Kaikoura Areas. We continue to offer helicopter access to the Kaikoura Area but we also recognise the increase in air traffic due to limited road access can become tedious for local residents. We will endeavor to respect the Airspace above the homes and businesses and try to minimise any impact our operations may have.
Kaikoura holds many points of interest. Breathtaking scenery, history, fishing, hunting, nature observance, science, underwater wonders, whale watching, dolphins, seals, surfing and fresh seafood, to name a few, bring hoards to the small township every year.
Kaikoura means "to eat crayfish" (kai = food, koura = crayfish). Mythology ascribes chief Tamatea-Pokai-Whenua with giving the district this name. As the legend has it, he stopped to eat here when pursuing runaway wives who eventually turned into greenstone in Westland. It was crayfish (lobster) that Kaikoura was originally renowned for. But today, it has much more going for it!
Kaikoura has one of the most dramatic coastlines in the world. The peninsular provides an unforgettable tableau of the snow-clad mountains of the Kaikoura Range that rise sheer from the sea to a height of 2600 metres. Where sea hits the land is an impressive sight, with waves crashing in on the craggy rocks. The rocks form an ideal sunbathing spot for seals. Under the sea is just as dramatic, with deep sea-trenches formed very close to the shoreline, providing for a wealth of sea-life of interest to scientist and tourist alike.
Historically the peninsular holds interest as a pre-European Maori stronghold with several major Maori invasions dating back as far as the 1500s in order to gain control of this veritable easily defended food basket. The remnants of several Maori pa sites can still be seen upon almost every defensible promontory. The remains of an old Maori grave with moa relics was found in 1857 near the Old Wharf.
Captain Cook first discovered the peninsular in 1770, mistaking the peninsular for an island. Whalers and sealers followed in the 1800’s, with a whaling station being established in Kaikoura in 1843. The seals were nearly wiped out. Thankfully, today both whales and seals are found in abundance providing a treat for thousands of tourists every year. Kaikoura lies within the Southern Hemisphere Whale Sanctuary.
At different times of the year, different species of whale can be seen off the coast of Kaikoura, including Orca and Pilot whales from time to time. But there is almost always a presence of the giant Sperm whale as they feeding on the abundant food in the Kaikoura waters, before they head north for mating.
Hanmer Springs Helicopters provides a transfer service to and from Kaikoura and Hanmer Springs. We provide a connection service with one of the whale watching services in Kaikoura (enquiries welcome).
Other Operational Areas