Safe Haven for Seals
Kaikoura is the first place in New Zealand, and the second in the world, to be Green Globe benchmarked, an international benchmarking and certification program developed for the travel industry in 1992. Kaikoura was eco-conscious before it became fashionable. In 1997, its council was the first in the country to employ an environment officer. In 1998, it became the second Zero Waste district in New Zealand, aiming for zero waste to landfill by 2015. So there’s no kerbside rubbish collection in the town but there is a free weekly recycling pick-up, which includes kitchen scraps composted using council-supplied Bokashi buckets and a recycling depot that even processes electrical goods and wood. What set Kaikoura on this eco-path in the first place, however, was its unique location and the town’s chief drawcard — its marine life. Not only is it flanked by the rugged Seaward Kaikoura mountain range but there is a deep underwater canyon less than one kilometre offshore, where plankton-rich water attracts marine creatures great and small from tiny krill to blue whales.