Kaikoura's rich sea life and fertile land has supported Maori and European settlement for over 900 years. Today the Kaikoura district and township of less than 3,000 persons is home to an eclectic population of fishermen, farmers, surfers, artists, craftspeople, tour guides and accommodation hosts. Kaikoura’s dependence on the land and sea for its livelihood has led to general community acceptance of the need for sustainability. As a result, Kaikoura became the first community in New Zealand and the second in the world to achieve EarthCheck Benchmark status, the world’s only global tourism environmental certification.

The area offers visitors a number of cultural, outdoor and culinary options. Within the Kaikoura district there is bird-watching, hiking, mountain biking, golf, and horseback riding. Kaikoura was one of the earliest Maori settlements in the South Island. That history provides the context for the South Island’s best Maori cultural tour.