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Kaikoura Coast Track. The three-day Kaikoura Coast Track walk provides uncrowded, unguided hiking and three nights accommodation along spectacular coastal farmland south of Kaikoura, for 10 people at a time maximum. Take binoculars to search out seals, sea birds, and dolphins. The walk traverses several large sheep stations before landing on the beach, passing an ancient buried forest. Carry on through regenerating bush to Medina, before a moderate four- to six-hour walk on the last day takes you over the 2,000-foot-plus Mt. Wilson. The total track length is 40 km (25 mi), suitable for average fitness. Bags are transferred to the next night's accommodations daily, so you only need to carry a daypack. The fee is NZ$215 per person, including bag transfer. If you opt to have all meals included and need bedding, the total cost is available on request. There's also a two-day mountain bike option if you bring a bike. Reservations are essential. The start point is a ¾-hour drive south of Kaikoura; public transport can drop you at the gate. 201 Conway Flat Rd., Cheviot, 7384. 03/319-2715. www.kaikouratrack.co.nz. Daily Oct.-Apr.
Kaikoura Wilderness Walks. With the proximity of extremely high mountains Kaikoura Wilderness Walks offers an excellent opportunity to get right up in them. There are two- and three-day guided walks, with overnight accommodations in the really comfy Shearwater Lodge (named one of the top 10 ecolodges in Australasia), high above the Puhi Puhi Valley in the Seaward Kaikoura Ranges. The walkway crosses through rugged, inspiring terrain where clouds swirl across the tops and giant scree slopes slither down the valleys. Door-to-door pickup can be arranged from Kaikoura, luggage is transferred to the lodge and all meals are provided. You need to be moderately fit and agile and be able to hike 5 to 7 hours a day. Puhi Puhi Valley, Kaikoura. 03/319-6966; 0800/945-337 (NZ only). www.kaikourawilderness.co.nz. Tours from NZ$1,195 per person. Reservations essential. Sept-Mar., Wed. and Fri. departures.
walking track. The peninsula near town has a much shorter walking track that shows off the spectacular coastal scenery and the seal colonies. Consult the town's information center for maps and track information. The walk starts either at the end of Fyffe Quay or round at South Bay. The entry point at South Bay recognizes the importance of the area to local Maori, whose ancestors lived on this stretch of coast for many generations before Europeans arrived. The first part of the track from South Bay leading to Limestone Bay is wheelchair accessible.
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