Discover How The Kaikoura Earthquake Changed The Landscape Forever

kaikouraNew Zealand’s landscape is a result of millions of years of geological activity. But it seems Nature isn’t finished with us just yet. The 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck the upper South Island in November 2016 created enormous amounts of damage and upheaval, but when the dust settled some intriguing new features remained. 

Papatea Fault, Waipapa Bay

An astonishing 80 kilometres of coastline was lifted out of the water by the quake, with the biggest uplift occurring at Waipapa Bay. Here, a solid five-metre rock wall shot out of the sea at three kilometres per second. Although the ridge has reduced in size since then, it’s changed the landscape of the bay forever.

“Dinosaur Eggs” at Gooch’s Beach

About nine months after the quake, large spherical balls started appearing on Gooch’s Beach near Kaikoura. They’re believed to be concretions, formed by the precipitation of mineral cement. The quake has also improved the surf at the beach, with mellow, gentle waves now rolling in all year round!

Limestone Rocks, Okiwi Bay

While most of the tectonic shifts occurred around Kaikoura, change happened as far away as Nelson, at the top of the South Island. At Okiwi Bay, beautiful limestone rocks have emerged from the depths, adding an other-wordly feel to the local landscape.

Hope Spring, Kaikoura

Natural gases now bubble and fizz their way to the surface in Whalers Bay near Kaikoura. Created by fissures and fractures in the seabed rocks, the spring is best viewed from the water.

Want to discover the extraordinary landscape of the upper South Island? Check out the 7 day Top of the South Road Tour which takes in the coastal scenery from Christchurch to Kaikoura, as well as Nelson and the west coast. 19 January and 18 March 2019 departure dates are guaranteed!

Have a good week,


P.S. Don’t forget, we also offer bike and campervan hire. If you’d prefer to meander around the upper South Island (and even further afield) at your own pace, check out your options here.

Image: Kaikoura peninsula walkway by Andrea Schaffer. CC by 2.0.