Tweaked tourism route for Kaikōura coast

8:02 pm on 11 May 2017

A re-launched tourism route along the reshaped Kaikōura coastline is hoped to bring visitors back to the earthquake-hit region.

The sun starts to set in Kaikoura

The sun begins to set in Kaikōura Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Kaikōura and the area around it was badly affected by the November 2016 earthquake, with State Highway 1 north of the town still closed.

In December 2016, visitor numbers were 80 percent lower than the year before. Numbers did improve from January to April this year, but were still down 56 percent.

After months of discussion and with Transport Agency approval, tourism officials have extended the 450km Alpine Pacific Triangle, renaming it the Alpine Pacific Touring Route (APT).

It runs between Christchurch, Kaikōura and Hanmer Springs, heading through the Waipara Valley in North Canterbury.

Hurunui Tourism marketing manager Shane Adcock said the route included some of New Zealand's most popular attractions including the alpine spa village of Hanmer Springs, and Kaikōura with its whalewatching and ecotourism experiences.

"There are also some fantastic highlights in between - Cheviot, Mount Lyford, stunning scenery on the inland roads and a sensational coastal drive. There's plenty to see and do making the APT a good three-to-four-day journey."

Whale Watch Kaikōura chief executive Kauahi Ngapora said his organisation was excited the route was being re-lanched.

"This is a great opportunity to showcase the natural beauty of the new look Kaikōura coastline along with our majestic marine life. We look forward to many of our guests enjoying all that this fantastic touring route has to offer.''

Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism chief executive Vic Allen said the route took in some of the world's best vineyards, food trails, adventure, scenery, wildlife and spa relaxation.

"We're encouraging visitors to take the time to stop and explore along the way, and to enjoy the best food, wine and relaxation in stunning settings."

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