Cyclone Gita - Travel Update

State Highway 1 is closed in both directions, north and south of Kaikoura, following yesterday's cyclone storm across the upper South Island. We understand it is likely to remain closed for two days, until Friday 23 February.

Guests travelling to us from the West Coast and Christchurch should use the Inland Road, route 70, to reach us. Guests travelling to us from the north have no option but to use the longer inland route, via Murchison and Lewis Pass (SH7).

Please contact us if you have a reservation at the Lodge over the next two or three days and need advice. 

SH1 Re-Opening

We have some great news to share with our guests, friends and followers. It has been announced that State Highway 1 to the north of Kaikoura will be re-opening on December 15th, restoring direct access to us from Blenheim, Picton, and the Top of the South, and enabling guests to continue their journeys northwards without a long detour.  

The highway was completely destroyed in places during last year's earthquake and the rebuild has been a major engineering undertaking, involving hundreds of contractors, the removal of millions of tonnes of rocks and rubble, and completely new roadways being designed and built. 

Work on the road will not be fully completed and there will be still be some stop-go delays along the worst-affected section between Waipapa Bay and Rakautara, about 20 minutes from the Lodge. The highway will be subject to continued overnight closures for safety reasons, but this will not normally affect guests making their way to us. But at least the road will be open to traffic, and will be safe to drive.

Guests due to stay with us and who might have concerns about their travel planning are welcome to get in touch for the latest updates. Drive carefully, take your time, and enjoy the new post-earthquake scenery!


Earthquake Travel Update

Last November the area around Kaikoura experienced a major earthquake, which caused considerable disruption to our town’s tourism industry and to the transport network across the top of the South Island.

We are relieved to have come through this extraordinary event unscathed, and happy to be able to say that Manakau Lodge is completely free of damage, open for business and operating entirely normally. Most of our local attractions and excursions are also operating normally, though guests with reservations for Whale Watch and Dolphin Encounter tours should check with these operators for revised schedules.

Damage to our local highway infrastructure meant that access to Kaikoura was extremely challenging during the first two months following the quake, but the situation has since greatly improved.

SH1 between Christchurch and Kaikoura has re-opened but remains subject to occasional closures for essential rebuilding work; even when open, temporary night-time restrictions are in place, so if you are heading to us from the south, please plan to arrive in Kaikoura before 6.00pm. During exceptionally bad weather, the highway may be closed temporarily at short notice. Guests are advised to check the status of SH1 before setting out on their journey, and to the familiarise themselves with the alternative routes available should SH1 be closed.

Coming to us from the West Coast, the Inland Road through Waiau and Mount Lyford, Route 70, is also open on an unrestricted basis, and indeed this would be your normal driving route. This scenic drive is also now the gateway to and from Abel Tasman National Park, Golden Bay and Nelson.

SH1 to the north of Kaikoura will be undergoing major repairs for the remainder of this summer and winter, and is closed to traffic. Guests coming to us from Picton and Blenheim therefore have a longer drive via Nelson Lakes, Murchison, Lewis Pass and Hanmer Springs, and then on to Route 70. If you are travelling to us from the top of the south island, please let us know. To save you time stopping to eat along the way, we can arrange to have some food and wine waiting for you when you arrive.

The Coastal Pacific rail service between Picton and Christchurch is out of action until further notice.

Thank you for persevering with your travel plans and for including us in them. We look forward to welcoming you to this special part of New Zealand and assure you of a most enjoyable visit.