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.