Kaikoura Earthquake Nov 14th 2016

Kaikoura Kayaks 1st operator back on the water post Kaikoura Earthquake

Just after midnight on the 14th of November 2016 Kaikoura was hit by a magnitude 7.8 earthquake that has been described as the “most complex” ever studied.

Ruptures occurred on multiple fault lines and our community was completely cut off from the rest of New Zealand.

Around the Kaikoura Peninsula the seabed and coastline had risen up to 2 metres and we were unable to kayak the inshore paddle routes as they were now exposed reef. North of Kaikoura the coastline had risen up to 6 metres.

Tourism was hit hard at the start of a promising season, with no visitors to the area and the cash flow completely stopped the future looked pretty grim for operators in Kaikoura.

Kaikoura Kayaks was the first operator back out on the water guiding tourists while rediscovering the new coastline.

We felt as soon as we had managed the new risks, it was important to start a tourism movement as quickly as possible.

The simple nature of our business and adventurous spirits of our staff helped get Kaikoura Kayaks back up and paddling within 4 days of the devastating 7.8 Earthquake.


Conner Stapley and Matt Foy days later also discovered the “Hope Springs”, the incredible new attraction found in the shallow waters of Whalers Bay of the Kaikoura Peninsula.

It is believed the bubbles were caused by the 7.8 earthquake.



Matt and Conner were out on a recky ( reconnaissance ) paddle around South Point into Whalers Bay too see if there were any changes to the coastline and check on marine life after the quake.

Conner saw some bubbling on the water surface in Whalers Bay and yelled out to Matt "What is that?" "We paddled over and it looked like someone had turned on a spa pool from underneath with a very strong smell of sulphur as well."

Dr Matthew Hughes of Canterbury University says the bubbles are likely dissolved gases in the sea floor which have become exposed by new cracks in the rock which has opened up around 50 metres from the shoreline and exposed carbon dioxide which is causing bubbles to rise to the surface.

The bubbles are a combination of several different gases, but the strong smell likely comes from hydrogen sulfide.

Dr Hughes says it is a "magical little silver lining" for the tourist town.

The name 'Hope Springs' was created by Conner Stapley and Matt Foy for 3 reasons; Conner's daughter is named Hope, the Hope Fault that lays underneath which could be contributing to the bubbles and also 'New Hope' for Kaikoura after the 7.8 earthquake which rocked the community.

"I believe, it's going to be a new attraction for tourists in Kaikoura" Matt Foy.

You will now be directed to the secure website of our payment provider. Payment can be made by Visa or Mastercard.

Vouchers available now! Choose one of our gift vouchers from the Booking Options.

Booking for a group? Group bookings cannot be made online - please contact us directly via phone or email if you are booking for a large group.

If you are having any issues booking online, please call us direct on 0800452456 or Int +64 21 462 889

You will need!

Long sleeved thermal top, Fleece, shorts or light pants e.g. quick drys, NO JEANS!
Sunglasses, cap, running shoes or sandals, drinking water, camera & towel.

If you have purchased a voucher then it is valid for 24 months from the date of the original purchase. To redeem the voucher, you need to book in advance by calling us on 0800 452 456 or by emailing paddle@kaikourakayaks.nz. You must also present this email with the confirmation number when prompted.

All kayaking tours depart from our base 19 Killarney Street Kaikoura off the water front "the Esplanade", 1 km from the Kaikoura Information Centre.

Look for a trailer full of kayaks and yellow street signs (:

Kaikoura Kayaks will endeavour to give you the best experience possible (:

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  • Address:Kaikoura Kayaks
    19 Killarney Street
    New Zealand

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