Kaikoura Earthquake three months on

Kaikoura, New Zealand / February 2017.

Almost three months to the date, Kaikoura is still feeling the effects of the massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake. After my initial visit, I decided to return to see how the recovery was progressing.

During my last visit, Kaikoura was a ghost town, almost completely cut off from the outside world. Today, two roads provide access in (including the Inland Road). It’s great to see the town, once again, a hive of activity. Other places haven’t fared too well.

Not much has happened in Oaro. The cottage that almost got totaled is still “red-stickered” and at major risk of another landslide. The buckled bridge has become a tourist attraction. The main trunk line is still warped and twisted, however some of the rubble and boulders have been removed.

The area North of Kaikoura is a no go zone. They’ve setup a mini Fort Knox. No one is allowed through, not even pedestrians. Oh well, that’s bureaucracy gone mad. Instead, I headed up along the metal road to Puhi Puhi

Small landslides at Puhi Puhi

I walked a short distance of the Puhi Puhi River. Landslides are extensive, some major ones. This one has caused a natural dam.

The geology of Kaikoura Peninsular has changed dramatically. This rock has been thrust up by over two meters.

This was the former wave cut platform…now a good couple of meters higher. Notice the dead kelp that used be covered by the ocean.

Another rather interesting phenomenon is the Kaikoura Bubbles, now named the “Hope Springs”. The bubbles are a combination of CO2 and H2S, caused from rock fracturing. They can be viewed easily from the coastline.

As the Inland road was now opened, I drove the full distance to observe some of the damage – mostly large fractures and subsidence in the farmland.


The damaged pub in Waiau.