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8 Fun Things to Do in Kaiapoi

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What to do in Kaiapoi, Christchurch’s “river town”.

The first town you will come across when heading north of Christchurch is the picturesque river town of Kaiapoi. The town has two beautiful rivers passing through it that attract watersports-lovers from all over the region. Get a taste of why the locals love it too through exciting jet boat rides, along the river walks or by trying your luck when fishing for salmon and trout. The town also offers fantastic shopping, eateries, museums and art galleries, giving you a great blend of city experiences with a small town vibe. Find out what else you could get up to here with this list of things to do in Kaiapoi.

While you’re here, you might also be interested in 7 Fun Things to Do in Cheviot and 10 Amazing Things to Do in Hanmer Springs.

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1. Walk along the Kaiapoi River

The banks of the Kaiapoi River are lined with a walkway and cycleway. Walk or cycle for as long or as little as you like, taking in the scenery of the town and crossing the Kaiapoi river bridges.

Location: Anywhere along the river in Kaiapoi
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2. Visit Kaiapoi Island

Visit the lower reaches of the Waimakariri River Regional Park at this popular access point. Kaiapoi Island is dotted with picnic areas, lookout points with interpretation panels and has a number of walkways and cycleways linking to upstream destinations.

Location: Wrights Road or Raven Quay
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3. Check out Kaiapoi Lakes

A significant place to the local Maori, Kaiapoi Lakes is known as Nga Tapuwae o Mua (footsteps of the past). The lakes are a picturesque place for a picnic and to watch wetland birds.

Location: Williams Street
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4. Go shopping

Kaiapoi is an incredible place to get some retail therapy – some even say that it rivals the shopping in Christchurch. Check it out for yourself by visiting the Blackwells Department Store holding all your luxuries and staples all under one roof.

Location: Corner of Williams Street and Raven Quay
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5. Visit the local museums & Art gallery

Yes, that’s museums with a plural, because Kaiapoi is home to two museums: the Kaiapoi Museum and the National Scout Museum! Find an interesting collection of relics from Kaiapoi’s past at the Kaiapoi Museum situated in the contemporary Ruataniwha Civic Centre. The Ruataniwha Civic Centre also has a fantastic art gallery called Art on the Quay, which is well worth stopping by. Or check out New Zealand’s Scouting history in the town where the first Scout Patrol is said to have been formed. Learn more at the National Scout Museum!

Location: Kaiapoi Museum – 176 Williams Street, National Scout Museum – 17 Williams Street.
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6. Jump on a jet boat tour

Skim along the shallows of the Waimakariri River with Alpine Jet Thrills. Either choose a 30-minute blast along the lower-Waimakariri River and to the stunning Waimakariri Gorge or upgrade to a 60-minute ride including a stop by the river banks for refreshments. Compare this trip with others in 17 Places to Jet Boat in New Zealand.

Location: Under the State Highway 1 bridge, off Wrights Road
Alpine Jet Thrills

7. Play a round of golf

Get your golf fix at this conveniently-located golf course in the middle of town. The Kaiapoi Golf Club is open to visitors with reasonable green fees. Play on well-groomed and undulating greens on this 18-hole par-70 golf course.

Location: 373 Williams Street
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8. Catch fish in the Waimakariri River

Pop into the Kaiapoi i-SITE to hire a fishing rod and try your luck on the Kaiapoi or Waimakariri rivers. Sit down at Kaiapoi Wharf or at the McIntosh or Banana Hole along the Waimakariri River to catch herrings, trout or salmon. To catch trout or salmon, you will need to purchase a fishing licence, also available at the i-SITE. Find out more about fishing licences in What You Need to Know About Fishing in New Zealand.

Location: 143 Williams Street
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