Last Updated: 1st Jun 2023


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Kaikōura Mountains to Sea Marathon

Last Updated: 1st Jun 2023


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Grunt Factor: 32 ?

Gnarl Factor: 8 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Front country - easily accessible

Out and Back

Undulating, some big hills

Native bush

Plantation/exotic forest




Open farmlands

Open tussock/grasslands

Run Makeup


Sealed Road

Gravel Road

Easy Single Track

Average Uphill Gradient: +2.5%

Average Downhill Gradient: -2.4%


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Estimated Times to Run







This trail follows the course for the Kaikōura Mountains to Sea Marathon, A joint fundraiser for Kaikoura High School and Kaikoura Lions Club.

Starting at South Bay Racecourse you will head alongside the beach on the grass/sand verge to the end of South Bay domain take the Peninsula walk path that has a short steep climb to bring you on top of the Peninsula. Then you will follow the path across the Peninsula with its amazing views to the northern side at the Seal colony, a short (1 km) stretch along the boardwalk and road to climb back to the top of the Peninsula. Follow the road on top of the Peninsula to St Pauls track and steep descent down a path known as "The Stairway." 

Continue on along the bike track of gravel and sand south towards the Kowhai River. This amazing track has been made with the hard work of the Kaikoura Cycle Club and varies in width and substrate – gravel, sand and dirt. Runners follow this track heading up the Kowhai River toward Mt Fyffe, until their turnaround points at the Mt Fyffe car park and a return journey on a gravel roadway back to the Kowhai River Bridge.

The elevation is gradual with short steep parts but climbing all the way.  On the return to South Bay runners go past the racecourse to the stile at the end of the grassed area (where housing starts on the ocean side of the road), turning back to the entry to the racecourse, around the back of the racecourse to the start/finish.

On the peninsula section of the run, runners are able to see the seabed uplift from the 2016 earthquake and the beautiful Kaikōura ranges.

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Plenty of parking at the rest area, on South Bay Parade.

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0 minutes




Postmans Rd (end of single track) - runners will pop out of the single track section onto gravel and will need to enter a private paddock. It is possible to navigate your way around the private paddock - turn right after exiting the single track and then left on Chapman's rd.

Generally good.

Lightweight fleece top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Windproof jacket, Beanie/thermal headwear, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map

There is water at the small domain picnic area, close to SH1, roughly 10 km into the run.

The peninsula section is very exposed, especially to southerly winds.

Flo & Co.
Kaikōura, 13a West End
Great coffee, hearty and healthy food, vegan and gluten free options, warm fire when it's cold.

Beach House Cafe
Beach Rd Kaikoura
Great coffee, food and atmosphere.

Trail Legend

Geoffrey Smith

Geoffrey Smith

has completed Kaikōura Mountains to Sea Marathon once in the last year.

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