New Zealand's best river town

Kaiapoi river with chopper flying over Steve Fitz-Gerald

Kaiapoi - insider tips

Hear what the locals like about their town, giving you insider tips to what they like to do, see and where to shop, including photos in and around Kaiapoi.

Scott Blackler

This is a place that I have had the pleasure to call home for 43years.
I was born here in 1976. Through my life I have travelled most of NZ with work. But still I have this indescribable draw to the town, I call home. Both the rivers being the Mak (Waimakariri river) and the Kaiapoi have treated me well over the years
This pic is of the Waimak Mouth getting ready for a morning fish.
I class myself a 327 for life.

(327 is the first 3 numbers of Kaiapoi phone numbers)

Visit Aqualand NZ

Aqualand NZ Is New Zealand’s newest Inflatable Aquapark. Open in Kaiapoi. Located 20 Minutes North of Christchurch. The coolest thing in Canterbury this summer!!!!! Make bookings on their website https://www.aqualand.co.nz/

Heather May

I love being able to go for a walk straight out from my door along the river banks where you might see some bird life along the way. Yesterday I took some photos.

Steve Fitz-Gerald

Steve provided these stunning images of action on the Kaiapoi river.

On Sunday 27 September 2015 the MV Tahoe ran aground at the mouth of the Waimakariri and was deemed unsalvageable.

You can read more history of the vessel here – History of the mv Tuhoe

Kaiapoi Info Flyer

Use the Flyer to discover Kaiapoi

Kaiapoi was one of New Zealand’s most important trading posts for food (kai) and greenstone (pounamu). The most efficient way to travel was by water, all manner of resources were transported along waterways on their way to or from Kaiapoi, including: pounamu from the Arahura River, titi (muttonbird) from the islands around Stewart Island / Rakiura, and obsidian from Mayor Island / Tuhua.
Kai (food/resources) would need to be poi (swung in) from other places hence the name Kaiapoi which it is said can be translated as a metaphor for “economics”. It was described to me that Kaiapoi was like the “Wall Street” of New Zealand.

Kaiapoi Farmers Market

The market is small and very local, in terms of vendors, you wont find imported product, you will be buying food and produce straight from the grower, manufacturer. We love popping down to this friendly local market

Each Saturday from 9.30 – 12.30pm outside Paris for the Weekend cafe on Charles Street, opposite New World Supermarket.


Back to the Wild

Sonia is a local woman that is passionate about what she produces. Everything has been sourced from the natural earth. She also holds awesome workshops on sustainable living, making sour dough, eco printing, natural home cleaning, winemaking, cider making, edible weeds etc.. well worth attending, currently these workshops are online, visit Sonia’s facebook page for details.

She believes that business is there to improve the lives of all people, not just their market. Every month, she has a Charity of the Month. $1 from each purchase is donated to that charity, at no cost to you. Plus, she has various other give-back schemes throughout the year. ie. December 2018, she donated mosquito nets to 26 families in developing countries.

Offering skin & home products that are natural, organic where possible, and affordable.
Safe for babies, great people with sensitive skin, and anyone who wants to cut down on the amount of toxins in their life!

Call Sonia first before visiting to avoid disappointment, alternatively visit her business website, where you can buy online

Location – 338 Williams St, Ph. 0210 222 3363 – backtothewildnz@gmail.com – https://www.facebook.com/backtothewildNZ/ – https://www.backtothewild.co.nz

River Queen

We have travelled on the river queen three times so far…and each time has been lovely. The trip lasts between 1 1/2 – 2 hours and at the cost of $25 each for an adult and $20 mid week for seniors its a very affordable entertainment, especially when you compare it with the likes of boat travel in say Akaroa where the same length of trip would be closer to $80+. Take the relaxed trip up the river, there is food and drinks on board, one of our trips we hired it as a group and its well worth it.

I found a video of the trip..I can not take credit for it… it gives you a good idea of what you will see going on a cruise.

Location – 178 Williams Street – Ph. 0274 350 596https://www.kaiapoiriverqueen.co.nz/

Ohoka Farmers Market

This is one of the best farmers market, if you can get away from work on a Friday morning… it is well worth the drive
A fantastic country market only 25 mins from Christchurch.
Lots of local food artisans gather every Friday morning year round in Ohoka domain. Everyday basic fresh foods to the more special gourmet extras. We offer brunch,chai, farmyard animals at Ohoka, seasonal fruits, garden plants, organic produce, gluten free baking and a peaceful, uncrowded shopping experience. Come to Ohoka for that country feel, and with a focus on gardens and plants.
Shop your heart out!
Every Friday alongsdie the food market is the Ohoka Artisan Craft Market – local craft artisans selling – jewellery to clothing, to garden produce.
Sign up and be a Friend of the Market – receive our weekly news on whats on and what coming up.
All year 9 – 12.30 Winter hours 9 – 12 (May,June,July,Aug, Sept)
Location – Ohoka Domain; cnr Mill and Whites Rds

Honda Forest

Honda has generously funded the purchase of native trees and plants for this area… they have been planted near a dog park and BMX track… you can go for a walk and sit by the water and watch all of the birds on the lake. A place where you can sit on the seats and relax and maybe have a bit to eat, there are rubbish bins onsite.

Location is on the left hand side of Charles Street, heading South East past New World by around 400m.. a short walk from Kaiapoi’s CBD..

Kaiapoi Food Forest

This is a great place to pop down and just wander around… and most of the time you will find things to eat. Its cool that its managed by volunteers and the residents and local businesses have donated so many of the trees and plants over 2000 I believe. it started in September 2017, but boy has it grown and the small playground is perfect for smaller children, that would be overwhelmed by the bigger playgrounds. The Trust that manages the forest hold events throughout the year, which always are fun along with regular courses on growing, pruning, propogating etc

cnr Cass and Meadow Streets, http://kai.net.nzhttps://www.facebook.com/KAIintoKAIAPOI/

“Locals Tips” for things to do in Kaiapoi
Cruise on the River Queen with your friends or family on scheduled sailings or book a private function for your work or social club adding on the catering option that suits your needs.
Kaiapoi Food Forest, ideal for picnics and foraging for fresh seasonal fruit, veggies, berries and herbs.
Love shoes visit Shoe Therapy and The Footwear Outlet you will not be disappointed with the selections.
CBK Kaiapoi Craft Beer & Kitchen is famous for its Skillet Cookie, a great dessert after one of their stone grills.
Visiting the Ruataniwha centre, home of the library, museum and Art on the Quay which hosts exhibitions of local art is always a great idea during inclement weather or a lazy day.
The Collective local and community artists and crafts people that have products from recycled, up cycled, natural hand made Maori art and pounamu products and much much more.
There is wide range of eateries in town, Mongolian, Chinese, Indian, Japanese, Thai, European cuisine, Sushi, Teppanyaki – plus loads of takeaways, something for everyones taste.
Each of the local cafes have their own unique feel ie. Paris for the Weekend lovely hand baked scones and high teas, located just by the river in the old railway station, Red Eight is famous for its great cabinet food & sweet treats, Rivertown cafe, spacious family friendly and yummy food, Coffee Culture, delicious snacks and desserts accompany a great range of hot and cold drinks, Urban Revival Freshly baked muffins and scones each morning.
Blackwells Department store, a family business since 1871 with a wonderful selection of goods from fashion to fishing and everything in-between.
Craze fashion sale rack is always worth browsing through, The Kaiapoi Florist and Love your Home filled with a wonderment of loveliness, if you are into Op shopping you have lots to chose from in Kaiapoi.
Woodford Glen operates between October to March if you love the smell of fuel and loud engines roar around the track.
Trousellot park, Skate park, playground, beautiful rose garden wonderful for the kids to play and have fun.
Walking or biking head down either side of rivers stop bank “local tip” electric bikes can be hired at Five Peaks Brew Co. You will find Obelisks decorated by local artists, lakes filled with birdlife, Honda Forest, from the Manderville walking bridge you may see people hiring boats from Kore boat hire, rowers on the river an abundance of natures beauty.
Kaiapoi Farmers Market – Saturday mornings opposite New World, next to Paris For The Weekend.
Aqualand – Newest Inflatable Aquapark, an awesome but strenuous inflatable water park course.
Enjoy discovering Kaiapoi

If you are a Kaiapoi resident that would like to share what they like about living in Kaiapoi please make contact us here


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