Soar above forest and farmland in Kaikōura on an EcoZip Adventure.

Ziplining in Kaikōura


As I stand on the edge of the platform, strapped into a harness, the breeze whips past me with a hint of ocean salt in the air. Below, the dense greenery of the Kaikōura bush sprawls out like a lush carpet. In the distance, I can hear the roar of the Pacific Ocean.

I feel that mix of trepidation and excitement as I gather myself, getting ready to launch.

Kaikōura EcoZip’s promise is simple: to provide an adventure for the non-adventurous. That describes me.

Kakoura Ecozip Unimog INP

Travel via Unimog to reach the ziplines in Kaikōura. Photo by EcoZip Adventures.

It’s a four-hour experience that starts at the EcoZip base in the heart of Kaikōura. We take a 15-minute shuttle ride to the edge of Rakanui Station, where we’re met by our crew of two who ‘gear us up’ for ziplining. Then onto the Unimog – a 4 x 4 vehicle that looks like it’s on steroids – to traverse the rivers, valleys and hillsides of the 3,000-acre working farm.

AA Directions has family pass for EcoZip Adventures in Kaikōura to give away.
To be in to win, enter here! 

“By zipping with us, you are also donating money to the conservation of this land,” says Gavin Oliver, one of the founders of EcoZip Adventures. “You’re leaving a lasting legacy and experiencing new thrills at the same time.”

Kaikoura Ecozip bush INP

The experience begins with a walk through native bush. Photo by EcoZip Adventures.

Once at the lookout, we disembark from the Unimog and follow a short trail through native forest to the first zipline. Glimpses of the views distract me from the inevitable nerves. Our guides also help calm the butterflies as they share insights of the region’s history and wildlife and show us the progress of the restoration of farmland into forest.

Soon, the first glide is upon us. The twin lines mean I don’t need to scream alone. I share the side-by-side adventure with my partner, who revels in the fact that he’s slightly heavier than me so he accelerates faster as we zip down the line.

The five ziplines zig-zag us down the hillside in lengths ranging from 250 to 610 metres, covering a total distance of over 2.2 kilometres. There are short walks between each station and every time we’re clipped in, our harnesses are checked and double-checked. I don’t know why I was worried: we’re told the cables are strong enough to hold a double-decker bus!

Kaikoura Ecozip INP

Fly above farmland and forest in Kaikōura. Photo by EcoZip Adventures.

There’s certainly a purity about being suspended above the earth like some mythic being. Yes, there’s the rush of adrenaline, but there’s also a sense of awe. Each zip offers a fresh wonder; the majestic Kaikōura Range in the background, the azure seascape and the farmland’s treetops skimming below us.

On the way home I think about the experience and decide the zipline was more than just a ride. It was a narrative that unfolded beneath me, painting stories of the land with every swoop and dive.


Story by Kathy Catton for the Winter 2024 issue of AA Directions Magazine. Kathy Catton is a freelance writer who regularly contributes to AA Directions magazine. 

AA Directions has family pass for EcoZip Adventures in Kaikōura to give away.
To be in to win, enter here! 

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