Maori Leap Cave

  • 30 min return by the same track
  • Easy
  • Bookings required

A guided tour of a limestone sea cave south of Kaikoura.

Stalactites and stalagmites in Maori Leap Cave • By KiwiTraveller. Licence: C.
Maori Leap Cave: Key information
Walking time
30 min
Return by the same track
Return by the same track
Bookings required
Enquire at Cave Restaurant south of Kaikoura.
Maori Leap Cave: Find it
Cave Restaurant, SH1 south of Kaikoura

This sea cave discovered at a limestone quarry in 1958 is located near the Caves Restaurant (despite the name there’s only one cave) just south of Kaikoura. The entrance is locked, but guided tours run hourly during the day.

Inside the cave are stalactites, stalagmites, straws, flowstone and cave coral, collectively known as speleothems, from Greek: “spelaion” (cave) + “thema” (deposit). Also interesting are the dark bands of flint (also known as chert) that have formed in the limestone beds.  While the limestone beds are formed from the lime (calcium carbonate) of shelled animals, flint is formed as silicaceous creatures such as tiny diatoms and radiolarians are trapped in the sediment. The silica dissolves and reforms as nodules and layers of flint. These hard flints weather out of the limestone, and are found as dark, slightly translucent pebbles on the local beaches.

ID 363

About this track

Added 28 July 2002 by matthewmatthew. 3 revisions, most recently 25 February 2014 by matthewmatthew.
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