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The seaside settlement of Kaikoura is located halfway between Christchurch and Picton on the rugged east coast. Waves lap at its toes and huge mountains stretch away from its shoulders. It's a stunning combination that never fails to impress and these days the population of approximately 4,000 never misses a beat in capitalizing on natural attributes. Chief among them is the marine bounty - several breeds of whales, dolphins, seals, and thousands of seabirds. Once a sleepy hollow that virtually closed down in the winter, Kaikoura is now a thriving little town that is especially energetic and interesting during the tourist season. It was also the first local authority in the world to achieve Green Globe 21 certification, proving the town's commitment to reducing environmental impacts.