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The small river town of Kaiapoi is only 19km north of Christchurch and is the first major town north of the Waimakariri river. Lined by willow trees, the Kaiapoi River runs through the town on its way out to sea. In the spring, the Kaipoi River is popular with whitebaiters, while anglers come to fish for salmon in the summer.

Maori occupation of the Kaiapoi area dates back to the 1700s, and Kaiapoi was also an important trading centre for early European settlers during the 1850s and 1860s. Today, you can enjoy a river cruise on the MV Waipapa, or head north of Kaiapoi to explore the wineries of the Waipara Valley.