About Us


Early Polynesian settlers ventured into the surrounding Seaward Kaikoura Mountains to harvest the treasured Titi or Shearwater, an alpine nesting seabird that was traded, for the highly prized greenstone, with tribes further south. By the mid 1800's the European settlers arrived, drawn here by the riches of the sea particularly the abundant seals and whales. After they hunted these almost to extiction, these settlers then began harvesting the surrounding forest and converting the cleared land into farmland.

Many traditional place names of significance in the region have survived eg. Puhi Puhi means "to gather feathers" and one of the highest mountains in the region Te Ao Whekere translates to "World of the Gods".

Today, within the Puhi Peaks Nature Reserve, exist landscapes and forests of extraordinary diversity harbouring some of the region's rarest and endangered plant and animal species. These are now protected, in perpetuity, by a Queen Elizabeth II National Trust Open Space Covenant. Kaikoura Wilderness Walks, with the exclusive Shearwater Lodge situated in the reserve, offers a place of escape and inspiration; truly a wilderness romance.


Shearwater Lodge

Nicky McArthur - Owner/Manager

Detailed profile

I have been involved in my own journey of discovery here at Puhi Peaks for the past 10 years.

The beauty encountered in the Seaward Kaikoura Mountains attracted me to this piece of paradise and sharing it with visitors not only from New Zealand but all around the globe is what makes my life here as hostess, guide, cook and as an artist something I value enormously. I bring to this experience a passion for the environment, people and food!

Puhi Peaks is unique in every way, a rare gem hidden in an alpine valley where we talk about the "sheer delights" at Shearwater Lodge. We pride ourselves on our attention to detail and our vision is "to inspire each and every one of us to honour our relationship with the earth and its people".


James Kilgour - Operations Manager

Detailed profile

Murray Taylor - Hunting Guide

Detailed profile

I have been involved here at Kaikoura Wilderness since 2008, with interests in all aspects of the business from marketing to guiding. For the 2012-2014 seasons I took over as Head Guide and Operations Manager and really enjoyed the increased responsibility.

2008 saw the start of my university career where initially my goal was to study Vet Science, I ended up completing a degree in Zoology. My master's topic is on Fluvial geomorphology, and that brought me back to Puhi Peaks to study the water flow in the mountains and look at hydro energy possibilities.

In between my studies I really love being home in Kaikoura and enjoy the beautiful back drop that is the Seaward Kaikoura Ranges, in particular the Puhi Puhi Valley. So why don't you come for a walk and enjoy it with me.


“There is nothing more magical than seeing a dream come to life and we had a real sense of that this weekend – its been so special to share in this dream over the last few days. Nicky you and your team absolutely get the importance of the overall “experience”. You have breathtaking mountains and bush, a beautiful luxurious lodge, delicious food and sounds of the outback and you have wrapped it all up in your unique personalities and exquisite attention to detail and our experience has been one of total indulgence and we’ve felt absolutely spoilt. The perfect wedding anniversary. Thank you.” Grant Bettjeman, Auckland, NZ

“We have hiked all over the world, but Shearwater Lodge is absolutely unique. It is unique because all involved make you feel at home, while running daily routine with total professionalism. Eva and myself feel very privileged to be able to be part of this paradise, thank you Nicky” Josef Blass, Chapel Hill, USA

“Simply glorious, great company, wonderful food and a  truly magical location. Congratulations to all the team for creating paradise in paradise.” Jane Reasbeck, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

“Thanks for a wonderful 3 days. An absolutely incredibly experience! I really can’t put into words all of the truly wonderful aspects that make up this wilderness encounter. Plant life, stories, flower, and food, warmth, hospitality, family- home feeling & friendly vibe. I have to say I'm hooked! A great introduction to tramping & alpine for me, thank very much. I will be recommending to everyone I know. Please can I come back. Oh and the VIEWS.” Therese Fitzgerald, Auckland, NZ