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Nin's Bin in Kaikoura

Phil's Best Kept Canterbury Secret #9

Nin's Bin has been a favourite stop for kiwis heading up the coast from Christchurch to Kaikoura for many generations. The menu is simple - crayfish and mussels. Pair the freshness (picked straight from the sea) with reasonable prices and unbelievable views (teal green ocean meets snow-capped mountains) - and you'll want to stop for more than lunch. You'll want to stop forever.

Established in the mid-1970's, Nin's Bin is only 20 minutes north of Kaikoura (the Māori term for 'eat crayfish or lobster'). 'Kai' means eat and 'koura' means crayfish. The drive from Christchurch to Kaikoura and continuing on to the site of Nin's Bin has been described as one of the most breathtaking drives in the world. It's our 'Great Ocean Road' - with a few surprises.

Although locals rave about Nin's Bin, many visitors miss it entirely. Here's some advice on how to prepare for your Nin's Bin adventure.

Take your time

Nin's Bin may be 2 hours from Christchurch, but there's so much in between - the Waipara wine valley, the alpine spa village of Hanmer Springs and Kaikoura, New Zealand's eco-tourism capital.

Talk to the locals

Mussels and crayfish are on the menu, but make sure you treat yourself to some time with the locals - they're friendly, knowledgeable and most of all, happy to welcome you to their special part of the world.

Nin's Bin was established in the 1970's and welcomes visitors to its charming premises on the side of State Highway 1, 20 minutes north of Kaikoura. Open from 8am-6pm (summer) and 8:30-5:30 (winter). Eftpos and VISA are accepted.

  • Phil Keoghan, kiwi host of US reality show The Amazing Race, shares another secret from his home region of Canterbury - the Coastal Pacific train journey.