Our last couple of days on the South Island were spent in a really lovely place called Kaikoura. From the wine region we drove along a winding road that hugged the turquoise coast. After a stop at a cafe (which was ideal for my future house; rustic, beamed building with a big fireplace in the middle of the room, big windows looking out on to the decking and beach with blue sea and snow capped mountains) and stops to look at lots of seals which were perched on rocks and playing in rock pools we arrived in Kaikoura. As soon as we drove in to the town I liked it. I don't really know why. It bore similar “new world” businesses and houses as other towns we have seen, but for some reason I got a good feeling about it. Maybe it had something to do with the lovely blue sky and the perfect snowcapped mountains framing the town. As we saw more of it it became even more beautiful. The sea was a lovely turquoise colour and met the mountains.
Tickets for a seafood, music and wine festival had sold out so we spent the day walking to see more seals. We walked along the foreshore which can get cut off by tide. We walked a while before deciding that we had better turn back; Not before seeing the lovely sight of a dead sheep though. It was lovely. I was concentrating on not slipping over on the slimy rocks and wafting the seaweed flies away when I noticed a white rug looking thing. Tim said “ugh, don't look” and of course I did as it is impossible not to when somebody says that. It's face had practically gone but its body was in tact. The poor thing had probably fallen down the cliff.
Yet again I took Tim to another winery. I think he might be getting a bit too used to it now! It was a beautiful winery perched on a hill, with yet again beautiful scenery of the blue sea, snowcapped Mountainous variety. Another drive to yet another beautiful part of town and looking in rock pools and I decided that Kaikoura is my favourite place (so far and in the inhabited sense) in NZ.
We headed back to our van park which from our van has views of, yes you guessed it, beautiful scenery of snowcapped mountains. We had a drink with our next door neighbours before heading into town, on the way admiring the pretty clouds. We went to a pub which had D.J's playing in the courtyard and had a boogie. It was nice end to a great day and our time in South Island.
The next day we headed to Christchurch, again driving down windy roads hugging the coast. You would think with the amount of seals we have seen recently we wouldn't have stopped to look at more, but we never tire of them and stopped to watch a little one swim and climb on a rock. Kaikoura is famous for the wealth of marine life; whales, dolphins, penguins etc, but they didn't want to come and see us this time. I really love New Zealand but it is a bit short on wildlife for my liking. They do have a number of unique birds, but introduced species and man have taken their toll on numbers.
We had to give our van back, at which we were quite sad, but we have another one lined up for the North Island. Tonight though we have to stay in a hotel. It will be weird not having to assemble our bed before we go to sleep.