Published: November 19th 2011November 16th 2011
Tuesday 15th November
Woke at 5.30am to peek out of the window at the sunrise over the sea - amazing! Drove into Kaikoura for about 9.00am and decided to walk around the peninsular, a three hour walk before going on a Whale Watch ‘cruise’ at 1.15pm. It was one of the most memorable walks I have ever done – turquoise sea on one side with black sand and crashing waves, snow capped mountains and grassy hillocks the other, views all the way. It was a beautiful sunny day with not a cloud in the sky and the air was clean and fresh, skylarks were singing.....I wish I could have bottled it!
The first part of the walk was along the coastline on the road, past the Old Wharf, and then out to Seal Point where loads of fur seals were resting on the rocks less than a metre away! A ten minute uphill path took us to the top where you had wonderful views of the coastline, rocky coves and limestone cliffs. Walked along the cliffs to various viewpoints and then followed the path down into South Bay, along the road for a while, then up a path that led up
through a pine forest and then back down to the Esplanade in Kaikoura.
A quick lunch followed by a sit on the black beach where we saw a dolphin cruising along the breakwater line! And thats where our luck ended! The clouds started to move in and by the time we boarded our boat at about 2.00pm the sun had disappeared, but at least it didn’t rain! The boat battled against 2 metre high swells, crashing and banging in the troughs! A lot of people were ill (not us!) but it was really rough all the way for about 45mins! Got to the area where the whales are supposed to be ( its a deep underwater canyon), turned off the engine and we waited for the appearance of one of the resident Sperm whales! However, it was not to be, and after about an hour we gave up and returned back to Kaikoura, very disappointed, even though we had a refund of 80% of our ticket. We did see plenty of shearwaters and albatross, and a few odd seals.
Decided to drive north for a couple of hours or so, into the Marlborough wine area, and ended up camping in
Blenheim. The site is by a river with numerous groups of resident ducks, who were duly fed. A one-legged mallard received most of Chris’ attention. ( Info: Distance 157kms)
Wednesday 16th November
Awoke to rain so had a lie in until 7.45am, but by the time we left at 9.30am the sun was shining and it was a clear blue sky! Weather seems to change very quickly here!
From Blenheim we continued on A1 and then took the A6 towards Nelson. Every field is a vineyard and there were plenty of cellars that you could visit – we called into one – Cloudy Bay and we were freely given samples of wine and offered more especially when she knew we were going to buy a bottle! However, at 10.00am in the morning, drinking wine didn’t seem the best idea!
Drove up through the valley to Havelock, which is the worlds capital of the green shelled mussel and had a wander around the marina before driving on the scenic road to Picton. Stopped at Cullen Point Lookout and had a 15 minute walk up to the top for views of the Sound and Havelock, and then continued driving, stopping at
various viewpoints for views of the coves and bays.
Arrived in Picton for lunch and then had a wander around the shops and outdoor market stalls before a steady hour stroll to Bobs Bay and back. Picton is quite a small place that would have been quite quiet if it hadn’t been for the cruise load of Americans! Queued up for the ferry (which left 25mins late!) and treated to a beautiful sunset across the sea and a smooth crossing out of the sounds and across the Cook Straight to Wellington where we camped in the Motorhome Park in the city centre. (Info: Distance 92kms)
There are more photos below