Monday, 15th April - Day Twelve: Hanmer Springs to Picton 289km (174 miles) along the Alpine Pacific Triangle Route to the terminal for the ferry across the Cook Strait to Wellington on the North Island.
We come across a NZ traffic jam - sheep filling up the highway as they move from one field to another guided by several sheep dogs. We wait for them to pass and travel on.
Our climb is long and steep through the high country with plenty of 35-55km curves uphill, one way bridges around curves and more curves downhill for 3km! Along the Inland Scenic Route 70, we arrive at Mt Lyford ski area and Lodge to stop for coffee, but the Lodge is closed and now up for sale. We drive through the town of Mouse Point, enter the Kaikoura District, over Humbug Stream, drive past several wineries and glimpse snow on distant mountains.
Lunch at “The Store Cafe” in Kekerengu is a BLAT for Howard (a bacon, lettuce and tomato plus avocado) and mine a Thai fish cake with a bowl of fresh vegetables and a pot of tea. Several of us eat outside on this beautiful sunshiny day and
have an almost perfect view over the South Pacific ocean.
We get just a glimpse of the Saltworks, (tours only in March), which produces salt for tanning hides, cheese making, salt licks and for food.
Kaikoura (we just can’t pronounce these Maori names), where the Coastal Route begins for us, is a large seaside town where whaling, once the main source of income for the town, came to an end in 1964. We prefer not to stop at one of several fresh crayfish shops along the coastal road and miss the seal colony because, as usual, we’re running late and are next to last driving into the Campground.
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