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Published: August 8th 2007
Leaving Christchurch for Kaikora, Liz and I left Sarah and Mickey in bed as our journey deviated from there's for the next few days. The bus ride seemed short, stopping only for the usual morning tea/coffee stop and once again to look at some seals that were basking on the rocks on the shore, next to the road. When we got to our hostel (Dusky lodge- after the Dusky dolphins that are local to the area) we were not disappointed. It had a swimming pool, a spa, a sauna, even a bakery (free cakes in the afternoon) and a Thai restaurant next door with very reasonably priced food.
After ringing the whale watch centre, the main reason for going to Kaikora, we discovered it was cancelled that day due to rough seas, so we booked on the next days trip and enjoyed a relaxed day walking round the little town, sampling its fish and chips and looking in the little shops. In the evening we decided we should probably start to do something about our haemorrhaging bank accounts and eat in, saving a few pennies.
* A little note about Hostel cooking for you now: What doesn't
kill you will make you stronger. I am more than surprised I am still alive after cooking/eating in these places, they are the scummiest places on earth and if you are cooking between 6pm and 8pm you will be lucky to even secure a tea spoon for your self as they are heaving.
This night we were fighting with young, German men for cooking equipment but we eventually made our dinner (that wasn't pasta for a change) and hit the sac for our early whale watch.
Next morning I rang the whale watch place and thankfully it was still on. We made some sandwiches, and took them with us but I had eaten all mine before we got there. We watched a bit of a dvd about the whales and then boarded the ship. From the off set a Korean lady sitting near was having problems with sea sickness, we were warned about this but most people were fine. Our guide, a Maori born guy who knew all there was to now about the whales was great, very informative with tonnes of facts. After a couple of false starts we were told to get outside and before we
knew it we were watching a giant sperm whale. The crew on the ship had done this so many times that they could tell you exactly when to get you camera ready for a fabulous tale shot which I got. We were out on the water for about an hour and we were lucky to see 3 giant sperm whales. But unfortunately all this trip has done is to spark my passions to see more whales as the sperm whales were just amazing. Kaikora also offer a flight over the sea so you can actually see how big these huge creatures are from above which I would love to do.
The afternoon was again spent at our own leisure which was so nice after the hectic few weeks we'd had and after cooking in and doing laundry we spent a chilled out eve at the hostel.
The next day and we were heading to Picton, the port where people get the ferry across to the north Island. However we had decided to visit Nelson, just up from Picton so we got dropped off by the magic bus in the tiny but sweet town of Picton and caught a
regular shuttle to Nelson. The driver of the shuttle was very kind and dropped us off at our hostel called Paradiso- which actually- as you will hear- turned out to be more like hell.
The hostel is marketed as having a swimming pool, spa and sauna and again Thai food that is delivered to the hostel nightly at a good price. As we pulled up looking pretty manky and dishevelled we passed rows of gorgeous young females lines up on sun beds next to the pool in tiny bikinis. So we promptly left the hostel for less annoying sights in the town. Here we unfortunately stumbled across the sales- after leaving Liz one shop to check something out in another shop I returned to find her with armfuls of sale clothes. To cut a long story short we disgracefully bought three items between us which really was terrible but realistically could have been lots worse.
After this we headed for a pub for a quick drink and something to eat then on to the strangely named, Christ Church cathedral that is set in a beautiful garden amongst some very old trees. Very pretty. The Maori name for the
hill that the church is set on is Pikimai which means, 'climb up here'. Next we went headed to South Street, the oldest fully preserved street in New Zealand before hitting the pub for live music and many beers.
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