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Published: November 13th 2011
Tuesday morning we left Mark n Tracey’s in Christchurch and set off to Kaikoura for a couple of days. The drive to Kaikoura is a lovely scenic setting of the hills and then the east coastline. We arrived at our hostel for the night the ‘Sunrise Lodge’ which was very nice, then unpacked and drove to the seal colony and watched the seals lazing around the rocks, then wandered around town for a few hours. At night we decided to go to one of the caravans on the bay for a seafood snack of scallop and whitebait patties then chilled back in the hostel. We had a 3 bed dorm to ourselves all day, and then just before reception shut at 8pm the owner came in the room with a very smelly Frenchman and booked him in the other bed. To be fair, he was a nice friendly guy, but the minute he opened his backpack, the stench was unbearable and we had to leave the room for a bit (it knocked Jen sick!) before returning and chilling around the hostel watching films on the laptop.
The next day we checked out of the Sunrise Lodge hostel and went to
the Adelphi hotel on the main road, as they were offering discounted rates for double rooms and we wanted our own space again. The Adelphi wasn’t as nice, but was very spacious and had a tv in the room. Once we checked in, Nick from the ‘Koura fishing’ tours picked us up. Nick had a prosthetic metal leg from knee down and had all his fingers missing on one hand, but we were too nervous too ask! Nick took us to Gerry’s house - the owner of Koura fishing. The house was on the Ocean front and was lovely. Gerry was a very nice man, and made us feel at ease, asking if we needed anything before we set off.
Around 9.30am we set off in the boat to the beach front, where Nick was following with the tractor to wheel us into the ocean. The experience was amazing, we set off full speed into the Ocean, feeling nervous about seasickness, and also the thought of getting stuck in the middle of the Ocean. Once we were far enough out, they drove us to some buoys in the middle of the ocean, and started to wheel them onto the
boat. The 1st cage that came up had 3 spiny tailed lobster (crayfish) in it, and Gerry and Nick, just looked at each other and said ’bloody burglars’. Apparently the fisherman steal each others pods and then just lower them again. Fortunately when we lifted the 2nd pod which the boat struggled to lift making me and Jen very uneasy, it was full of around 50 Crayfish!!! (see pic). Nick then showed us the females with eggs attached and threw the females back, and then measured the others to see if they were o.k. to take. I couldn’t believe it when we only had around 9 legal crayfish to take from around 50, but was happy when Gerry explained we would have 1 each to take home and the rest for the freezer.
After the crayfish pods, we went further into the ocean to do some fishing. Nick had been doing the trip 8 years and had even seen 3 Great White sharks, whereas Gerry had been doing it 40 years and had seen just about everything. We were only there for 1hr and caught 18 fish between us, and before you ask it was 9 each, even though
Jen took an early lead. ha-ha. As we caught them, Nick was filleting the sea perch and putting them in a bag, which we found out later was for us to keep for lunch, tea etc. The experience of the whole trip was one of the best ever, and we couldn’t believe it when Gerry shouted ‘Look out Daz’ and a giant Albatross landed right next to the boat and was waiting for Nick to throw the scraps of fish too it. It was only around 5 minutes later that the boat was surrounded by these gigantic birds, that people pay hundreds of dollars too see from a cliff edge, and we got up close and personal with them for the price of the fishing trip $85.
When we got back from the trip, we were invited back to Gerry’s around 4pm with some beers for the crayfish, so me and Jen went back to the hostel and cooked our sea perch with some cous cous. We had over 15 fillets so we ate 3 each and gave the rest to the other travellers there. We went back to Gerry’s with beers at 4pm but he had to pop
to the dentist so left us to look after his house (!) - honestly never met anyone so trusting! We chatted to one of the stray drivers that was there - Wozza and when Gerry returned, we all sat drinking for a couple of hours and found out that Nick who was with us earlier fishing had actually lost his leg and fingers to a shark in Australia when he was 18. We got told that he was spear fishing with his uncle when a shark attacked him and he tried to push the shark away and lost his fingers as well as his leg, apparently his Uncle saved his life. Glad he told us once we were back on the land!
The next day we set off for ‘Hanmer Springs’. We stayed in a hostel called ‘Hanmers Backpackers’ which was a lovely place, although beds were very uncomfortable! After we checked in, we went to the Hanmer Springs thermal pools as Jen had found an offer of $20 for the pair of us, which is normally £50+. When we walked in, there was just loads of relaxing hot pools ranging from 26 to 40 degrees Celsius, so we
just lazed around all day in and out of different pools.
Bank holiday Friday in NZ we headed back to Christchurch and had a nice tea and chilled out as we had another big trip the next day. We set off to Devils Punchbowl track in ‘Arthur’s Pass’ and went for a walk up to the waterfalls which was really scenic (see pics) After the walk, we had a picnic, and drove to Castle Hill which was lots of land covered in huge limestone boulders, so as you can imagine, I went back to being a kid, and climbed up and down them ha-ha. That night we all chilled out with a Turkish takeaway and played on the Xbox live games on the kinect which was so funny!
Sunday was spent with a big lie-in (not too sure when we’ll next get a double bed as its back to bunk bed dorms in Asia!) and basically spent the day washing and packing for the next chapter of our trip… Singapore and Malaysia!
So seven weeks in New Zealand has finally come to an end. It has flown by but in some ways seemed to last a lifetime.
We will miss this place so much.. it really is a home from home, just like the UK, but tons better!
I don’t think we’ll appreciate all the places we’ve been until we look back on it all when we get home. Its been pretty hardcore with activities and sightseeing and trips and hikes and all sorts.. Its just overwhelming the amount of things we’ve done and the amazing people we’ve met - we’ll never forget you NZ.. Thanks for the memories! We’ll be back!!!!!!!!!
TTFN folks xxxx
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