We hit Highway 1 and headed south down the East coast of South Island, one of us driving, the other one nursing a fractured wrist in plaster and popping pain killers. We spent all morning dipping in and out of the coast, enjoying the stunning scenery and stopping for the obligatory flat whites and sausage rolls. We spotted Fur Seals at Paparoah Point. Not difficult, as this is New Zealand’s largest colony with over 1000 animals.
By lunch time we were at the popular tourist destination of Kaikoura. We strolled down the high street and called in at the Pharmacy to buy some bandage tape. From this point on, concerned kiwis were constantly asking me what I had done. Pharmacists are greatly underestimated professionals in the UK I feel, but in NZ they are the go-to fountains of knowledge and I have never met one who did not go above and beyond. This one examined the bandage critically with his eyes, prescribed the correct tape, told me to keep it tight and wished me well with a cheerful smile.
We meandered past the many wildlife watching windows on the street inviting us to a helicopter or plane flight, or to take part in any number of energetic activities involving the sea or the mountains. The Kaikoura peninsular is situated close to the deep Hikurangi Trench and is famous for the wildlife, particularly dolphins and whales, that come here to feed on the teeming marine life. People come from all over the world to enjoy the spectacle. We had not planned a boat expedition this time, but I had been with Offspring No 2 some years before and it was a wonderful defining experience.
We saw sperm whales diving and hundreds of dolphins flashing along beside the boat and leaping in the sun. Hubby gets seasick and he had declined on that occasion. At least – I thought it was because of the seasickness, but it might have been cost sickness. Now, he suddenly decided that money did not matter and maybe he would give it a go. However, at Whale Watch Kaikoura it is impossible to book on a whim. The trip is so popular that it must be booked in advance. Because of our schedule we were only there for one day, so we left feeling sad, although I was not at all sure how I was going to hold on or wear a life jacket in my less than perfect physical condition. Perhaps another time. Don’t miss it if you visit. Bother the money.
Instead we explored the peninsular and walked on the beautiful shore, before finding our next accommodation. The Blue Seas Hotel was opposite the beach and had a laundry. Both were much appreciated, although the laundry experience was blighted by that pesky tissue that sneaked in the wash and covered the clothes with paper crumbs.
We finished our evening at a local tavern with huge bowls of chowder (easily eaten with a spoon!), and sat on our little terrace to enjoy the cool of the evening.
Christchurch was calling again.