New Zealand…day 13 Kaikoura & Fur Seals

Before leaving Hanmer Springs we asked the owners of our accommodation which was the best route to follow to get to Kaikoura which was approx 135kms or 1.5 hrs drive away.  They told us there are two possible routes, both taking much the same amount of time but one more scenic than the other.  We chose the more scenic route and were warned the roads are more twisty but worth it.

Well we certainly underestimated the ‘scenic route’.  There were so many twists and turns it became very uncomfortable very quickly.  We had only travelled 25 of the 135 kms and were over it.  Yes the scenery was beautiful but it lots its beauty because of the constant turning of the roads.  I had taken ginger tablets and Mum had bought some wrist bands that reduce car-sickness but neither was very effective.  One and a half hours later, when the road straightened, we stopped at a roadhouse to buy some lunch to settle our stomachs.  Even Dad wasn’t feeling comfortable and he was the driver.  We realised we were just outside Kaikoura but it didn’t matter.  We felt refreshed after having something to eat and completed the drive into the town of Kaikoura.

Kaikoura is a small town on the east coast of NZ, nestled between the tallest mountains on the east coast and the ocean.  We checked in to our apartment, Waves on the Esplanade http://www.kaikouraapartments.co.nz/ which is opposite the beach.  Each apartment has a view of the beach and mountains.  It was going to be a very relaxing to sit on the balcony later that night and enjoy the view.

After checking in we went for a drive to the ISite (visitor centre) to find out what we could do in the town.  We found that there was a lookout at the back of the town so drove up there.  It was only when we were up there that we realised we could see the other side of the peninsula that Kaikoura is built on.  Captain Cook thought this was an island and I could see why.

Our next stop was Peninsula Seal Colony, about 5-10 mins drive out of town.  The tide was out and we thought we wouldn’t see any or many fur seals.  However we found some sleeping on the rocks at the base of the mountain.  There were only two but they were very cute and lazily sleeping their way through the day, I assumed, waiting for the tide to come back in to the water.  The one in the photo below woke up while we were watching him and stretched, yawned and turned over, made himself comfortable and went back to sleep.

Back at our apartment we decided to rest and enjoy the view from our balcony.

Dinner was a simple fish and chips at a shop that looked very busy compared to the other one over the road.  We had to wait about 20 mins which is always a sign that they are doing well given the number of staff they had.  It looked like a lot of people were regulars which again is always a good sign.  After dinner Mum and I went for a walk to check out the beach.  It looked like it was gray sand but as we got closer we realised they were small rocks similar to what can be found on English beaches.  It was the first time I’d seen such a beach.

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