Well they said if you like the scenery in ...

Trip Start Sep 19, 2002
Trip End Sep 22, 2003

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Flag of New Zealand  ,
Thursday, October 31, 2002

Well they said "If you like the scenery in the north island - you'll love the south" and it is soo true! The mountains are bigger and the grenery more lush than we ever thought possible. After showering at the terminal ($2 - most expensive shower we ever had) we bimbled around Picton for a couple of hours and had chups (no fush as we are economising) on the waterfront. Picton is a very quaint seaside town but very quiet as the summer is still not here yet. I managed to find a haberdashery and spent ages milling about and wishing it was my shop and I managed to come away with a cross stitch of a kiwi (my first cross stitch purchase of the trip!)

After getting my very yucky dressing changed and causing a commotion in the doctors because of the mess, we headed for a camp site. We twisted and turned around the narrowest steepest roads and eventually came across the sign for the site we were aiming for. The sign pointed to a tiny, steep and narrow walkway so we had to abandon that idea and made out way to another DOC (Dept of conservation) site that was allegedly fully serviced. The views were stunning and we looked out over the bay in Queen Charlotte Sound to the bluest sea and the mountains beyond that looked like they were cardboard cut outs. The evening turned exceptionally cold and when we eventually plucked up courage to try and get up I fully expected to see snow on the ground. Instead we were treated to a gorgeous blue sky that quickly turned warm and sunny.

We headed South along the coastal road to even better scenery and travelled very close to the water's edge. We spotted a seal colony and stopped for lunch (sandwiches not seals). When we took the photos and counted them up, there must have been over 50 alltogether including some young ones, all in the space of about 20 metres basking on the rocks and having a wash or two.

Further along we passed some caravans selling fresh crayfish but we didn't stop as it would have been too tempting and we don't have the tools to get the meat out!

Kaikoura itself is the most beautiful place. On the road if you look left the sea is stripey dark blue, light blue and mint green as though painted with a ruler and looking right there are fabulous snow capped mountains. We could even see these mountains from our van when we parked up for the night! Luckily it wasn't so cold but it was still chilly and again the morning blossomed into a sunny day which should give the right conditions for the whale watching trip we have booked for ourselves this afternoon.

In preparation we walked along the beach this morning and again it's full of little grey pebbles looking like smarties. Occasionally though we found a white stone, smooth and shiny like an egg - weird amongst all the grey but perfect for painting if you were so inclined (except Phil who never painted a pebble in his youth - ahhh).

We'll let you know how the whale watching went really soon,

Pip and Red
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