New Zealand / Travel

Coastal Kaikoura: Our First South Island Stop

Our first stop on our tour of the South Island was Kaikoura. Our ferry crossing was fairly calm, and the views of the Marlborough Sounds were spectacular, even though it was a bit of a cloudy day. We were on the way down to Christchurch, which is where we were meeting Clare, Toby’s mum, and her partner, Tim, for their two week holiday of the South Island. On the way we stopped in Kaikoura for a couple of nights. We had originally planned to camp, but a ferocious deluge on our first day put us right off that idea. We chickened out and booked into a hostel.

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Kaikoura is mainly famous for two things, it’s crayfish (which is in fact the town’s namesake with ‘Kai’ meaning food, and ‘Koura’ meaning crayfish in Maori), and it’s marine wildlife. Although we didn’t fork out for a boat ride to see whales, or to swim with dolphins, we did get to see lots of New Zealand fur seals, and they were adorable. Just before we arrived in Kaikoura we stopped off at Ohau Point Seal Colony, a breeding ground for fur seals, where all the baby seals were swimming around, playing and snoozing at the foot of the nearby Ohau waterfall.

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The next morning we woke to partly blue skies, so we hoped the worst had passed. We had planned to go on a 3 hour walk around the Kaikoura peninsula, and as the lady who owned the hostel was convinced we had seen the last of the rain, we set off. The walk was beautiful – what an introduction to the South Island! We started off waking away from the small town centre along the sea front, then we climbed upwards following the path up the cliff for stunning 360 degree views (both out to sea and up towards the Seawood Kaikoura range). Our walk took us along many bays and past another seal colony. I had to keep stopping to take more and more photos, with every corner we turned bringing another great view.

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We returned back to the hostel exhausted and hungry, but had thoroughly enjoyed breathing in the salty sea air and admiring the awesome scenery. Although it’s only a small town, I’d say Kaikoura is definitely a must-visit.

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