Sunday, 22 February 2009

Welcome to the Beautiful South

This morning, we boarded the 8.30am Interislander ferry from Wellington (North Island) to Picton (South Island) in our hire car. We crossed Cook Strait and entered the South Island via Queen Charlotte Sound. The views were great, but it was a little too windy to stay on the deck for more than five minutes.

We drove out of Picton in a long queue of cars that had disembarked from the ferry. Almost immediately, we started seeing mountain ranges all around us. We knew we'd arrived somewhere special. First it was gentle hills, then more dramatic mountains as we drove further south. There were also numerous vineyards and wineries.

Reaching the east coast, we saw our first dramatic NZ beach. It was covered in dark grey pebbles and had massive waves breaking on it. The sea was a blend of turquoise and dark blue colour. For friends with wood burning stoves, the beach had a substantial amount of driftwood.

In the afternoon, we reached our destination for the day, Kaikoura peninsula - a superb base for whale watching (which we'll do once St John arrives). We did a walk around the headland and saw fur seals, cormorants and seagulls. To our surprise, the paths were dotted with thistles – Scotland's national flower. In our book, the first part of the walk was described as suitable for wheelchair users although we're not quite sure. The steep, winding downhill path (see right of picture) had a steep cliff on one side and no safety barrier.

We got totally beached out, as our camping spot for the night is on yet another beach just south of Kaikoura town. Jen caught Andy on camera on the way to the internet café. Life's a beach, eh! While investigating the holiday park, we came across this 'impressive rig' as one camper described it. Wish we were staying in it...


Jon said...

Looks amazing. I'm officially really jealous again. Of course I shouldn't be, I just came back from the Greek mountains where I had the flu for three days. So that was fun.

Regards to the elves (not the Santa ones, the LOTR ones).

We're very much looking forward to seeing you both on your return.

Anonymous said...

Glad you have arrived safely, scenery looks impressive.

Watch out for Orcs as well, they are not so good (LOTR).

Love from Mum & Dad

DAvid said...

More rain, more rain!!

auntie Liz said...

Looks wonderful.

I could put up with the weather if I were there instead of here !!!

Happy camping.

Love from auntie Liz xx xx