This was such a great day - but it would take forever to write it up with all the photographs, so I'm going to split it into three parts. Part 1 - the trip down. Part 2 - the Seals of Kaikoura, and Part 3 Kaikoura itself.
The morning was crisp and clear - blue blue sky - but it had snowed overnight on the ranges so it was very cold too. But South Island weather is fantastic - cold crisp weather but fantastic blue skies and sunshine. It's what I really like about down South, compared to Auckland where often humidity is part and parcel of the blue skies, especially over summer.
We loaded up the landrover with Carol (our driver, Alexandra and Nikki in the back seat, Me the wounded walking in the front with Carol, and Jimmi-zac in the boot. Well - not really - he was in a little seat in the back part.
The scenery going down was fascinating. I wanted to stop and take photos every five minutes but realy held myself in check - partly because my leg was so sore, and partly becuase I know how annoying it can be if others aren't photographically inclined. So my first photo was way after the Awatere Valley, past Seddon, and when we hit the coast. Over the hill and Wham - look at this view...
I hopped out of the car and went down the bank a bit (and hurt my leg in doing so), but I wanted the shot so didn't care about my leg. The train tracks go all the way down the coast to Kaikoura and in summer they have an open carriage so people can get the fresh sea air, take photos and generally drink in the view. The colour of the water was amazing. My friends were a bit concerned I got so close to the train tracks so Nikki got out of the car and looked the other way in case a train came suddenly around the corner and I didn't hear it. To see what she means - I did take a shot of the view behind...
It's nice to know your friends don't want you to be killed by an oncoming train. Not just yet anyway!!! Here's that view again on a slightly different angle. I could have just sat here all day - the sun was warm, the breeze was gorgeous, and those mountains in the distance shone!
I finally managed to pull myself away and climb back into the Landrover. As we drove down the coast my eyes were just glued to the views - it was simply stunning. We stopped for coffee not far from here at the Kekerengi Store. A beautiful cafe set in gorgeous gardens right on the beach...
Here we are getting our caffeine fix - From left to right is Nikki, then Alexandra, then Carol. I likened our road trip to the movie Thelma and Louise and confessed that I would love to blow up a petrol tanker like on the movie. Carol expressed that she wished she had known about that desire BEFORE we set off because she would have left me at home!! No sense of adventure! Sigh!
Despite being on crutches - I climbed down those stairs to look up at the Cafe and to look around on the beach. The pain was worth it!!! What a magical place - so peaceful. The coffee was fabulous too. Well worth the stop there.
This is what the Cafe looked like from the gardens - apparently they hold weddings there. I'm not surprised at all as it's a perfect setting.
This is the view from the carpark as we left the store. There's nothing quite so majestic as a mountain peak covered in snow. A bit further down the road I made Carol stop again for another few pics...
How could I resist? However, parked behind us was a truck full of sheep/lambs about to go off to the meatworks. I went over to take a closer look, and took one last photo of them. Quite sad really - they looked at me in the eyes and begged me to let them go - I was sorely tempted!
But then again - my favourite meal is Roast Lamb with Roast Spuds and Gravy.. Yum!
We carried on down the coast until we were approximately ten minutes from Kaikoura when Carol started pointing out the seals on the rocks. I couldn't see any - all looked like rocks to me - so she then pulled over into a rest area. Wild NZ Fur Seals!!!!! A photographers dream. At this point I would have been quite happy to stay there on my own, with the rest of the crew going on to Kaikoura, to pick me up on the way home!!!