I was about 22 years old when I was last in Kaikoura - just a few years ago! I travelled down on the train from Picton. I actually remember that train ride really well, as I was reading a novel that was so sad I couldn't stop crying!! Sobbing! Then laughing knowing the rest of the train would be looking at me wondering why I was so upset, then bursting into tears again. Shame I can't remember the book. Back then all Kaikoura had was a cafe and a railway station. The train actually stopped at the cafe and we had enough time to get a coffee and something to eat. Coffee was only instant back then too, nobody knew about cappachino's and flat whites or anything like that. I feel old.
Now Kaikoura is a bustling seaside town with a population of 3485 (2001 census) that has grown really quickly. A place where tourists, both national and international, stop to go swimming with the seals, whale watching, swimming with dolphins, helicopter rides, you name it if you want eco-tourism and adventure, this is the place to be.
The town boasts hotels, bars, pubs, restaurants, supermarkets, art gallerys and is brightly coloured and has a lovely fun feel to it.
This photo was taken just south of the town looking back towards Kaikoura. Kaikoura itself is to the left of the bay. The mountains were spectacular.
At the point was an interesting chimney, all that was left standing. The original building now obviously reclaimed by the sea, and would make a great bbq area in summer :)
Kaikoura itself, with the mountains in the background. The same mountain range as the in first image.
The town was full of brightly painted buildings and buildings painted with Murals...
And like any town or city - they have graffiti artists!
We picked a Thai restaurant to have lunch which was offering a $10 menu, and we all ordered a glass of wine. Lots of laughter as per usual, and I had to drink most of Carol's wine as well as she was driving. That was so hard too!
After lunch Carol drove us up to a lookout point so we can view the whole town in all directions. I used a program called autopano pro to stitch these two images together in one, and to give you an idea of the layout of the town. Those small dots on the water are boats. The weather was clouding over and looking to rain. It was so cold that on the way down I said to Carol it felt like it was going to snow. Two seconds later it started hailing!!
Carol wanted to stop at the quilting shop as it was a good one, before we headed back to Blenheim, so while the others were browsing in the shop I found another interesting building nearby that was the local drama club hall. Once again, it was brightly painted. The murals seemed to keep to the theme of the town.
It actually started pouring with the rain this image - I guess you can tell by the colour of the sky! So I joined the others in the quilt shop. I bought a quilt pattern to do when I finish the other quilt I have started. The problem is I don't have a sewing machine so it all needs to be done by hand. It takes so long. I think a sewing machine might be on the cards to purchase.
We ended up in the quilt shop for far too long and we suddenly realised it was getting late, and that we would have to skidaddle to be home in time for Carol's kids coming home from school. So we literally flew out the door back to the Landrover. I was quite sad to leave Kaikoura, it's a place that really needs more time than a few hours to explore. There's museums, seal swimming, whale watching, quilt shops, and a whole other host of things to see and do. We've decided to go back next year but have one overnighter there as well.
The drive home was uneventful, and Carol very politely stopped the car several times so I could photograph a few more things that I had seen on the way down. Like this Crayfish shop at Waipapa Bay... (yum)
And a very interesting Church. The sea is directly behind it but hidden by the trees.
The rest of the photos were grab shots as we were on the road...
And yet more Grapevines...
And the last image is the winery just up the road from Carol which I did a grab shot because the sun was on it - not a terribly good image, but it's the Grove Mill Winery, and thats the building where I bought my crate of wine from!!!
We arrived home not too late, had dinner in the form of a toasted sandwich, said goodbye to Alexandra and Jimmi-Zac, then we headed to the first of our Garden Tours from Hunters Garden Marlborough - the Christmas tour where all the houses are dressed up for Christmas.