ferry back to Welly

I’m back in London fighting with sleep and will give up as soon as I post this entry.

I thought I should finish the story. Will it have a happy ending?

FRIDAY, 18th November

The bus from Christchurch to Picton via Kaikoura was late, but when I saw the driver, all was forgiven. Graham jumped off the bus and asked me “No pie?”, so I was kinda obliged to go and buy one, since we had still some spare time before the departure. I tried a seafood pie, which was really good with pieces of crabs, shrimps, but I didn’t like the mussel bit.

I was really happy that I could take my last trip on the South Island together with Graham. It was our 4th ride and just felt right. The road was along the coast and it was so beautiful. We passed seals playing in the Ocean or having a rest on the rocks. There were many road works on the way, which were making the bus late, but I trusted that Graham would get us safely and before my ferry to Wellington departs.

The vineyards of Marlborough

We were late about 20 minutes, but it was early enough to board the ferry on time.

Picton

Awesome weather for passing The Marlborough Sounds and Cook Strait.

When we were getting closer to Cook Strait, it started to rain.

Goodbye, the South Island!

Hello, Wellington!

After getting off the ferry and going out to the streets of Wellington, I got a headache from the noise of the traffic. I wasn’t aware how quiet the South Island was until I left it. That was the only moment when I didn’t like Wellington.

I took the shuttle from the terminal to the Railway Station and from there I went to the backpackers. This time I stayed at Lodge in the City on Taranaki Street; only $15 for a bed in a 10 bed dorm room. It wasn’t very tragic, but the kitchen was a real mess and it was a party hostel. I went to find some peace in the library, but when I came back in the evening, no one in the dining room was eating. They were drinking. When I went to bed, there was only one more person sleeping in my room, the rest of the guys were somewhere on Cuba Street.

Kaikoura

THURSDAY, 17th November

Kaikoura has 200 sunny days a year, so I wasn’t worried that I would have a bad weather when I visit that place.

A new driver took me from Christchurch, so I started missing Graham. We left the Canterbury plains and crossed the hills. Some of them were so much covered with yellow flowers that they looked like made of gold.

When we left the hills behind, the rest of the journey was along the beautiful coast. I arrived in Kaikoura after 9:30 am. My hostel was in the town centre, close to the bus stop. On a map there was a short walkway from the bus to the hostel, but somehow I had ignored “Churchill” word. I had to climb an exhausting steep hill to get to my hostel, Dolphin Lodge Backpackers, which I highly recommend after all.

A view from the walkway. Photo taken after I had dropped off my bag.

I checked in but my bed wasn’t ready yet, so I left my bag in the lounge and went to the iSite to take a map of the peninsula and book a Whale Watch cruise at 4 pm. The walk around Kaikoura peninsula can take about 3-3.5 hrs, so I thought it would be safe to book the whales little later.

After buying something to eat in the local shop and having a light lunch back in the hostel, I started my walk at about 12:30 pm.

Would you be interested in having a picnic here?

Or buying a house by the beach?

Fyffe House, an early whalers cottage. Admission $9. I didn’t go, because of money and time.

There were some distractions on the way. I didn’t mind spending money and time on that!

Kai koura in Maori means ‘eat crayfish’ and there were many restaurants in town serving fresh sea food including the local specialty, but the whole crayfish cost about $50 or you could order a half for $25, so I thought that maybe next time. But I wanted to try paua. One of the travelers I’d met said that it was good and I hadn’t known that paua was not only a beautiful shell, but you could eat the inside. So I had a go and it was for $9. Paua has black and hard meat, so it’s smashed and fried with onion, egg etc. I felt lame and like a Japanese tourist taking a photo of food, so appreciate this.

This seal is not dead

They were everywhere!

Pint Kean Seal Colony

Some photos from the walk. Is it Switzerland? No, still New Zealand.

More picnic spots.

I was back at my hostel after 3 pm, had enough time to have some rest and pack a jacket, because I suspected it might be windy on the open ocean when we would be looking for whales.

At 4 pm I was at the Whale Watch Centre, paid for the cruise ($145 and if you don’t see a whale you get 80% back). At 4:30 pm we were officially welcomed and told that there had been one sperm whale spotted that day and if anyone would like to resign and not to go now, he or she could have their money back. But no one changed their mind. We watched safety instructions first, then we got on a bus and were taken to the South Bay to hop on a cruise boat.

We drove by the boat for about an hour to get to the Canyon where whales and other sea animals usually come for food. In the meantime our guide told us some interesting facts about those beautiful sea mammals. When we got to the spot, there was already one more boat with the earlier group. They were waiting for the whale to come up to the water surface, because they had heard him through the sonar that it had been hunting on the bottom of the canyon and now they couldn’t hear anything and that meant it was coming up to get some oxygen. We waited for about 10-15 minutes, when it finally came up. We drove closer.

For about 5-10 minutes we could see the top of its huge head (the whale was the size of our boat, 18 m), hear its breathing and when it took the breath for the last time before going down for another hour of hunting, we saw its beautiful tail.

So unique. I felt privileged to see it.

Going back to the backpackers, awesome wall art.

I still can’t get into the Christmas mood, even when I started to see Christmas decorations everywhere in the middle of November.