NZ South Island and Picturesque Picton

February 11, 2019

Monday 11th February 

Laying on the beach in Kaikoura.-South island. New Zealand. Hot sun. Had a swim in the Pacific Ocean again. did we get here. ? Well we crossed on the ferry from Wellington to Picton. 

We were a little early for the ferry as we were only a short distance away and found ourselves first in the queue. The handy thing about Maureen the Maui Mercedes Motorhome (other motorhomes are available!) is that we just put the kettle on, make cup of coffee and make a snack whilst waiting alongside the very large Wellington harbour. Very pleasant indeed. The ferry crossing is 3.5 hours- your standard cross channel ferry really EXCEPT..WOW…. entering Picton the ferry spends the last hour sailing through channels like fjords, left and right threading our way to what appears to be a tiny village in the far reaches of these fjords (not sure of the definition of fjord but we had huge mountains either side through quite a narrow channel-does that qualify?)

It was windy but very sunny and warm so we stayed up on deck at the pointy end with our feet up as we slowly cruised in, watching our first ever albatrosses soaring overhead. Photos were taken but cannot do it justice. Superb. Loved it. Another highlight of the trip. 

Picton Ferry

We camped overnight in a site nearby which was ok. Chance for us all to shower and wash/straighten my hair (!) etc. 

Yesterday we drove south on State Highway 2 down the east coast. We have eventually made a plan which involves whale watching on the east coast before heading across country to the west for the mountains. The roads to here (Kaikoura) are terrific and as everywhere here, very scenic as we passes the Southern Alps (with a tiny bit of snow on top) on our right and the Pacific Ocean (deep blue and turquoise) on our left. Luvverly. Temperatures are constant at about 25 and bright sun through the day and a comfortable 16 I guess overnight. Bliss. 

The highway has a lot of construction along this area due to massive earthquake damage in 2016 amazingly. Must have been a right mess. 

We stopped for a short break at a viewpoint overlooking the sea and were amazed to be directly above a colony of seals. Hundreds of them along the rocks and shoreline and some huge ones. All within 50 metres of us. Awesome. 

So..anyway we arrived at Kaikoura in preparation for whale watching but couldn’t get a space until Tuesday on the boat so have decided a couple of days free of travel is good. Using the Maiu app online we have found a site which is just $20 for the night. There is nothing here but a field and some drinking water but we are alongside a quay with a view across to the mountains, the sea in front and a pub 20feet away..bliss. 

Also. Stars. …Lots of stars over here. Shame we don’t get many in the UK..! 

We are struggling a bit with the free camping setup here. In fact the whole camping thing is not straightforward. If one wants to do the authorised free camping places one feels like sheep being herded (flocked..!) to the same places and rammed (see what I did there..?!) together. Cheap sites are erm.. cheap but you don’t get anything but a bit of land and maybe water and a toilet. The more expensive $30 per night have lots more obviously. One is discouraged with signage not to camp in many exciting looking areas. Don’t think it is illegal but it feels wrong and therefore it is avoided. We will have to try more options. We are doing pretty well but feel there are better sites away from the sheep pens. ..

Off for lunch now. Whale watching tomorrow. Tiz beautiful. 

Did you know..

The Moon looks different in the Southern Hemisphere than it does in the Northern Hemisphere. That’s because folk in the Northern Hemisphere view the Moon upside down. Really..?! 

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