13th and 14th September (and a bit more)
Kaikoura! The home of whales. This is it. We will surely finally get to see a whale or two?
Due to poor weather conditions and the futile state of our health the next few days were slightly uneventful.
The next stop was the infamous Kairkora, renowned as being one of the best places to spot whales. It had been top of both our lists, and most of the tour books had promised that there was a 90% chance of seeing a whale!
Not for us apparently. upon boarding the bus, again with the fantastic Tutu at Christchurch (surprise!), we were promptly told that the sea was far too rough and the whales were beginning to migrate back out to sea and that there was a very high chance that whale watching would be cancelled. So, no whales for us. We would be part of the exclusive club of 1% who didn’t even get the chance to contemplate boarding a boat, let alone seeing one of the great mammals.
So…no whales in Kaikoura. That’s OK I’m sure this town is home to plenty more fun things to do. Right? Wrong again.
Feeling pretty depressed Tutu attempted to cheer us up by promising a game of mini golf, if the weather was good, which he had already told us it would not be.
In classic Tutu style, he got it wrong. We drove along the east coast of NZ’s South Island gazing out onto, what I can only describe, as a mill pond. Dead still water. And bright sunshine. Still no whales.
We stopped briefly off to see some seals. There was a sea lion amongst the mass of seals, which was massive. We also had a quick look at some seals playing in a waterfall which was so cute.
Off again on the bus. Kaikora is a pretty small coastal town, and it’s quite pretty. It resembles a Cornish town, with lots of little independent, boutiquey shops and lots of cafés. We settled for fish and chips for lunch, not cod but NZ’s own ‘yellow shark’, although we were informed it was not real shark. Then to the hostel to decide on the afternoons activities as whale watching was still off despite the sunny weather and apparently calm ocean.
We opted for a wander around town and, as the clouds finally started to close in, chose to look after our health and settle down for a quiet night in.
A fellow Stray passenger Paul, a 40 year old man, provided the nights entertainment by telling us all that we were ‘ruined’ at life as we were travelling and then busying himself with booking a helicopter from Wellington to Auckland to meet a ‘friend’.
We also entered into a discussion with some Kiwi Experience travellers (Stray’s revival) about how good Stray was. Amazingly, and quite rightly, they ended up agreeing that Stray was superior. They would be heading to Wellington the next day too.
Bed. Ready for the journey back to the North Island. Not looking forward to saying goodbye to the South.
Tutu’s objective for the next day was to get us to the ferry port, so we didn’t really get the opportunity to stop anywhere. Before we knew it we were back on the ferry heading to the North Island and Wellington was beginning to come back into view. We picked Gerhard, and his family, up again on the ferry and arranged to meet that evening for a couple of drinks.
There were three Stray buses coming into Nomads that night so a ‘couple’ of drinks was never going to be an option. Ever. Thanks guys for a great evening, and so long Tutu you were a fab driver and we had so much fun. Enjoy Asia!