Kia Ora, Kaikoura

Trip Start Feb 26, 2010
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Trip End Feb 26, 2011


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Where I stayed
Free Camping in a field with a compost toilet

Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Monday, October 18, 2010

Well perhaps we haven't said too much about Maori culture, they have a language consisting of 14 letters (all like our letters though not like Cryllic or anything). Us middle aged English folk all know the term Kia Ora it was a type of mixed fruit juice back in the 80’s. It is however Maori for Hello, Good Health, Long Life amongst many other typical phrases as we have really enjoyed using it with the Maori folk on North Island. The other thing you quickly need to figure out here is to get ready for lots of towns with lots of W’s and K’s that all sound very similar. You have to break them down into each syllable (yes Sharks I do know what a syllable is). Anyway after a quick getaway before the warden turned up at 7am we headed into Marlborough the capital of New Zealand wine. We were there early and as soon as New World (the local supermarket was open) we were in replenishing the eskie and thankfully not eating any more fish and chips or McDonalds that we have had in the last 2 days. We got straight back into the 50% off chicken thighs, stocked up on things we ran out of ages ago like toothpaste, wine, women’s deodorant (gosh she stinks, which for anyone who has done 5 days at Glasto with me without a shower will know this is a joke) and for me with ever elongating hair dandruff shampoo, well not dandruff but I suppose anti dandruff shampoo.

We headed for the I-site in Marlborough and had to wait until it opened, we checked various weather forecasts in reference to Rorie’s e-mail (note it is always Rorie and never Emer perhaps only 50% of the Irish are lazy!!!) before deciding to head to Kiakoura and south before we headed in an anticlockwise direction around South Island (if the weather carried on like this Lady E would be waiting around in Abel Tasman for ages waiting to do her skydive). I guess for many travellers not wanting to pay for a return ferry most fly from Christchurch back to North Island then head out but Kiakoura is awkwardly positioned half way between the ferry ports and Christchurch. Regardless (I’m rambling again) we headed southbound with Lady E banning me from going on a morning wine tasting around the Sauvignon Blanc region (this would probably have meant she would have to drive for a second time in two months god forbid – anyway she promised that we could come back to that). We saw a sign for Kiakoura which told us we were only 100km from the town. This 100km took us 5 hours believe it or not, and not a five hours we ever expected after reading a Lonely Planet (come on LP get your act together!!). We discovered fur seal colony after fur seal colony which being lovers of nature (or in NZ was that Naturism looking back at past photos) we just loved. We even found a fresh water waterfall where baby seals just played all day in Spring (which it is here, sorry Northern Hemisphere) while the mothers went off fishing or sunbathing. It’s difficult to write about or capture such things on photo’s but this place was real magic. I can remember telling R&E that more than I loved watching nature I loved watching Lady E watch nature today was a classic example. I even took to stalking groups of strangers up the path to hear their reactions when they saw this magical sight. Whilst you would expect "ahhh" from girls, I loved watching the macho 17/18 year olds saying how impressive it was as their hearts obviously melted (remember our van says “too cool for skool” bring any school here from anywhere and they would be impressed. It’s difficult to build on this anymore in words other than to say this whole place is back dropped by some of the most gorgeous snow capped mountains right next to the sea, with deer and sheep farming it almost moved me to tears. I absolutely bloody loved this place already.

Next tip for NZ travellers, be honest with the I-Site traveller places, after booking onto a whale watching tour for tomorrow we headed for the I-Site. Firstly we asked about free camping, they told us it was illegal but pointed out a place on a map near the mountains where nobody has ever been moved on from (now that is what I call advice!!!). We then moved on through the town passed all the mobile chippy wagons selling fresh lobster (caught that day) as well as the usual mussels, oysters, clams and fish kebabs and catch of the day, to a seal colony and perhaps where we would do a 2 hour walk tomorrow if the whale watching is off (which checking previous launches only possibly happens once a week at this time of year). The I-site also gave us a map of the walk to the summits of the snow capped mountains if our whale watching gets cancelled.

We headed to our free campsite to find only one other van there next to a river. We cooked up another red curry but with chicken thighs in front of the best view of snow covered caps I think I have ever seen, and all this in a T-shirt just ridiculous (in my own mind I still can’t figure out why it would be warmer in the south at this time of year than the north but it definitely is I didn’t even need a duvet last night never mind three. It has been great to arrive at a free campsite so early feeling like we have had a truly fulfilled day. If Keith Floyd had been alive today he would have been proud of us, drinking and cooking with a backdrop of the snow capped mountains, unpaved road and sheep all around us that are drinking from the river next to us. Can life really get any better than this? Well it can I wouldn’t mind a shower!! Anyway Kia Ora Kaikoura, you have given us one of the most spectacular welcomes to any region anywhere on our trip, be proud Kiwi’s be proud, I think we are going to like this place. p.s. I’m slightly drunk now! (Erica edit: You don’t say?)

I now pick up the blog again a few days later, I was drunk, by 6pm dancing on a table to the Smiths when our fellow campers arrived at camp. I was soon chatting away and playing Frisbee with Benjamen from France and his partner Angelina from Venezuala. I’m not sure what time it was when Erica sent me to bed about 11pm we think after sharing cheese on toast with them in the pitch black.
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Comments

Gregg on

Comment Entry1:
So.....is the Mcy D's cheaper there than in the US???

Oh and.....'Spring'..........do you know it was -4 here the other week!!!!!!! (So Jealous really)

Gregg on

Comment Entry 2:
Could you be any more emotive about this place if you tried Andrew??? (Me thinks that alcohol is playing a marginal part here)..........So, is Andy the wino on this trip.....hm......lets think about that ;) x

Lazy Emer on

Your gonna pay for that one Mr Tsingtao

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