Rain Rain Go Away

Trip Start Oct 01, 2012
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55
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Trip End Oct 01, 2015


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Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Saturday, June 22, 2013

The friday before we left for Kaikoura we both had work nights out, mine - a shooting evening where we went to a local shooting club and had to lay on the floor on our stomachs in a very cold hall and fire at targets that were so far away it made your eyes go funny when you tried to look at them, 2 straight bullseyes later and I had hit more targets than all the others. We then all headed off to the Belgian beer cafe in town, unfortunately it was my turn to drive, saying that though the drink drive limits where are very vague, when we asked our house mate (a policeman) he said "i'm not sure, no more than one drink an hour and you should be fine!" with that in mind i enjoyed a few beers with my colleagues and then headed on to another bar. In the next bar i's just ordered my drink when i got a phone call from a very drunken tai asking me to go and collect him and i found him sheltering from the rain in a closed shop doorway next to the pub.
We drove home and i tried to made him drink some water - after all we had a big day planned the next day!
We awoke to another day of horrendous weather, this week we've seen snow, hail, gale force winds and ALOT of rain, it made us feel like we were back in the UK really. We decided to take a chance and carry on with our plan. We set off and drove north in the direction of Kaikoura, a small town a couple of hours north of christchurch that's famous for Whale Watching.
We drove north through valleys that were covered in snow and as the rain got stronger we were wondering what were we doing. June and July however are the best time of year to go whale watching so we stuck with our decision and carried on, soon enough the road wove its way so it was running along side the coast. I can honestly say neither of us had ever seen sea like - the waves were huge and crashing up so high sometimes they came up and onto the road! Whale watching was not looking good, that aside the views were spectacular as we drove alongside cliff faces and the sea roared to the other. At one point something caught my eye i told tai to turn around quickly as i was sure id just seen a bear, telling me that Nw Zealand definitely didnt have bears he refused to go back for a second look.
2 hours later and with tais hangover worsening we arrived at our hostel (i was still disappointed over the bear incident), we pulled up and it seemed completely empty, the rain had got even worse by this point and we looked at each other with despair at what we should do - was there even any point in staying, we decided to head to the whale watching center and see what they thought about tomorrow, they told us the weather was looking better so we decided to chance it and booked into our room. 
Our room was freezing and what made it worse was the electricity was on a timer that you needed to reset every hour so we couldnt even go out and let the room warm up, we looked at each other again and both burst out laughing, tai had organised this whole trip and everything was going wrong. 
We thought we'd go into town and find somewhere warm to sit for a while, hoping the weather would clear, as we drove through town we realised that Kaikoura really wasnt a good place in the rain, everywhere was closed except an empty pub and a surf shop, we went to the pub first and found a seat under the heaters and ordered some warm drinks and enough wedges to feed the 5,000 even tai couldnt finish them! We then went to our only other option - the surf shop, tai got himself a cap and a very chatty lady told us about a waterfall about 20 minutes north again where baby seal pups swim up the stream and play in the pool at the bottom of the waterfall. Apparently there was around 40-50 pups there that day. We pretty much ran back to the car, grabbed our camera and a few more layers from the hostel and set off. As we drove up along side the coast again I realised that those bears i had seen earlier could have possibly been adult seals, they have surprisingly similar faces! We pulled up at the entrance to the path and are we followed the trail next to the stream we saw our first little pups swimming up the stream in the direction of the falls, with every corner we turned we saw more and more, they were everywhere in the water, on the rocks, on the river beds, some were even in the bushes. We couldnt believe our eyes though when we reached the clearing and were welcomed with a view of the waterfall, the pool beneath and so many seal pups jumping, swimming and playing all around us. We watched in awe for a while, they were so inquisitive too as they crept towards us, looking until jumping back into the pool to continue playing. The waterfall was surprisingly big as well - the constant rain i am sure had a part to play in this (geography knowledge). We stayed for maybe half an hour or so before the rain and cold got the better of us and we headed back to the car and back to the hostel. We had found a restaurant earlier  the day and liking the look of the menu we decided to book at meal there for that evening, we were given a table by the fire which made my night and enjoyed a delicious 3 course meal and a lovely bottle of wine. Feeling well and truly stuffed and with not much else going on in Kaikoura we retired back to the hostel and both fell into a lovely deep sleep interrupted only by having to reset the electricity every so often!
The following morning we awoke and couldnt believe our eyes when we looked out the window and was welcomed with pure sunshine and clear blue skies! we excitedly jumped out of bed and checked out and went off in search of breakfast, Kaikoura seemed like a totally different place, shops were open, cafes well filled with people sitting outside and the streets were full of people! We found a nice little cafe and ate our breakfast and then headed to the whale watching office to find out if our tour was going, as we pulled up it looked really quiet, we went inside and saw cancelled in big red letters on the screen behind the receptions desk - just in case it was a mistake we checked with the people that worked there and they confirmed that due to big swells out at sea it was cancelled all day! We were gutted but wouldnt let it spoil the weekend which had been so fun so far, we went down to the beach for a while and were shocked to notice the huge snow capped mountains that surround the Kaikoura coastline - it was so incredible to see the mountains so close to the water and with the sun reflecting off the sea it made for a beautiful day - not to mention we had the whole beach to ourselves!
We then decided that we wanted to go back to the waterfall before we began to make our way home. It was just as impressive as it was the day before, this time we were actually playing tug of war with one of the seal pups and a branch - the seal won! As we left and began our drive back to Christchurch we noticed a lot of people gathered at one of the beaches and decided to pull over and find out what was happening, it tuns out they are from sumner and were running a little surfing competition, they had one board and each took it in turns, whoever stayed up the longest won! The guy we watched lasted about 5 seconds - the waves were huge!
We messed around on the beach for a while and then began our drive back which with the sun shining was even more spectacular than before, well what i saw of it - within a couple of hours i'd fallen asleep waking up just outside of christurch, it had been a wonderful weekend and we wouldnt have changed a second of it!
 
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Dave on

We all wanna see pictures.

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