Day 36, Blenheim to Kaikoura

Posted on Posted in Australia and New Zealand, Travel

Today was notable for two things.

  1. Rain
  2. Seals

Because of 1. We had very little chance to see much other than 2!

Dramatic scenery south of Blenheim
Dramatic scenery south of Blenheim

Kaikoura is only around one and a half hours south of Blenheim and there is very little to see in between (and even less when it’s throwing it down with rain).  About 15 minutes before arriving in Kaikoura there is the Ohau seal colony and the Ohau waterfall walk.  Now this is quite amusing as we have been given ‘secret insider’ tips by a couple of people that the waterfall walk was an opportunity to see seal pups playing in a waterfall.  Well it’s not so secret as it’s now the number one attraction for Kaikoura on trip advisor!  Apparently, the seal pups are mainly there between June and October and there were none there for us.  However, we were incredibly lucky to see a seal pup playing with a small stick in a pool which I managed to grab a video of and I will link if I can work out the technology.

Now let’s talk seals.

Up close and personal
Up close and personal

We’ve seen some seals on a trip so far, on a wildlife trip in Dunedin and at various points around the coast, but typically we have seen a few at a time.  Forget all that, Kaikoura is the seal capital of New Zealand (or if it isn’t officially it certainly should be).  Both at the Ohau colony just before town and at another later in the day through the back of the town, there are literally hundreds to see and they are meters away so lots of opportunities for photos.  I am a little confused by the tourist advice which tells you to stay at least 10 meters away as seals can bite, whereas there are various companies offering swim with seal options.

Kaikoura coast
Kaikoura coast

We had originally planned to go on a whale watching trip but frankly I’ve read so much bad press about (either about people being sea sick or about spending three hours on a boat for a 10 second view of a whale’s tail) that we decided to look for a more eco-friendly trip another time / another place.

We haven’t really had a chance to look at the walk options around the local area but after popping into the iSite there seems to be very little in the way of local walks (other than the cliff top peninsula walkway).  We followed the advice for one walk which took us into the local forest but it was an hour wandering around in the rain that I could probably have done without.  From the photographs around it looks like the mountain backdrop is very attractive but we haven’t seen it yet due to the low cloud.  Maybe tomorrow.

It would certainly be unfair to call Kaikoura a one trick (whale) pony based on our limited time here but it certainly seems like not more than a two-trick pony.

We are staying at the (so far) very nice Nikau Lodge B&B just outside the center of town which feels like a good choice (based on yesterday’s B&B ranking list they so far tick most of the boxes ;-)).  It’s off to Christchurch tomorrow, the last stop on our New Zealand tour and it’ll be time to summarize our thoughts before heading back to Australia for the last three-day leg of our trip.

2 thoughts on “Day 36, Blenheim to Kaikoura

  1. I think you have the End-of-the-trip blues, coupled with bad weather. Bummer. I’ve hesitated to comment, but here I am. We had a wonderful experience in Kaikoura and north, but the weather was great and it was the beginning of our trip. We didn’t do the seal swim, nor the whale watch. I hate to be cold and wet, and we live half an hour from Monterey Bay in California where we can whale watch for 1/3 the price.

    We did the Argo tour, which is on a sheep farm above Haumuri Bluffs, the peninsula walk as a loop at low tide, saw the seal pups at the waterfall and Sawcut Gorge. The weather was great, and I suspect made all the difference.

    I hope you have better weather for the journey to Christchurch. Stop at Waipara for some lunch and wine tasting. I’ve enjoyed reading your blog and will miss it in regards to New Zealand.

    Happy travels.

  2. Hi Diane

    I’m glad you’re still enjoying the blog.

    I think the weather probably has an impact (with such great lacdscapes in New Zealand it’s bound to) but in a strange way we don’t have end-of-trip-blues. Really we’ve packed so much in that actually we’re a little exhausted. Nevertheless see my reflections post coming soon!

    I’m sure I will continue to blog once we get back so keep reading!

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