12.03.2019 - 13.03.2019 20 °C
Today we made the short drive from Picton to Kaikoura. It was nice as we didn't have to leave as early as the past few trips, so it definitely felt more relaxed. As we drove off it was raining quite a bit, but thankfully the rain stopped before our first stop. We stopped at Monkey Bay, which was a short walk from the car park, but so quiet that there wasn't anyone around. It looked very beautiful and felt quite peaceful, however I had to make a hasty retreat as sandflies were gathering around me!
Our next stop was another beach (there is a theme here) which was just a nice way to split up the journey a bit. We stopped at Ward Beach as the sun started to come out, and again it was fairly quiet with only a few people around. We went off for a wander down the beach, which was not easy with all the little stones around. The 2016 Kaikoura earthquake exposed a lot of interesting rock formations around the area, including on this beach.
The next stop along our way was definitely my favourite of the day. It was at the Ohau Point Lookout, which is well known for seals. Before the 2016 earthquake there was a walkway that led to a waterfall and stream that you could see seals playing in, however this has been closed for safety reasons. The road along this way was still full of roadworks, but things moved fairly quickly. Once we got to the lookout point I could see small dots on the rocks, and when we got closer I noticed that there were seals everywhere! It still amazes me how easy it is to see wildlife in New Zealand. There were probably up to 100 seals just at the main lookout point. Laura and I ventured out a little further and I was awarded with a cute spot of a seal looking up at us. There were some just lounging around, others playing in the water, and some chasing a seagull that was clearly teasing them!
We got to Kaikoura just before 3, which was good as we had booked a whale watch flight at 4. We had a quick lunch and then made our way there. I looked at the little plane and felt a little unsure, however I am so glad we did it as it was an amazing experience. The pilot told us that so far they'd had a 100% success rate that day, so he was hopeful we would see some whales. We climbed into the plane (not the easiest thing) and got on the way.
It was a surprisingly smooth flight, and soon we were treated with an aerial view of a pod of dusky dolphins.
Pretty soon we spotted our first whale, and it was a sperm whale too! We managed to see three whales on our trip, which for half an hour is very good and it was great as we could quickly get to the sighting, whilst the people on the boats often didn't get there in times. We also had some beautiful views of Kaikoura, the peninsula, and the ranges too. Sorry if the photos of the whales aren't the best - I only had my one lens with me and it was quite far away, but you'll just have to believe they are there!
Today we headed over to Hanmer Springs, but before doing so we stopped off to walk part of the Kaikoura peninsula walkway. We were treated to a glorious day of sunshine, which even at 10:30am was pretty strong! It was a fairly easy walk once we actually got up the hill and we also wandered around the beach area, where there were more seals!