Even accidentally taking the long route to Nelson, we still arrived too early to check into our next ATC house with Dave and Joss. To waste some time, we walked on a beautiful stretch of beach we found, and even though it wasted time, it was certainly not a waste of time. There were so many sand dollars in the water that I worried about crushing the poor things.
Took the scenic route to Kaikoura in order to check out Nelson Lakes, which among other things, had eels in the water. Decided not to swim. Also stopped at a place called Ohua, just outside Kaikoura, which had a little waterfall area with baby fur seals playing in the protected area and a couple older seals babysitting them. If I had to choose the cutest thing that I’ve ever seen, that would be it.
We also checked out some other spots in Kaikoura that had older seals. I’ve never been so close to wild animals before. The baby in the above photo waddled towards me and came within 5 feet of me and the older seals didn’t care how close we got, not to say I invaded their space.
Kaikoura was one of the best parts of the trip for sure. It’s where my mom found her wool sweater (I never found mine *tears*), where we saw sperm whales and frisky dusky dolphins up close from the side of a boat, and where I took this awesome panoramic photo of the coast from the top of a hill.
Christchurch next, stayed in a cute little B&B that was basically surrounded by gardens and toured the city in a double decker bus. If you are unaware, Christchurch was devastated by a couple of massive earthquakes ten years ago. They are still trying to rebuild, and it was heartbreaking to see. If a building didn’t full on collapse, there is a good chance that it was rendered hazardous and had to be taken down anyway. The white chairs are a temporary memorial to the lives lost in the earthquakes. Made a side trip to Hamner Springs, which was a cute little town close to the mountains that was reminiscent of Leavenworth.
Arrived in Bleinheim and stayed with an ATC couple who had been everywhere…twice. Made me feel a little uncultured, especially since they have traveled more of my own state than I have, but what can you do? Before leaving the South Island, checked out the “aquarium” in Picton and while eating a seafood lunch by the shore, witnessed an interesting event where children were hauling a giant army vehicle.
Ferried back to the North Island and finished the trip with good old Palmerston North. Toured my own campus with my momma the next morning and that was the end. Here are some more scenic photos for your viewing enjoyment.