The road to Kaikoura

After an eventful morning farewelling Hanmer Springs in the best possible style – coffee at a Yak shack – aka an animal farm cafe complete with llamas, alpacas and what we think was a yak. We’re unsure because we weren’t prepared to pay the $10 each to leave the confines of the cafe for the greener pastures of a series of animal enclosures.
We hit the road – route 70 to be precise – although that’s from memory so it’s probably wrong and started the journey to the coast. We took a “scenic route” although I am unsure whether there are any non-scenic routes in New Zealand. I was struck by the lack of suitable shoulder areas on the road for drivers to stop to take photos. As my passengers were sleeping in the seats around me I was composing a letter to Tourism New Zealand suggesting they create better “lookout” facilities for drivers wanting to capitalise on the rolling hills and forests. But then I realised creating lookouts the whole way along would be an inefficient use of taxpayers’ money. We did stop for a few happy snaps – including the obligatory photos of sheep. Robyn thinks that sheep in New Zealand have reached plague proportions as every mountain is littered with them.
As we drove past a number of farmsteads heading into our eventual destination – the township of Kaikoura – I noticed that each had a unique letterbox – some where weatherboard, others were 40 gallon drums. I thought about commissioning a coffee table book of photos of the letterboxes of New Zealand – but didn’t want to end up with a collection of photos of bins (litter boxes). Something may get lost in translation there.

Tonight we’re in Kaikoura. I’m still unsure how that should be pronounced. We’re staying at a reasonable (both in price and quality) “Holiday Park” that’s Maori for Caravan Park. It’s The Alpine-Pacific Holiday Park. It’s an appropriate name. Kaikoura is situated at the base of snow capped mountains and on the coast – a blend I’ve never before experienced. The combination of New Zealand’s long twilight, the rocky beaches and a combination moonrise/sunset made for some great photos. Fish and chips on the beach is not the same without sand – but I’m happy to report the seagulls here are just as pesky as those in Australia.

We spent an inordinate amount of time throwing rocks at the ocean – well the brother-in-law-in-law, and I, started off trying to skim rocks, but that was an abominable failure. Then it became a chance to be like the children sitting next to us who were chastised by their family for throwing stones only minutes earlier. There was no fear of corporal punishment though – so it was an impressive effort by the parents to get their offspring under control. Robyn’s discus prowess was equally impressive. She could hurl a stone a mile (that’s a small bit of hyperbole) and it glided through the air with perfect form.

We’re going “swimming with the seals” tomorrow morning – so tonight was a great opportunity to scout out our prospective swimming buddies with a trip to the seal colony on Kaikoura’s headland. There was an impressive array of seals “sunning” themselves on the rocks by the water – and a bunch of really smelly kelp to add to the atmosphere. At this point the sun started to go down leading to a pretty spectacular photo opportunity on top of the hill.

I’ll have to add all the photos I plan to insert in this post at a later date, we’re about 4 minutes off running out of our hour of prepaid wireless. Hopefully some of them will be up on the picasa album before our time is through – tonight’s time that is. You should check it out now.

The author

Nathan runs St Eutychus. He loves Jesus. His wife. His daughter. His son. His other daughter. His dog. Coffee. And the Internet. He is the campus pastor at Creek Road South Bank, a graduate of Queensland Theological College (M. Div) and the Queensland University of Technology (B. Journ). He spent a significant portion of his pre-ministry-as-a-full-time-job life working in Public Relations, and now loves promoting Jesus in Brisbane and online. He can't believe how great it is that people pay him to talk and think about Jesus.

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