Tag Archives: Kaikoura

A Loop through the North

We headed up the east coast to catch up with friends at Kaikoura. A walk along the shore showed how the shoreline has changed when it was lifted by a metre in the 2016 earthquake. We continued to the north west past the vast vineyards in the Marlborough region and across to the Cobb Valley from where we set out on an overnight walk.

We started under clear skies but the cloud quickly rolled in and we completed the day’s walk past the atmospheric Lake Peel in fog. It lifted for a moment and we were pleased to see the hut appear. We were dismayed to arrive and find that there was no longer gas supplied to the hut so we had to light the stove. It did an excellent job of heating water but it also heated the hut which we didn’t need. A family arrived in the late afternoon and shared their gas stove with us so we didn’t have to warm up the hut. We decided to head out the next day and were pleased to have beautiful weather with the bonus of fog in the valley.

We made for the west coast to revisit Wharariki Beach with the attractions of sand dunes, photogenic islands, caves and seals.

It was then time to start back southwards and after a night near Nelson Lakes where we were swarmed by sandflies it was good to head up to Arthur’s Pass where the shelter ensured we could hide from the much reduced numbers. After visiting the spectacular waterfalls we headed inland. I was hoping to walk through Cave Stream but as I waded in and it quickly became apparent the cold water was going to be at least waist deep I chickened out and we just visited both ends of the cave.

Staying at Lake Tekapo gave me the opportunity to photograph the lake and famous Church of the Good Shepherd in pleasing light though I couldn’t escape the crowds.

We then moved on to Mt Cook where we set out on the Hooker Lake walk in good weather. Unfortunately as we headed up the valley it started to haze over and we soon realised we were once again under smoke from the Australian fires. With rain in the evening it cleared for a clearer view in the morning. We also had our closest encounter with keas as they had a lovely time trying to pull an awning to pieces.

One last night at Arrowtown and a stop to watch the drama of the Shotover jets and we were on the plane back home.

Last of the North and first of the South

After getting the van serviced and rewarranted we took a last look at the North Island at Tongaparutu River, a coastline studded with arches and formations. Unfortunately the weather and tide was against and we couldn’t do justice to this stunning location.

We revisited Waitanguru Falls that we had previously seen in flood and were now flowing more sedately.

Some typical New Zealand countryside and more coastal scenery had us down to Wellington and ready to embark across the calm Cook Strait for the next part of our trip. We had picture postcard weather for the impressive sail through the Marlborough Sounds.

We took a winding, little travelled, scenic route around the coast to find our own little gems before heading inland next to and then high above one of the famed New Zealand rivers with their wide gravelled beds. I was glad Ray was driving for the hair raising drive into the back country to visit New Zealand’s only slot canyon.  It was a three kilometre walk in which I thought wouldn’t take long except it was all along the river bed with numerous crossings of the icy cold and often fast flowing stream. We finally arrived at the impressive slot that is taller than it is long and waded through to view it from all angles.

We carried on down the Kaikoura coastline for yet more encounters with seals, some close up and unconcerned by the close proximity of humans and others having a lovely time in the rock pools well out reach. We were stunned by the dramatic beauty of the snow capped Kaikoura mountains towering just above the sea.