February 07, 2009

New Year's Holiday: Kaikoura

Yes, our holiday was well over a month ago, and I even uploaded these pictures right after we got back from our trip. It's taken me all this time to think of some clever commentary to go along with them (hope you aren't expecting too much!)...

As some of you may remember, we were in Kaikoura for one night over New Year's last year. This year we stayed a few more days in hopes of going whale-watching. Well, not so much 'hope' as 'determined', but in the end the result was the same as last year: the water conditions were too harsh for the boat.

We loved our time in Kaikoura despite the choppy sea and the inefficient whale watching company. It's a lovely little town halfway between Picton (where the Ferry lands) and Christchurch (the place where people base themselves to see surrounding towns because it doesn't have much to offer).

Kaikoura, literally 'food'(kai)/'crayfish' has it all: snow-capped mountains, beaches, and an un-ending view of the ocean. Oh! And a Monteith's bar. :)

Like most towns in New Zealand, Kaikoura has a skate park for kids and adults alike. This one has a spectacular view:

A little ways down the beach is this awesome chair...

...with its own fantastic view.

We don't have a car - this isn't news, right? Our favorite hotel in Kaikoura is about a 40 minute (flat, straight) walk from town. Along the way are many other hotels/B&Bs, as well as private homes with front gardens. Check out these flowers!

One evening, we headed out to the afore-mentioned Monteith's bar, and discovered they had a beer tree! An entire tree of BEER! It included 6 of the Monteith's beers and one other beer they have on tap. I think I drank two, maybe 2 1/2. Darren graciously finished off the rest.

On the way back, we noticed a couple of people staring at a tree...only to find a few birds (Shags) were all lined up on the branches:

Darren had never been horseback riding before (called simply horse riding, or horse trekking here), and it had been on his list of 'things to do' for quite a while. I found the Fyffe ranch online - they offer treks into the woods/across rivers, as well as sunset rides into the mountains (when it's not too windy).

This is the only picture we took! The camera was stowed for safekeeping, and in our rush to get back to town for our whale watching cruise that was (later) canceled, we didn't snap a photo of Darren on a horse. You'll just have to believe us.

After the third and final failed attempt to go whale watching, we headed back to the hotel. The whale watching company is in the same building as the tiny railway station, which has a gigantic parking lot where people seem to just hang out.

And we came across this scene...and just imagined that the seagulls were waiting for the woman to drop the baby...!

Back at our hotel, we walked the few feet to the beach to capture the beauty of Kaikoura.

Pictured here: not a whale.

With the windows open at night, we could hear the crashing surf -

Night-night, Kaikoura!


Marrisa said...

Oh my goodness!!! HOW AWESOME! It looks like you had an amazing time and your photos are just amazing. SOOO FUNNY TOO! I love that photo of Darren and all the drinks, Michael's idea of heaven. Have sat in that chair too, but it had a sad story attached if I think right?

Great post!! xx

Arthur (AmeriNZ) said...

GREAT photos! I especially loved the (imaginary) photos of Darren on a horse. But my favourite line has to be "Christchurch (the place where people base themselves to see surrounding towns because it doesn't have much to offer". As an Aucklander I couldn't possibly comment but, if I did, um…

-bry said...

b...bb...bbb...BEER TREE!!!