We boarded the Interislander Ferry at Wellington, and for the first time, said goodbye to the North Island for a few days, as we headed south across the Cook Straight. The journey was less than pleasant, to put it mildly, as the waters were extra rough that day, making for an extra rocky ride for all aboard the massive floating vessel. The unsettling sounds and vicious aroma of vomit quickly invaded the ship, creating an atmosphere we were only wished we could escape. More and more people were reaching for the white sea-sickness bags located throughout the ship, and crew members circulated frequently, asking if people were alright and handing out more white bags and ice cubes to help with the motion sickness. Luckily, (due to Mel’s handy stash of gravol), none of us were stricken with the terrible plague of sea sickness that appeared to have struck a good number of passengers. This is all to say that we couldn’t have been happier when the ferry ride ended and we set foot on the bright and glorious soil of the South Island.
From the ferry terminal in Picton, we picked up our spacious rental car and headed southbound through the town of Blenheim, then on to the East-Coast gem of Kaikora.
The 1.5 hour drive from Blenheim to Kaikora ranks among the most epic drives Brendon and I have ever done in our lives. Driving right beside the rugged coastline, we had incredible views of the powerful, turquoise water, with its massive waves that day, crashing violently into shore. It was completely mesmerizing.
The highlight of Kaikora was definitely our visit to the seals at the Point Keane car park on the Kaikora Peninsula. Upon arrival, we parked our car, got out, and with our cameras in hand, eagerly scanned the rocks and water for any sign of seal life. It didn’t take us too long before we realized that we were looking in the wrong direction- there was a seal right there in the parking lot! Lounging next to a motorhome, a large seal was just chillin out. Kind of an odd sight, really. He didn’t seem to mind us taking a few pictures, though.
The carpark seal stayed put the entire time we were there. But his friends put on more of a show for us in the water. Four seal pups swam in and crawled up on the rocks to take a rest, just long enough for us to snap some pictures, before diving off into the rough waters again.
Kaikora- rough, majestic, and exotic- full of life and wonder. Our hearts were captivated by this place, and our spirits inspired.