Sunday, 21 October 2012

Road Trip: Day One

Firstly, apologies for the delay in publishing these posts. It's Labour weekend here in NZ so Miss and Mr Bear have been enjoying a sunny bank holiday.

And now down to business. The road trip journaling begins!

 On Sunday 30th September at 10am, we went to collect our trusty 4-berth campervan from Apollo. After some confusion regarding whether the camper we had chosen would sleep 3 adults or solely 2 adults and a couple of kiddy-winks, we were on the road back to the flat to fill our little home for the next two weeks with a bunch of clothes, insect repellent, sun cream, food and a whole load of other stuff that can come in handy when camping (most of which you will forget is there and never use!)

We were spending our first night at the seaside destination of Kaikoura, on the east coast of the south island. Famous for whale watching escapades and its large variety of marine life, at just 2 hours drive away, it's somewhere we have been intending to visit for some time. We set off around noon and arrived at our campsite at 3pm, after stopping off just outside of Christchurch for some grub.

After a quick scout around the place and a run around on the black sandy beach behind the campsite (where we happened across a very holey washed up little shark and chased a seal swimming in the seal in the distance), we drove into the town to see what was about.

Turning off at a sign marked 'viewing platform', we parked up on top of a hill overlooking the town, shore and looming snow-capped mountains. There we met a seagull who decided to launch into a squawking contest with me (I won, naturally), watched yellowheads streak across the skies and observed some interesting cloud formations, one of which looked very much like a light bulb.

As if driven by the light bulb of inspiration, I remembered seeing a sign as we turned off marked 'seal colony'. Not one to miss the opportunity for a good bit of wildlife watching, I instructed Mr Bear to follow the sign! 

We arrived at a small car park on the shore and immediately beheld the shape of a large male seal dominating the milky blue skyline. Standing well back from the recommended distance of 10m, I was hit by the stink of the beast. There's simply no other way to describe it. They are stinky buggers! We were amazed we could smell him so strongly from so far away, before noticing there were several other seals sleeping much nearer, concealed in the bush beside us. 10m observing distance was out of the window!

We drove back into the town for a pint and a sit down to contemplate our travel plans. When Martin asked Brendan what he thought of his Tui beverage, Bren remarked "It's not bad, for a lager" and was horrified when we revealed Tui is actually an 'ale'. Enough said on that one.

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