Cruising the East Coast down to Dunedin

Today Sebi and Marielle left for the West Coast while we headed south on the eastern side of the island. Our destination for the day was Kaikoura. The road along the east coast is very scenic with a lot of seal colonies just lying on the rocks. We stopped several times to see the seals with their two months young pups. Quite a spectacle.

Once in Kaikoura we were able to see seals from ever closer. They were literally just lying in front of the car park and were photographed hundreds of times by the tourists (including us for sure). A short walk to the nearby lookout offered breathtaking views of the cliffs and nearby coast. Later on we pitched our tent at a Kiwi Holiday Park which even had a hot tub – what else can a traveler ask for.

The next day was a driving day as we were further moving on down south. After continuing along the coast for a few more kilometers the road turned inwards through a lot of farming areas. A very very slow camper van in front of us drove Hazel almost crazy but once we passed him (after about 30 minutes of Hazel swearing) the journey to Christchurch was smooth. We stopped in the city for lunch and picked up our iPhone charger which we had forgotten two weeks ago. Another 170 km later we arrived in Timaru where we met Semi and Marielle again – it seems we couldn’t get rid of them that easy.

The next day it was definitely time to say good-bye to our friends as we continued to Oamaru and our friends turned inwards towards Mount Cook which we would visit a bit later on our trip. Along the way to Oamaru we passed thousands of sheep (apparently there are four sheep for every person in New Zealand). Oamaru itself was a cute little city (or perhaps big town would be the better term) with a few Victorian buildings. After sightseeing and stocking up on food we drove a bit further south to Hampden where we stayed at the local Kiwi Holiday Park which was by coincidence run by a Swiss couple.

Later in the evening we visited the nearby town of Moraki where we wanted to see the local yellow-eyed-penguin colony. However what we saw and smelled first was a big group of seals. There was a covered observation hut from where one could try to spot the penguins while they were coming back from the open sea. And indeed after waiting for about twenty minutes we saw two of them waddling along the small beach and within an hour of waiting we saw perhaps eight of these cute animals.

On the way back to the car we had a look at another path of the park which was marked as a track to the local fishing area. You can imagine that we were quite surprised and amused to discover that after a few meters at least eight penguins were just standing there on the walkway (we pitied the other tourists who just went straight back home from the viewing hut…). For the next hour or so we watched the penguins from as near as you can get. It was a very very impressive sight to see this animals from so close and a real highlight.

The last highlight of the day however were the muscles Hazel excellently prepared – what a great day.

The next morning started with an ionic icon (what a tongue twister) of New Zealand – the famous Moraki Boulders. Erosion formed these rocks in an almost perfectly round shape. An additional highlight there was a tour group of rather noise (and quite fashionably dressed) Chinese tourists.

A few kilometers down the road we stopped at Shag Point for some more close shots of a seal colony. Afterwards it was time for lunch and so it was handy that we came to Dunedin one of the bigger cities in the south. After a yummy Bento Set we had a look at a few old churches and buildings before we pitched out tent at the local Kiwi Holiday Park where Kevin managed to drop the camera into the sand – as a result we have now a new nice camera.

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