Saturday, August 15, 2015

Akaroa to Kaikoura

Saturday was all-day rain and this morning looked about the same, with the addition of thick fog--so thick we couldn't see Akaroa from our perch.

Sunny day view of Akaroa from our campsite

I checked the weather for Akaroa/Banks Peninsula and saw lows tonight of zero. Which brings us to the question we asked ourselves this morning over breakfast.

Would you rather drive this in rain and fog?

Or with the distinct possibility of ice?

No discussion there! We drew the map toward Kaikoura on the Pacific Coast, a big day's drive for us but once we got out of the Banks Peninsula twisties (and elevation), no threat of ice would ease our minds. Here's the route (trouble viewing click here). We set out with the vague idea of stopping somewhere along the way. Tomorrow's a work day and a solid internet connection's a necessity.

About halfway there, tired, we stopped for a stretch and a flat white (of course I left my camera in the car, so I don't even have pictures). Of all the exchanges we've had in NZ, I wish we could rewind and set up a recorder for the conversation at this cafe/pub with two gregarious people, married. He watching the All Blacks replay from yesterday, when they apparently decimated the Aussies, so excited about the win he could barely contain himself. (And we could hardly understand his accent.)

She just as exuberant. "So, where are you from, where have you been," she asked excitedly. Much conversation about Kaikoura. "We went to England to follow the All Blacks" she told us, along with stories of their life and local news. The best stuff. Turns out today's rain is a gift for sheep farmers, whose fields have so suffered the lack of rain over several months that they've been transporting livestock to greener pastures.
The road north to Kaikoura was filled with more provocative NZ landscapes. Note this dry river nearby.

Art mastered the big drive today largely on two-lane and mostly in the rain (which after the drought conversation suddenly felt beneficial).

I always sort of gasp when the Pacific comes back into view. Today it's roiling, sending up breakers so massive you think they'll sweep over the road.

Kaikoura is known for whale-watching. We first glimpsed it from the windows of the Coastal Pacific Train in April, on the trip from Blenheim to Christchurch. The train makes a stop in Kaikoura.

Waitin' round the bend, my Huckleberry friend...  

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