It definitely lived up to my expectations, my mini holiday last weekend.
Friday was a nice day, and the ferry trip over to Picton was calm. I had a quick lunch there on the waterfront before catching the Coastal Pacific train to Kaikoura.
Trains here are tourist journeys, not really transport. It’s quite a different experience to taking the train in Europe. This particular journey first runs through the hinterland with greenish golden hills and vineyards, and then 100km along the coast to Kaikoura.
It’s slow going, much slower than in a car. But so much more enjoyable! And there’s a wagon with a viewing platform, i.e. no seats and no windows, where you can enjoy the views with the wind in your hair.
On Saturday I did a walk around Kaikoura peninsula. There were LOTS of seals around the peninsula, a lot more than I’ve ever seen before. Here’s a view of Whalers Bay, you cannot see the seals, but there were out on the rocks, and some sunbathing on the beach. But beautiful scenery in its own right:
In the evening the clouds that had hung around the mountains cleared up, and on the next morning, the views were absolutely stunning. Imagine a turquois blue ocean, with snow capped mountains rising 2600m from it into the deep blue sky:
I sat and enjoyed the views for over an hour and just couldn’t get enough of it. The view was gorgeous even from the train station:
The train station is located right at the beach, so I had a last coffee there feeling rather privileged about being able to experience all this.
In Christchurch, I stayed in a rather unusual place, a historic jail:
It was very authentic, even the noises were prison like, and funny enough, the whole atmosphere seemed to be subdued and hardly anyone talking. Very unusual for a backpackers indeed!
All in all a great weekend that couldn’t have been any better. My home away from home, the South Island.