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Monday, 24 March 2014

Coastal walk in Kaikoura

21st February Friday
We awoke to low cloud and realised that whale watching or seal spotting and swimming with dolphins were off the agenda for the day so we opted for a walk along the coastal track (shoreline trail). We started the walk from the I-site (tourist information) and made our way down the esplanade which consisted of a lot of motels and hotels on one side and beach and trees on the other. We passed the new and old quays which were closed as this part of the coastline is now closed to fishing to preserve fish stocks, they used to hunt whales from there.  We passed Jimmy Armers beach which contained only one building which claimed to be the last toilet along the coastal walk (no longer true) shortly after that we came to Kaikoura Seafood BBQ (see photo) which had lots of fresh crayfish and scallops, unfortunately it was only 11am and we were not hungry. Next we came to Kean Point car park (nobody knows who Kean was) and found a lot of seals basking in the sun on the rocks only about 3 meters from the path (another toilet there). The path then continued uphill to follow the cliff path to South Bay. We should have been able to see the North Island from there but could only see about 50 meters because of the low cloud, but you could still see the steep drop down to the small deserted beaches and flat rocky rocky bottom through the clear water. When we arrived at South Bay the route markings for the walk disappeared and we wandered around the boatyard and moorings until we came across the path leading back to the start. This started in a beautiful forest and then rose up to the cliff path again then went across the peninsula back up to the esplanade via Scarborough Street (not actually marked in any way) and Toms track (which was marked) Tom was a local hero who died trying to save the life of a whale. This was a lovely track filled with beautiful trees and flowers. Finally made it back to the start in 3 and a half hours. We then had lunch and then started the drive to Blenheim our next port of call. The route there was through beautiful countryside with mountains on one side (a bit like the Howgills in the Lake District) and the Cook Strait on the other. We decided to stop along the way for a treat at a place called 'The Store' which was an upmarket cake shop in a place called Kekerengu (which consisted of the store and maybe 2 houses). We had coffee, apple pie and yoghurt and fruit crunch and cream for $20 but it was worth it for the sea views and nice building and the staff were very nice Italians. We arrived in Blenheim to find our chosen campsite full but found another one 6k away that had a nice pool. Blenheim is the centre of the Marlborough wine trail and we decided we wanted to visit a winery or two. We enquired at the campsite reception about the wine tours and they gave us some information. $65 each for a tour of 5 wineries gulp, so we decided we would walk to the nearest one only which was called Saint Clair which was 2 kilometres away. Eventually we decided to book on the tour of 5 wineries, the tour was called "Bubbly Grape wine tour" as it would be a shame to miss this once in a lifetime experience...hic. Just before retiring for the night we decided to go to the toilet and we left the light on inside the campervan and when we returned and opened the door a load of sandflies followed us inside. So we spent the next half an hour killing them all.



  

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