Leaving Ward Beach we headed south along State Highway 1 the closer we got to Kaikoura the more obvious the extent of the damage to the road caused by the quake. With a number of areas where the road was down to one lane as it passed areas where the cliff faces where being secured. It was almost as though every road worker was told to wave at campervans it made it really friendly.
Having arrived in Kaikoura around midday Monday we made for the dump station in South Bay. Joining the queue for the dump it was obvious that there must be a few motorhomes in town as we’ve never been fourth in a queue before. Once empty we parked up in the reserve to take it the views.
Moving onto the NZMCA camp at the Trotting Track (#7172) (apologies for quality of photos) we arrived around 1pm to discover the camp almost full, we did however manage to squeeze into a spot on the side of the driveway. Later on that afternoon and late into the evening vans arrived without space available, driving off who knows where?
As has become our custom once settled in it’s out with the bikes to explore. Setting off back towards the headland at South Bay what I thought was a cycle way turned out to be a walkway, however not to be deterred we pushed the bikes up the narrow pathway to the top so as not to run over any unsuspecting person coming down the hill. Once at the top however it was back on the bikes for what was quite a pleasant ride. Reaching the end of the path there was a very steep path leading back to the road on the otherside of the hill again we dismounted until at the bottom.
The ride back towards the town centre took us past the port area that had been badly effected by the quake making it too shallow to launch the larger boats. Once in town we both had a well deserved ice cream at the local dairy.
After the bike ride we headed across the road for a swim. The water was icy compared with the bath water we had experienced further north but very refreshing it also got deep very quickly so we where cautious about how far we went in.
Surprise surprise more spinach and this time we actually picked some to have with dinner one night.
Tuesday morning we woke to rain so we we spent some time cleaning the van getting into all the nooks and crannies sweeping out the dust. Come lunchtime the sky cleared allowing us to set off on the bike trail that follows SH1 south along the coast and through a pine forest. Although Sarah’s bike is not a mountain bike the trail was mostly easy with both of us enjoying the ride. Sarah also managed to find another large patch of blackberries that provided a couple of large handfuls.
We also rode too look at the new wharf area has a large area that stores the trailers and tractors for the boats being launched including the monster that just dwarfs Sarah.
Heading out from Kaikoura Wednesday morning we followed the road south with Sarah trying madly to snap a decent photo of the seals sunbathing on the rocks next to the road. Because of all the road works we where unable to stop and get some better photos as they had all the decent stopping areas coned off. I swear those cones are breeding at night.
We stopped in Cheviot at the local library to download an email that needed to be signed and scanned back to someone. The lady there went out of her way to be helpful and if you need a local library you could not go past the one in Cheviot. She also pointed us in the direction of Gore Bay as a must do somewhere we probably would have bypassed had we not be told to go.
We found this fabulous motor camp at Gore Bay right next to a stony/sandy beach a place well worth spending the night. So once set up it was again out with the E Bikes for a bit of an explore.
The eroded cliffs are called the Cathedral and its easy to see why although it was difficult to capture the erosion that shapes these with the camera giving the lighting at the time. What was also impossible to capture was the steepness of the hill to get there, all I can say is that the E Bikes made it easier rather than almost impossible. The lighthouse is according to a couple we met the Eastern most point of the South Island.
Later that afternoon we went for a stroll down the beach Sarah finding the latest in Haute Couture with this stunning example of Bull Kelp. There are meant to be fossilised shells in the cliffs but they eluded me. Of note are the Seagulls that as you may notice from the photo I was right next to when I took the photo it was as though they had no fear. The fence contains stones and shells that people have left a message about the beach. Very interesting.
We had to drive to Christchurch to get some oil for the camper it’s used around 750mls over the 6000kms we have traveled so it needs a top up. Thank heavens for GPS it just makes it so easy to find somewhere.
A couple of years ago when I was in Christchurch I was taken to a restaurant in Sumner right on the beach called Beach so we headed there for lunch both having fish and chips that we rated 5 out of 5 great food, great service, great place highly recommended.
At lunch we checked places to stay and discovered a DOC camp at Godley Head an old WW2 instillation and this place deserves it’s own blog with one coming soon.