Kaikoura is another of those places with a special magic. It is a pretty piece of coast - very pretty - but its main claim to fame is the abundance of marine life due to the rich food source in the nearby undersea Hikurangi Trench. Plenty to do - we had a great day and a half there - but we needed longer, and this was our last major stop in the South Island. Next time maybe.
We arrived late on a beautiful day and watched the birds and seals at sunset at the end of the Kaikoura Peninsula, just outside the town. Next day we went back and spent a long day walking all around the cliffs and bays, practically tripping over dozing seals and chasing after all kinds of birds, trying to photograph them. We scrambled up a steep path that got a bit scary near the top of a cliff. And after all the exercise, we lunched by the road, where an enterprising couple had set up a barbecue restaurant with a bunch of folding tables - and very nice crayfish it was too.
Later we had to get a move on to get closer to Picton, and our ferry. So on we went up the coast, past the deserted beaches and the salt works at Grassmere, past the restored cob cottage in Blenheim, and on to our last DOC campsite at Rarangi. Then, in the morning, around the back road to Picton, following the coast of Cloudy Bay and Queen Charlotte Sound.
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