• Te Waka a Maui - 3

  • Caterbury and Kaikoura

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Te Waka a Maui 3

Te Waka a Maui - "Maui's Canoe" - the South Island of New Zealand.

This is the last part of our South Island journey in 2008. From Wanaka we drove through the Lindis Pass and down to the east coast at Moeraki, where we saw the peculiar Moeraki Boulders. Then up to Christchurch to visit rellies and have a quick trip around Bank's Peninsula. Our final major stop was Kaikoura, a beautiful and fascinating place that is bountiful with marine life. Then it was back to Picton and onto the ferry to the North Island.

We caught our ferry - a bit reluctantly. It had been a great trip. When can we do it again?

To see the North Island part of our journey, see Te Ika a Maui.

On the Road Again

Time to get a move on. We didn't have many days left and we had to get to the Cook Strait ferry in time for our reservation.

We drove to the coast via the Lindis Pass, visited Kurow, Duntroon and Moeraki, then turned north. On to Christchurch and Akaroa, then Kaikoura, and back to Picton for our ferry.

Lindis Pass

The Lindis Pass leads to the Mackenzie country, where in 1820 James Mackenzie hid the sheep he stole with the aid of his clever dog. Then on to Kurow, with its two-toned pub and whimsical hay bale installation. Kurow was being visited by a flock of sports cars too.

Maori rock paintings, elephant rocks, and then Moeraki.


The Moeraki Boulders litter the beach. They look like very large cannon balls left lying around by a careless navy. They have a magnetic attraction for tour buses - but with a bit of luck and timing you can pretend the beach is deserted.

Akaroa and Christchurch

We pressed on up the coast to Christchurch where we were entertained by hospitable cousins and shown the wonders of Bank's Peninsula. We drove out to the end of the penisula through dry rolling hills to the little town of Akaroa and its attendant harbour.

Akaroa is a pretty little spot but ultimately slightly disapponting because it seems to have largely forgotten its origins as an historic French settlement - except for the tourists of course, but it wasn't very convincing.

Then back to Christchurch to admire the very fine new Art Gallery, an elegant contermporary spectacle in glass and aluminium. Well engineered too as it turned out a few years later when it handily survived the Christchurch earthquake.


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 barbeque restaurant with a bunch of folding tables. Very nice crayfish it was too.


Later we had to move on to get closer to Picton and our ferry. So we went on up the coast, past the deserted beaches and the saltworks at Grassmere, past the restored cob cottage at Blenheim and out to our last DOC campsite on the coast at Rarangi. Then, in the morning, around the back road to Picton, following the coast of Cloudy Bay and Queen Charlotte Sound.