New Zealand
Kaikoura District

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  • Day73

    Dolphins!

    January 18 in New Zealand ⋅ 🌙 11 °C

    Our alarm went of at 5:00. We dressed up, had a cup of lemon flavoured yoghurt and walked the 5 minutes to the dolphin encounter office. It was still dark outside, silent and empty streets. But at the office was full of people ready for the tour. After waiting a couple of minutes in their café, we were led to a movie room to watch some scenic videos about Kaikoura. Probably to fill the time the swimmers needed to dress into their wetsuits. Once they were ready, we all got to view an instructional video about the tour. For the people who were snorkeling how to behave in the water, and for us and other watchers how to behave on the boat. Afterwards we were led to two busses which led us to two boats. That actually meant that the group sizes were quite small. Each boat carried only 16 swimmers and around 8 watchers.

    The search for dolphins began. The two boats took on a flank formation to maximise their line of sight. It didn't take very long before some dolphins were sighted jumping in the distance. Once there we went to the deck while the swimmers were released into the water. Some dolphins were immediately curious to discover the boat and swam around and under it. We didn't really know where to look. They were so many and they were incredibly playful. One really wanted to show off and did a complete round of jumping around the boat. It's hard to describe but the pure sight of them just made us happy and smile. The cool thing about this was that this was not in a controlled environment. These were wild dolphins.

    We were told that we were lucky because there were 3 kinds this morning while they usually see one or two: dusky dolphins, Héctor dolphins and common dolphins (if we remember correctly). We weren't so good in spotting the differences. We also tried asking them for a selfie with us but sadly they ignored that and just kept swimming and jumping around. So be it.

    After the tour it was still only 9 in the morning. We went back to the hostel for second breakfast and some resting.
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  • Day72

    The wine station

    January 17 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    After 3 days of very limited breakfast it was extra nice to have a free and almost unlimited waffle, toasts, cornflakes and coffee breakfast. We certainly made use of that. Then it was time to get to the bus station where our bus to Kaikoura would leave around 9:45. The bus ride wasn't spectacular but wasn't too bad either. It took us 6 hours to arrive in Kaikoura including a 2.5 hour stopover in Blenheim. Blenheim is known for its wine. Apart from wine it doesn't have more to offer than a nice park with a clock tower. We bought some lunch and ate it there while waiting for the next bus. The Internet connection in the bus was decent and for once we didn't overthink things and just booked a dolphin watching tour in Kaikoura for the next day at 5:30 - yes, the sunrise tour. In Kaikoura we had to do quite some walking. First to the hostel and then a 5km return getting food at the supermarket. But it was a nice walk too with views on the sea. We made soms great beetroot wraps.

    To make this post a bit more interesting, here some price indication on New Zealand travel life:

    Hostel bed in dorm: 25-35 NZD pp sometimes including breakfast
    Camping: everything is possible from 0 to 35 NZD pp, on the North Island we mostly camped for 15pp
    Fuel: 2,10-2,30NZD per liter, our small rental cars consume 6-7,5 per 100km
    Small rental car including 0 excess insurance: 100 NZD per day in the Christmas week on the North Island, 40 NZD per day now on the South Island
    A burger, chips or other things at the takeaway for 2 people: 8-18 NZD
    Groceries: 30 NZD per day
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  • Day103

    Kaikoura

    February 4 in New Zealand ⋅ ☀️ 26 °C

    Kaikoura ist eine Ausgangsbasis für Wildtier-Abenteuer jeder Art. Die Spezialität in Kaikoura liegt bei den Begegnungen mit Meeressäugetieren - in den Küstengewässern leben Wale, Seerobben und Delfine. Ausserdem gibt es hier überall Krebse zu kaufen (in der Sprache der Maori bedeutet „kai“ Essen und „koura“ Krebs). Der Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway ist perfekt um die Seerobenkolonie zu beobachten. Die erste Kolonie sichteten wir bereits schon vor der Ortschaft an der Küste, wo überall junge Seerobben miteinander spielten. Für Morgen ist eine Waltour geplant, ob sie stattfindet werden wir jedoch erst kurzfristig erfahren. Zurzeit weht ein sehr starker Wind, welches die See sehr rau macht.Read more

  • Day18

    Kaikoura

    April 23, 2019 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

    Wake-up call early in the morning for a 1.5 hours drive to Kaikoura. Nice little town at the beach which is well known for its seafood 🦞 and whale 🐳 watching excursions. Unfortunately the whales had been out of the operated section in the morning hours 🙈. Marc and I planned something different anyway. We went for a walk along the beautiful Kaikouri peninsula where we had seen many fur seals including babies together with their mothers just a few meters away from us. Afterwards I went for lunch together with Marc. I tried green lipped mussels for the first time. It was very delicious 😋! At two o‘clock already at a camp ground in Kaikoura with a good Pinot Gris from Marlborough, New Zealand 🇳🇿.Read more

  • Day68

    Day 68/72: SUCH A GOOD DAY

    January 3, 2019 in New Zealand ⋅ ☀️ 23 °C

    What an incredible day. Against many odds we managed to do the 2 last things on our list of wild activities. It was the grand finale for our massive travelling adventure, and we saw it out in style.

    The issue being described previously, we woke at 0145 on Thursday morning. The stars were some of the greatest we have ever seen, and after seeing some shooting stars, we set off on the 4 hour journey back down South. We were heading for Activity 1, swimming with dolphins! We didn't know the date of this activity, but on the off chance it was today, drove down. The drive was peaceful and the sun rose as we went on our way. We arrived, and after a short nap, walked to the centre to find that we had booked the activity for the following day. All hope was not lost though, and we waited in anticipation (watching a Ray swim lazily along the harbour wall) to see if anyone would cancel at this hour in the morning (0620). Then, a stroke of luck! The lady at the desk took pity on us and handed us the golden tickets (orange wristbands) of glory that let us through the arches (door) into the changing rooms! We couldn't have moved quicker and soon we were wetsuited up and ready to go.

    We got into the little boat with 8 others and headed out into the harbour in search of the dolphins. We were in search of the Hector's Dolphin, the rarest and smallest sea dolphin in the world (about 1m in length). As they're all completely wild, we were relying on the dolphins playful nature and pure curiosity of us to see them.

    This paid off though, and we saw them, their little dorsal fins breaking and then going under the surface of the water. It was brilliant to see, and after a few sightings of dolphins that weren't interested in the boat we came across a couple that were more enthusiastic. We got into the water and bobbed around in the thick wetsuits. The dolphins came up to us and swam right by us! It was very exciting but they seemed intent on breakfast so we turned to get back in the boat and try again. But then, a little figure pops out the water just in front of us and a blue penguin swims by, just starting his day of fishing!

    We then went on and for a while just watched and looked out for dolphins, until the time came for us to get back in the water! This was brilliant, as the Dolphins came right up next to us and were swimming underneath us and everything! It was so exciting, there must have been about 8 of them! We did that for as long as it took the Dolphins to get bored of us and then got back in the boat, had some hot chocolate and headed back to shore.

    We then went off to Activity 2, whale watching! Whilst we had been swimming, we'd had our wait list slot confirmed so needed to get back to the place we'd left earlier that morning by 1315. The arrival time said 1321 so we set off and headed up north again, arriving just on time!

    The whale watching was incredible. After a brief, we got on the boat and headed out to the sea. The water depth drops suddenly to about 1100m which is where the whales like to dive. We saw ospreys and Dolphins along the way, and the spout of a sey whale which is really rare for this area! We got told different bits of info as the boat trip went on which was great, and we waited for the Sperm whale that was in the area to resurface so we could see it.

    It was amazing to see. The whale resurfaced and the boat went over to a respectable distance away so we could watch him breathe. Sperm whales spend about 5-10 minutes on the surface before diving back down, so we got to bask in it's magnificence before it took its last breath, and slowly dived, his tail coming in an arc out of the water and then dropping beneath the surface. It was brilliant to watch, such a special experience.

    We then drove all the way back down to Christchurch, powered by fish and chips. We knew the next day was just going to be one of packing up and relaxing, so it was better to do all the driving in one day. We got to the campsite at about 8 and found a nice spot in the corner of the field, and settled into our penultimate night in the campervan.
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  • Day40

    18-1 Kaikoura: dolfijnen

    January 18, 2019 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

    De dag begint na het uitzwaaien van Manuela, met een domper; mijn zeehonden staan op het punt geannuleerd te worden: te koud, dan zwemmen ze niet. (?) Ik kan morgenochtend. Beetje veel als je dan 's middags ook met dolfijnen gaat zwemmen. Gelukkig kan ik vanmiddag met de dolfijnen mee! Ik ben helemaal blij en loop aldoor met een suffe grijns op mijn gezicht.
    "Ze houden ervan als je voor ze zingt en als je onderduikt". Leermomentje: doe dat niet tegelijk! Ik stik er bijna in. Krijg daardoor wel de aandacht die ik zocht. Gaaf hoor. Door dat bijna verzuipen daarna toch koud en tegen zeeziek aan. Blijft toch indrukwekkend om zo'n hele oceaan te zien friemelen van de dolfijnen. Aan de video kan je zien dat er toch wel wat golven waren 🤢. Kan bij aankomst op de camping meteen door in de hot tub. Toffe dag.
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  • Day41

    19-1 Kaikoura: zeehonden

    January 19, 2019 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

    Nu gaat het door. Het moet warm zijn, dan gaan de zeehonden nl. het water in om af te koelen.
    Dit is relaxter dan met de dolfijnen, vooral omdat het snorkelen zelf erg gaaf is. De zeehonden komen af en toe langs, maar kijken me aan met zo'n blik van "zout eens op, je zwemt in de weg". Niemand komt bubbeltjes in mijn gezicht blazen.
    Ik zie een mega octopus en veel vissen, erg mooi. Geen foto's want het was een open boot en ik wilde mijn fototoestel niet riskeren.
    's Middags relaxen, het is onweersachtig benauwd, maar na drie spatten waait het over.
    Ik zie een Pino en de bijbehorende fietsers. Ik heb tips voor hen, maar zij ook voor mij: er is een fietspad Kaikoura uit! Dat scheelt toch ettelijke kilometers highway. Hoera!
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  • Day38

    16-1 Kaikoura

    January 16, 2019 in New Zealand ⋅ ☀️ 18 °C

    Gisteren bleek Manuela naast me te staan,we hadden even vluchtig staan praten in Waiau. Vandaag samen aan de wandel. Eerst dolfijnen boeken, kan pas zaterdag, maar ik sta op de wachtlijst. Ik vind de camping niet zo heel leuk namelijk; aan de highway. Maar de dagen krijg ik goed gevuld. Morgen walvissen, vrijdag zwemmen met zeehonden. De wandeling vandaag was veel langer dan gepland, maar erg mooi, vooral vanwege alle nieuwe rotsen. Wat je voor de aardbeving zag bij laag water, zie je nu bij hoog water. Zo veel is de zeebodem omhoog gekomen. Moeilijk kiezen uit de foto's, dus ik doe er nog een paar apart voor biologen.... 😉Read more

  • Day73

    Seal Colony

    December 3, 2018 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    Heute sind wir mit den Fahrrädern, die man sich vom Hostel umsonst ausleihen konnte, zur Seal Colony gefahren. Es war zwar warm, aber super nebelig, man konnte kaum was sehen auf dem Meer. Die Seehunde hat das offensichtlich nicht gestört, die lagen entspannt auf den Felsen und haben geschlafen.

  • Day37

    15-1 Kaikoura

    January 15, 2019 in New Zealand ⋅ ☁️ 13 °C

    Ff niet zo veel zin om te schrijven. Veel klimmen, maar meestal goed te doen. Beetje wind mee. Gratis koffie in de lodge tijdens buitje en terwijl ze eigenlijk dicht waren. Goede oefening om in het moment te blijven en niet te veel met het doel bezig te zijn.
    Pas wind tegen tijdens afdaling. Prima timing dus. 1189 hoogtemeters en 90 km (omdat de 4square door de aardbeving niet meer bestaat en ik dus nog naar de New World moest) dus wel een beetje moe.Read more

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