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On Walkabout from: Kaikoura to Hamner Springs

The final night my wife and I spent on New Zealand’s Kaikoura Peninsula in our campervan proved to be quite cold and we really wished the campervan had a heater in it. So far we were not having the type of luck in regards to the weather on the South Island that we had experienced on the North Island. Our bad luck with the weather would continue as the next morning we woke up to cloudy and rainy skies:


My wife and I drove our campervan over to the Whale Watch Kaikoura headquarters and once again we were informed that the morning tours had been canceled due to the weather and that we should return around lunch time to get an update if any tours would be able to run in the afternoon. So since we had to waste some time again in the morning we decided to head back over to the end of the peninsula and check out the sea lions again.

At the end of the peninsula we could not spot any of sea lions near the shore so we decided to take a walk on a trail that begins at the parking lot near the sea lion colony since the rain had stopped. The trail climbed up some stairs to the top of a hill where we had a great look at an old Maori Pa:


Pa are terraced fortresses that the indigenous Maori people built to defend their home territories. This Pa was used as a defensive base for the Maori that once lived on this peninsula that has since been long abandoned. We continued our walk along the trail as it hugged along the high cliffs that compose this peninsula:


The middle of the peninsula is basically just a few rolling hills and a lot of grassland used for grazing sheep:


We did not have a chance to continue our hike much further because the rain once again started coming down in buckets. We decided to turn around and head back for our campervan. We waited in our campervan for the rain to let up since we had no where else to go because we had to wait to go back to the Whale Watch headquarters to see if there was any chance of the tours beginning again that afternoon.

The rain eventually stopped again and my wife and I then began to walk along the waterfront and we spotted our first and only sea lion that day that had come up to the shore despite the rain:


Soon after spotting the sea lion we had to head back into town to check on our whale watching tour. Once we got to the Whale Watch headquarters we were informed the tours had once again been canceled and would probably be canceled the next day as well because of the poor weather. My wife and I decided to forget the tour and continue on to our next destination. The Whale Watch people were very understanding and refunded in full our reservation money.

From Kaikoura our next destination was the wild west coast of New Zealand. To get there though we had to cross over the imposing peaks of the Southern New Zealand Alps:


We drove our campervan down a lonely country road towards the city of Hamner Springs that sits in the middle of the Southern Alps. The scenery between Kaikoura and Hamner Springs was nothing but pastoral farming land backdropped by imposing peaks that made an appearance occasionally from the clouds:


The vast majority of the pastoral land we saw was filled with sheep:


Though Australia is home to more sheep then New Zealand, the Kiwis however have the highest per capita percentage of sheep in the world and anyone visiting New Zealand will quickly see why because there is sheep on just about every piece of pastoral land:


As we continued down the road the mountains came closer and closer and we began our ascent up the mountains:


While ascending the mountains my wife and I were just spellbound by the beauty of this river that flowed through the mountains and was framed by the yellow gorse weeds:


Soon after taking this picture the massive down pour you can see in the distance reached our campervan and any picture taking became impossible. We continued down the road in the driving rain that eventually turned into light snow as we neared Hamner Springs. It was nearly dark when we reached the caravan park in Hamner Springs. There was plenty of spots available at the park and we settled in for the night. Hamner Springs is located high up in the mountains and that night would easily prove to be the coldest one we spent during our entire time in New Zealand.

Next Posting: Video of the Mountains Near Kaikoura

Prior Posting: Video of Kaikoura’s Sea Lions

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