I am Linda and along with my husband Richard and our dog Muffin we enjoy our summers on the UK's canal system

Wednesday 20 March 2024

The BIG One - New Zealand - Days 44, 45 and 46

 Friday 15th March - Kaikoura 

We were woken up at 3am by a siren going, goodness knows what it was.  

We wanted to go and see a seal colony this morning so got there about 10am to be sure of a motor home sized parking space.  We found the seals, I have never seen so many. The mothers basking in the sunshine after a nights fishing and the babies either playing on the rocks or in the water. We walked on a bit further and found more - it really was lovely watching them all. We watched one Mum sit up then flop down on her back with her flippers in the air!  We continued walking and had to climb a high cliff, well the footpath snaked up it, and ended up by walking 3 miles over all sorts of terrain before returning to Kiwi where we flopped down on a wall with a cold Coke.  Our knees were killing us.

A magnitude 7.8 earthquake near Kaikoura, destroyed much of the State Highway 1 coastal road on either side of Kaikoura on 14th November 2016. There were huge landslips on the coastal cliff face of the Ohau Point, burying a large portion of the Ohau Point Seal Colony.  The tsunami that followed the earthquake reached a peak height of about 7 metres.  By 2018 the seals had colonised new rocks and were back to breeding in Kaikoura once again.

We drove into Kaikoura, wandered around then had lunch. We went on to sit on the sea front for a while and even though the sun was hot the wind was chilly so went back to the site and sat out there where it was sheltered.

Saturday 16th March - Kaikoura 

There are two ways to get to Kaikoura from Christchurch, an inland one and a coastal one.  We decided to do the inland one today and the coastal one on Sunday on our return.

The first part of the drive was very straight then we started to climb and zig zag.  We stopped for a coffee and I found a plaque which said that the idea for this road was put forward in 1879. It’s construction was let out on contract, mainly to unemployed men and proceeded very slowly.  On March 5th 1887 a procession set out to make the first journey over the barely completed road, the 55 miles were covered in 11 hours.  The road was finally finished when it was sealed in April 2000.

We have noticed the amount of irrigation that goes on in the valleys and on the plains.  The amount of water used is mind blowing.  I can remember, not sure where from, someone saying that water is one thing they aren’t short of in New Zealand.  There are yellow fields and green fields. The yellow ones tend to be in the hills and the green ones in the valleys but these are only green because they are irrigated.  There are still animals on the yellow fields but there is no goodness in the grass so I don’t know how they survive.  There appear to be three main types of irrigation.  Sprinklers on the ground, jets of water on poles (about 5 foot high) and a wheeled system where one end is connected to the water supply and the rest pivots on that.  These can be huge, Richard measured one that wasn’t being used and against a hedge - it was over 500 metres long

We arrived in Kaikoura, popped into the supermarket, found the site and settled down for the evening.

Sunday 17th March - Christchurch

We set off for Christchurch feeling sad as it was our last journey. We stopped for coffee at Kaikoura’s South Beach before hitting State Highway 1.

After the 2016 earthquake, the Highway 1 was rebuilt.  The new road snakes along the coast and mountains before coming back down to sea level and flat land again, north of Christchurch.  We could see areas of new forestation on the mountain sides which was nice to see and the only areas we have seen.  The road started to get busier as we approached Christchurch. 

All over New Zealand you come across one way bridges.  People are very good and observe the rules.  However, today, on State Highway 1, the main road from the very north to the very south, we encountered one!  We have noticed that there are very few potholes on the roads, but then there are lots of road works.  I guess the UK is way behind with its road conditions.

The site was fully booked again, being near the airport and all the motor home depots has its uses!  

I did a lot of the sorting and some of the packing while Richard did some of the cleaning. We were fortunate in that tomorrow we are able to take the van to the Airbnb and drop everything off before taking the van back. All a matter of minutes away from each other.


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