Our Fate Was SealedA WANDER DOWN UNDER, CHAPTER 23: IN WHICH TIME SHIFTS AND WE DO, TOO
Day 26: Christchurch to Kaikoura. As we were sleeping last night, New Zealand implemented Daylight Saving Time and "sprang forward" one hour. Thus when I awoke this morning and saw 6 a.m. on my watch, I was mistaken in thinking I had two hours to drag around before our agreed upon departure time from Christchurch. A few minutes later, Ken awoke and looked at his phone. "Already after 7?" he remarked. My "extra" hour evaporated and, though we both had plenty of sleep, we were just a little out of step.
By the time we packed up and moved out of our stylish apartment, checked out, and bid farewell to the charming innkeeper Carol, it was 8:45. We asked the GPS to take us to the coastal town of Kaikoura, and off we went, Less than a block later, we discovered just how disoriented we were. When directed to turn right onto Peterborough Street by the GPS, we did, driving in the right lane. Immediately, both of us sensed that something was amiss, but neither figured out our error until we reached the end of this short block and realized that we had just executed the error of wrong-way driving, something we've struggled to avoid for the past month. Fortunately for us—and potential victims—there was very little traffic that early on time-change Sunday morning.
|The scene of our confusion (image from Google Maps)|
|Chardonnay on the left of us, riesling on the right|
Past Waipara, we drove through the lush fields and pastures of the Greta River valley and stopped for a break at the cozy Mainline Station Cafe in the modest hamlet of Domett. Over a cup of tea and a freshly baked parmesan and spinach scone, we chatted with cafe owner John, a veteran of the cruise ship industry.
|Yummy scones inside|
Later in the day, as we approached Kaikoura on the east coast, we entered the Seward Kaikoura Coastal range, winding our way on SH-1, as it skirted the rocky shores wedged between the mountains and the Pacific Ocean. A cold rain began falling a few miles south of Kaikoura and continued as we checked in at the Aspen Court motel.
By the time we polished off the entire large pizza and caught up on email, news and football scores, the rain had taken a breather, so we drove out Fyffe Quay toward the southeastern tip of the Kaikoura Peninsula to visit some popular town residents. Along the way we paused to check out an isolated chimney along the shore. This lonely sentinel was once part of the local customs house in the days when Kaikoura was port-dependent with no rail or road connections.
Long a target for fur harvesters, these seals were brought back from the brink of extinction by protective legislation. The population has rebounded, and Fyffe Quay hosts one of several thriving colonies in the Kaikoura area.
By the time we pulled ourselves away from these winsome hosts and drove up to the town overlook at the end of Maui Street, the rain was back to stay. We yielded to a stronger foe and called it a day, returning to the hotel for the night.
Tomorrow we'll continue up the South Island's east coast before turning back west to Nelson on the northern shore.
- Started in Christchurch, ended in Kaikoura
- Mileage - 130 (Trip total: 14,654)
- Weather - 41° to 46°, overcast, windy, rainy
- Grapevines - 34,910
- New Zealand fur seals - 62
- Sheep - 7,241
SUNDAY, 28 SEPTEMBER, 2014
More Photos from Today
|Lovely cup of tea at the Mainline Station Cafe|
|A fishing ban offshore allows Kaikoura to maintain the bounty of fish that attract whales and dolphins to the area.|
|Statement hedge in front of a Kaikoura home|
|Nice view of the town from the Maui Street overlook.|