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20th Feb - Christchurch

NEW ZEALAND | Sunday, 26 February 2006 | Views [449]

whale in kaikoura

whale in kaikoura

So, the New Zealand leg of the trip is now over....


The day we left Oamaru it started to rain and didn't stop for about three days. Good job we were staying with Francis Royston, a friend of Eoin's family from Portumna who moved over to NZ about 15 years ago.  Eoin and Francis spent the whole two days catching up on the Portumna gossip like a pair of old fishwives

From there we headed to Blenheim for the Marlborough wine festival.  After a four hour drive we had a near accommodation crisis where we were faced with the choice of either driving back two hours the way we'd come or sleeping in the car. Lucky for us the rain that was preventing us from puttnig the tent up for two days miracously stopped and we found somewhere not too boggy to pitch it.  Such hardy campers....

Wine Festival

The wine festival was ace, we went to a tutorial and ended up on the naughty table where we somehow ended up accumulating all the other table's half full bottles of wine.  Oh dear, poor Eoin hasn't been able to drink a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc since and I had to cancel our 2 hour boat ride to go whale watching the following day as I just didn't feel robust enough to manage it after all that vino, still it was a great day.

Whale Watching

Feeling a lot sturdier, we went whale watching a couple of days later.  I had thought that we would just be seeing them in the distance but our boat went right up close - we saw four sperm whales and then on the way back, a family of killer whales.  It was spectacular, they are so enormousand the sperm whales just lounge about on the surface of the water for ages so they're great to watch.  The town we stayed in, Kaikoura, also had a great seal colony where you could walk right up to them...all the other seals seemed so far away compared to that.

Rest of the trip..

After leaving Kaikoura, we spent a couple of days lounging around in Hamner Springs - a  tourist town solely based around a lovely complex of thermal pools. Very relaxing but really there wasn't a lot else to do round there.

From there we headed to the Banks Peninsular which was stunning.  A lovely place for extremely steep walks and for wandering around the town but my experience was marred by a particularly viscious bee who flew at my face, went behind my sunglasses and stung me on the eyelid on Friday night.  Even Eoin was sympathetic. On Saturday morning it had swollen up and I had to go everywhere in sunglasses but by Sunday morning I could barely open my eye and looked pretty frightening.  A pharmacist packed me off to a doctor who prescribed me some pills that acted like a sedative so i was either drowsy or asleep for a couple of days.  By about Monday night I looked almost normal, am glad it's all over!


During the whole swollen eye thing we met up with Ciaron Barry ( a cousin of Eoin's) and his family who were absolutely lovely to us despite my disfigurement!

On our last night in Christchurch we stayed at a really fancy hotel - thanks to Tasha and Helen.  You are both lovely (not that you ever read this tasha)! It was brilliant.  Any place that has a cocktail hour with free drinks (i just stuck to champagne!) is fine by me.  We definitely made the most of cocktail hour, depsite my sleepiness.

So, onto Oz...

Tags: Adventures

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