Sunday, January 1, 2012


Arriving in Kaikoura in time for a late lunch (and far too early to check in), we drove through the middle of town and decided after some dithering to try the Thai Siam for lunch. All the options we saw were quite expensive; it’s evidently not a cheap place to stay (we paid NZ$125 a night) nor eat out. Our lunch was tasty enough, but not really worth the price. Laetitia tried abalone (NZ paua in fact) and says the flavour was indistinct.

After lunch we checked in to our accommodation, the Comfort Inn Mediterranean Motel at the north end of town, and then visited the local quilt shop, A Patch of Country (good range of fabrics, friendly staff, more expensive - says Laetitia). For dinner we snacked in our room, which was spacious enough with a small kitchenette (full sink, microwave, electric frypan but no other hotplate).

In the morning we enjoyed a 40-minute guided tour of a limestone cave just to the south of town with a garrulous and enthusiastic guide. This cave was discovered by accident when the wall of the limestone quarry outside fell through. Probably there are many other caves in the area, but nobody has bothered looking for them.

We had lunch in town at Coriander’s Indian Restaurant, a remarkable find on the main highway rather than in the busy and expensive town centre. Our satisfying meal cost us less than $NZ40. Highly recommended.

After lunch we drove out to Point Kean to see the seals. The tide was out but starting to come back in, and we walked out over the rocks following the fishy smell. We saw three seals, one male moving around a bit and two females sleeping, as well as a variety of birdlife. In the car park there was a mother duck with three ducklings, all quite bold in looking cute and hopeful.

Then we drove just northwest of town to the lavender farm, where we enjoyed a leisurely stroll through the scent-heavy gardens. Already a little tired beforehand, the rich lavender in the air was enough to make me feel very sleepy, so from there we returned to our motel and I had a nap.

We had originally thought we might go whale-watching but the miserable weather (cold and occasionally drizzly) and the expense put us off.

Dinner was a stir-fry cooked in our room.

The next morning we left early because we had a ferry to catch just after midday.

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