Travel.P #9 – Kaikoura and Tekapo with Lean

“You can do anything, but not everything.”


― David Allen

Leaving Christchurch north, after picking up Lean and some food we headed towards Kaikoura. I was happy to see him again. Since Highway one was still blocked, even between Kaikoura and Christchurch, we had to take a detour through the hills and it took us around three and a half hours.

Starting in the flats of Christchurch we slowly approached the tall mountains of Kaikoura. First we drove through green hobbit hills and than through small mountains until we arrived at the Ocean again. 180 km further north than where we started. The ride was nice, but not breathtaking. Therefore Kaikoura was. A small town, in between huge mountains, the extension of the Southern Alps and the Ocean. The range rises straight from the coast to the north of the town, and reaches its highest point with the 2,608-metre (8,556 ft) Mount Manakau.

Nice swimming spot on the day hike
relaxed day hike in Kaikoura

The Mountains drop after a small flat bit where Kaikoura is based, deep into the ocean to 1000 and even to 1400 meters. The ecosystem of the canyon is 10 to 100 times more productive than similar habitats around the globe. It is amazing. A reason for permanent opportunities for whale watching, that we sadly missed. Kaikoura is in my eyes one of the most underrated places to hang out in New Zealand. It is beautiful, peaceful and small. The inhabitants I met are great and the sunset/sunrise are breathtaking, because of its beauty. If we wouldn’t be caught into a strict time frame of two weeks for travelling around the South Island, we would have spend more time there. Later in my journey I spend time on my own there.

View of on the Mountains and the Ocean of Kaikoura
Lean in his element at a beachfront in the back of Emma.

In Kaikoura we stayed for one, two days and had some nice fish and chips as a treat. The nice thing about traveling with a van is that you won’t pay for accommodation and eat or hang out where ever there is a chance to park it, with respecting of wildlife and plants. So we had mostly all our meals at lakes or the ocean, with a beautiful view, and surprising peace, considering we stayed on parking areas as well.

Rear part kitchen system of Emma

Emma was converted into a van with a kitchen in the back and the bed embraced by twin sliding doors. I like that system, because it is easy to keep it clean and you are most of the time outside, even when you cook or eat. In the back there was a table that you could fold out and transform it into a table, hanging from the rear door, which worked as a shelter.

We found it is nice to walk up the hill in Kaikoura from the south. It leads you from the hill down to beautiful coast bits, where there are small pools, perfect for to go for a swim and a nice place to hang out for a bid.

Picture of people we invited over, Lean, his friend and me in Tekapo

When we left Kaikoura without seeing a single whale, we could use Highway 1, which is leading a bit along the coast back to Christchurch, since it was Sunday and no road works on HW1. From Christchurch we headed next to the lakes in the south. Lake Tekapo was our first destination. A beautiful white and turquoise Lake that covers an area of 83 square kilometres, and is at an altitude of 710 metres above sea level. Impressive beauty and cold water after a short swim. Its turquoise color is brighter to the one of the ocean and the lakes water is shimmering a bit white, as if there is flour in the water. We met some Argentinian friends at the Lake, and spend the evening at the lake. Sharing a couple drinks, hoping for the clouds to remove and give us the chance to glimpse at the beautiful stars of the Dark Sky Reserves of New Zealand, one of four worldwide. We didn’t have the luck of the stars, but a nice evening at the lake. The next day we went on a hike up to the Mt John Observatory, with again beautiful views over the whole area, surrounded by mountains.

Beautiful day at the shore of Lake Tekapo

That is it from my blog for today. The next time I will tell you more about our journey, from Mt Cook, Cromwell to Dunedin and maybe I about Wanaka.

Since this is my second Blog not written in the legendary Dock Libraries of Melbourne, I excuse myself for bad writing or lags of creativity, it is just not the same to write in a normal library, hahaha.

For you today, my challenge is to find some time, grab a good book and read a couple pages, or maybe even get completely absorbed by it! My impulse for this is sourced by my completion of the first part of the trilogy of the Lord of the Rings, WOW! what are great book. Its English language is embracing you and it is hard release the book of your hands. It carries you far into another world.

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