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Kia ora Happy Travelers! For you non Kiwi's, "kia ora" means hello and is suitable for starting our guest post today which is all about a Kaikoura, New Zealand.
This post is coming to you today from Luke Marlin of Backstreet Nomad's Anti Travel Guides. Luke works a regular 9-5 job, and his salary he calls his travel fund. He and his wife spend most of their time in negative annual leave due to this expensive yet incredibly rewarding hobby.
Luke travels for 3 reasons: becoming immersed in a different culture, finding the less obvious attractions, and for hectic bragging rights back home.
He is the author of Backstreet Nomad’s Anti Travel Guides, available on Amazon and on his blog www.antitravelguides.com. You can also follow Luke on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.
It's the perfect example that you don't have to quite your job and abandon your family to see the world. Not only that, but he's got a love for New Zealand. Anyone who's cool with New Zealand is cool with me!
I'm especially excited about this post because, although Pat and I covered a ton of ground while we were in New Zealand, Kaikoura is actually one spot we didn't make it to. From Luke's pictures it seems we definitely missed out.
So, enough of my blabbing on, let's here from Luke!
New Zealand is a place that is very popular with, among others, Australians and (evidently) the Chinese. Not to generalise, but the Australians travel in campervans and the Chinese travel in tour buses. Being Australian I opted for the former and spent 3 weeks driving the coast of the New Zealand South Island. Not just some of the coast, but pretty much all of it. In the North-east coast is a small town called Kaikoura, a small seaside town of about 2000 that is well known for its fishing and whale sightings. Kaikoura is a very cute little town but the beauty lies in the mountains that dominate the landscape at a very close distance.
The name Kaikoura is actually derived from the Maori words for food (Kai) and crayfish (koura). They were pretty adept those Maori because there are a lot of crayfish in the ocean by Kaikoura. In fact there are a lot of marine creatures in the sea because Kaikoura is very uniquely located in our world. Because these mountains are so close to the water they essentially continue descending just off the coast at a similar grade. In only a couple of hundred metres out to the sea the sea floor can drop to over 2000 metres (6500 feet). The currents that this causes attracts many small fish which then attracts bigger fish and whales. The whales dive for food and come to the surface to breathe and it is these whales that have brought Kaikoura into existence. Initially whaling was the big industry, now the whales attract tourism.
I was of course a part of this because I booked a scenic flight to view a whale as he comes up to breathe. There are also boat tours available but I figured the scenic flight would be quicker (the whales don’t actually stick around for very long) and we’d also be treated to seeing the town, peninsula and mountains from the air. I tell you, we almost didn’t see a whale, and while that would have been disappointing, it would not have been a deal breaker because seeing the mountains from the air was just magnificent. Interestingly enough, coming into land was actually somewhat of a highlight as this brought us back closer to the mountains which made them seem even more immense and the landing field (yes, field, not a strip) was right by the water. So we had water to the left and mountains to the right. An unforgettable experience.
Kaikoura is also home to 2 seal colonies out on Kaikoura Peninsula. These can easily be seen from the cliffs above on a 2 hour nature walk, or you can actually get quite close to them by taking the low road and walking out near the rocks they are laying on. Don’t expect too much movement though, the seals spend most of their time out at sea fishing and come to land to rest and recover. Still, occasionally one seal will piss off another and you’ll hear them barking, which causes some excitement. At the colony that I visited there must have been at least 30 seals resting. Be careful not to get too close though, over jagged rocks they are much, much quicker than you!
Kaikoura is a beautiful town and I would say it warrants at least a full day and night. If you arrive in the evening you can be up early enough the next morning to either go on a whale watching cruise or scenic flight. Both are great options depending on your preference, budget and time restriction. Have some fish and chips for lunch - there are plenty of vendors to choose from - Kaikoura is known for its blue cod so keep an eye out for that, it won't be hard.
After lunch drive out to Kaikoura Peninsula. There are a couple of walks along the clifftop that will offer some great views of the ocean and the seals above. If you park at the northern car park the steps will lead you up to the path and loop back in about 2 hours. Or if you’d prefer to have an up-close encounter with the seals (but not too close, remember) ignore the steps altogether and just follow the water around the point and you will see the seal colony after walking for about 15 minutes.
Kaikoura was one of my favourite places I visited in New Zealand because of its incredible beauty and the natural wildlife that was so accessible. If you are heading to the South Island make sure to stop by.
Wow! Pat and I were talking the other day that New Zealand might be creeping up on our list of places we need to go back to soon and I'm pretty sure we're going to have to add Kaikoura on our list of places to see the next time around.
Thanks to Luke with Backstreet Nomad's Anti Travel Guides for sharing his beautiful pictures and tips for a visit there. If you want to see more of what he's up to (and I know you do), be sure to check him out on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.
As always, thanks for stopping by, have a great rest of your week, and don't forget to travel happy!
Hi there! I'm Skeeter. I grew up moving a lot and that makes me a bit restless for travel and exploration. I started this blog with my husband Pat when we decided to backpack New Zealand for a year. We are always looking for the next adventure and are loving life. We're just your average couple with two sassy dogs and a love for travel. We're sharing our travels and the tips we pick up along the way.
Hello! I'm Liz. Blogging is very new to me, but I'm so excited to finally write as much as I talk!
"Don't forget to travel happy"-Skeeter & Liz