Marilyn & Paul's New Zealand Trip 2014 travel blog

Seals at Oahu Lookout

Entering Marlborough wine country

Crossing the Redwood Pass (shot out of the window whilst on the...

Where did all the mountains go? When we arrived yesterday evening we were surrounded by beautiful hills and mountains - when we awoke this morning they had all disappeared...replaced by low cloud, mist and drizzle. We therefore quickly decided that our intended walk up 'Conical Hill' was a non-starter, so we headed off east to Kaikoura. As we weren't in any great hurry we decided to take the back-country Route 70 from Waiau instead of cutting across to SH1. What a choice! The scenery was amazing and incredibly varied - well worth the rather testing drive. We can now see why even the sat-nav took some persuading to offer that route as a viable option!

When we eventually got there, Kaikoura itself felt rather tacky and disappointing - perhaps our impression may have been different if the murky English weather hadn't followed us there! We had hoped that we might take a whale-watching boat-trip, but it was so misty and grim that all the operators appeared to have given up and gone home!

We therefore decided not to linger any longer, but head for Blenheim (and the numerous Marlborough wineries!). What a drive! Even in cloudy grey conditions it was astonishing - we can only guess what it would be like on a better day. For much of the way the road clung precariously to the coastline, sometimes looking out over extensive seal colonies. Having pulled-over at the Oahu Lookout viewpoint we sat for ages watching the antics of the seals on the rocks below (see photo).

The last section of the journey, over the Redwood Pass, was also pretty spetacular, and included our first sight of the numerous and extensive Marlborough Region vineyards.

We decided to spend the night at the Top 10 site in Blenheim itself. The English weather has again caught up with us though - it is now 10pm and during the evening it has turned very wet and windy. The rain is currently lashing down and hammering on the van roof, so we are keeping our options open for tomorrow (if all else fails there are plenty of wineries to visit!). Perhaps a riverside campsite was not such a good idea though!

170 miles driven today

1609 total miles driven

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