|Day 7 Distance: 248 Total: 1395
Campground: Kaikoura Top 10
We were awake early this morning to prepare for ferry checkin at 7:45 am. Wellington traffic turned a 20 min drive into an almost hour drive to the ferry terminal. We decided to upgrade to the premium lounge for the crossing – an upgrade that we should have probably not done but it gave us free hot food for breakfast and morning tea; free wifi; and free coffee, beer and wine. The 3 hour crossing went by quickly and what started out as a terrible day weather wise with strong winds, low clouds, fog, rain, and rough seas, turned to a sparkling clear day on our arrival to Picton. The ferry passage through the inland passage was very pretty.
On the road from Picton, we were heading to Havelock for a lunch of New Zealand mussels at the Mussel Pot in Havelock. Another scenic drive through the rolling hills and varied terrain turned into a scenic drive through the wine country of the Marlborough district which has a lot of the same characteristics of the Napa and Sonoma valleys.
Lunch at the Mussel Pot was outstanding. We had mussels steamed, smoked, grilled in garlic and butter, grilled in sweet chili sauce, battered, and marinated along with a starter of mussel chowder. Lunch was well worth the drive.
Our destination for today is Kaikoura and we are planning a whale watching expedition in the morning. The drive from Blenheim to Kaikoura was spectacular – we just wish there had been sunshine instead of clouds. The drive took us along the rocky coast for about 50 miles, and most of the time the highway was just a few hundred yards from the shore. Just before entering Kaikoura, we observed a group of seal pups that congregate in the Ohau area. We saw a bunch of pups playing in a tidal pool very much like a group of young kids playing in the swimming pool.
There is a full moon tonight and moon glow through the clouds is illuminating snow in the mountains. Today we have found the mountains and our first South Island snow.
Note to readers: The journal site and our internet connection are not playing well together and it is pain to get photos to upload, so photos will be limited.