We spent the first two days after landing at Waipu Cove, lovely beaches! We headed further north and stayed in a bay close to Russell next, had lots of fun sailing the bay of islands on a small racing boat, excellent lunch included. Thank you very much, oh crew of the „Phantom“. ☺ On the 31st we headed out onto the Cape Brett track from Rawhiti, a lovely walk, lots of ups and downs, great coastal views and a beautiful lighthouse with a nice hut at the end. The plan was to stay the night at the hut and catch a water taxi back the next day. Unfortunately, the weather had other plans. Wind started to rise to gales in the afternoon and torrential rain set in early evening. Very cosy in the hut, couldn’t get much sleep though cuz the wind was rattling the exposed building quite a bit. Sleep is overrated anyway. Next morning, we took off at 7am and soon found out that there would be no pick up. I strongly suspect because it was new year’s day, not because of the sea, which on this side of the Cape seemed rather quiet. Anyway, so another 5,5 hrs back, through gales and rain. It was a good workout, that’s for sure. Wading through mud and streams, crawling along the exposed ridge. Have to admit I quite enjoyed it. The big disappointment came after having reached the carpark – I was told to go to the Russell info center to claim my refund for the water taxi, so we drove back to Russell only to find out that it was closed because of the weather. Grrr. So, we’d lost two hours altogether on this detour and took the ferry and highway route down south instead. I had booked a motel close to the beach in Owera and close to the hot springs as well, but the springs closed at 6pm, and since we got into town about 5.30pm, no springs for us. So I decided to brave the elements, jumped into my wetsuit and hit the beach with Harald. I managed to catch two waves or so, but the wind was so strong that it destroyed all the breaks, so not much fun really. Except that it always pleasures me greatly to feel Harald’s firm and hard body beneath my own. You cannot imagine the pleasure I’m taking from writing these lines. 😁 But the motel had a hot tub and a dehumanizer, so we started drying our stuff. On Saturday, we then headed to the airport in the morning and flew over to Nelson. It’s such a pleasure flying domestic in NZ. Sometimes I think I would like to do nothing else but to fly around for four weeks. No passport, no id, no security. Just show your boarding pass and get on the plane. As it should be, none of that pseudo security rip off bullshit we have to put up with elsewhere.
Since it was still raining everywhere, we decided on a whim to drive to Hanmer Springs, because they’ve got hot springs, which are even more fun in the rain than when the sun shines, making the most of it. We’d last been there eight years ago and it has changed significantly. Lots of shops and restaurants and the pools complex itself has grown massively. But it was good fun, fuck the rain and soak in 42 degrees of sulphuric water, hop over to the aqua massage pool, go for a swim in the freshwater lap pool and then back to the sulphur. Rinse, repeat. And we got some free whale watching as well. There were quite a few whales out there, some young, some old, mostly females, all of them disgusting. Kinda made you wish the Japanese navy would show up and shoot them. Seriously, for a brief second I thought I was in Tennessee. 😁 😈 But apparently obesity is growing over here as well.
What’s good to know though, is that the rustic tapas cafe is still around and still produces world class muffins. Three Cheers! What’s also important to know is that the Thai food is average at best and vastly overpriced, the same goes for the powerhouse cafe, I’m afraid to report. But fear not, muffins contain all necessary nutrients and are all you need to stay alive. Five-a-day, remember?
Once the rain had stopped, we drove down to Kaikoura, where we enjoyed great lunch at Hislops cafe, very very good stuff. Also, the real fruit ice cream close to the railway station is very good, too. Other than that, lots of seals, some nice hiking trails to stretch our legs. Right now we are 40k south of Kaikoura, chilling out and getting ready for the Kaikoura Coast Track which we’ll be walking tomorrow and Thursday. Very lovely so far, first night accommodation in a nice cottage by the beach. All to ourselves, since we’re the only ones. Bliss. And we just had a 90 minute tour of the farm on an atv coralling sheep. A bientot and a happy new year!