Splendid isolation

2016-01-08 Aus Von christiankohl

So hieß ja mal eine eher weniger glückliche Politik unserer Nachbarn von der Insel. Aber man kann das auch positiv verstehen. After making the Reisebegleitung extremely happy by driving to Ohau point where she could watch baby seals play around, we set out on a two day hike across private land south of Kaikoura, the Kaikoura Coast Track. Just one word: magnificent. It’s across two working farms, parts of which are dedicated to pine forest, other parts to regenerating bush under the QEII scheme. Accommodation is in cottages on the farms and it was perfect from A-Z. Super friendly people who are happy to share their knowledge of the area with us, great facilities, and of course a great track. ☺ Gorgeous coastal views of both the Kaikoura and the Banks Peninsula, dolphins in the water close to the beach, heaps of birds, no sandflies.

We also tried some of the eateries in Kaikoura and Hislops Cafe is definitely the top recommendation. Great food, they even do Kimchi, which is very different from what you’d expect at a Korean place, but was very, very yummy nevertheless. Two doors down is another cafe which was ok as well, but not as good as Hislops.

Having finished the coastal track we headed north to Marlborough Sound, because the weather forecast told us to. We based ourselves in tiny peaceful Havelock, since we wanted to do the Nydia Track, which has been on my list for a long time. But first a rain day, which was wisely spent washing, shopping and eating ice cream in Nelson (Penguinos, quite ok, but not mind blowing), watching an Asian girl lose control over her car on the highway in front of us and doing a 270 degree skid/slide, luckily there was no oncoming traffic at that moment. We also took a look at the walks in Whither Hills Farm Park in Blenheim, but that’s not for us. Bleak, empty hills, no shade, very boring. So more ice cream instead at the railway station cafe. And what a find. It’s run by a French couple originally from Biarritz, and I can tell you that the ice cream is fantastic. As are the milkshakes. Especially coconut-stracciatella is mind-blowing and highly addictive. You have been warned. We stayed at the Havelock Garden Motel, another one of those very charming, homely motels, so different from the chains and the corporate bleakness they usually radiate. Super friendly, super clean, set in nice gardens, very comfy and quiet. The only thing I don’t get is why they never put fly screens on the windows? Especially when they have a small creek and duck pond in the garden where gazillions of mozzies breed. And they weren’t playing by the rules, these fuckers are supposed to be active around dusk but they were more like all day mosquitoes. Daywalkers. So this is my shout out to all the B&Bs and motels and lodges in NZ: fly screens are shit cheap, please please install them at least in a few windows. ☺

Once the rain had passed, we set out on the Nydia Track for two days. It’s a bit similar to the Queen Charlotte track we did many years ago, obviously shorter, fewer people, but equally beautiful forests, lots of birds, cicadas, and gorgeous views of the Sounds. It’s not strenuous, more like a walk in the park, so you have enough time to appreciate the tranquility of it all. To top it all off, there’s a very nice lodge at midway (On The Track Lodge) offering a comfy bed, flush toilets, hot showers etc. And wonderful Kiwi hospitality, on arrival we were treated to a cup of tea and some freshly baked carrott cake. You don’t get that in the middle of nowhere very often. 😊 You share the beautiful gardens right on the beach of Nydia Bay with lots of birds, especially Tuis, and, unfortunately, lots of sandflies. Burkas rule. 😁