Flowers and rocks n roadside

Unfortunately we had only 1 night in Kaikoura as there was so much more to see.

Flowers and rocks n roadsideThe side of the road opposite the sea was covered in flowering plants

When we checked out we chatted with the owner of the hotel about the 2011 earthquake damage we had seen when driving down from Blenheim. We were surprised to learn from her that Kaikoura had also suffered quite a lot of damage. Her motel had been almost completely destroyed and, at the time, she had owned it for only 18 months. In fact, she had only reopened the Motel in March 2018 and there were still a number of rooms to be completed. She and others in Kaikoura were very unhappy with the quality of work done but said that they had no choice in the selectin of the contractors as the money was donated by the Australian Government and they chose the contractors, mainly Australians.

Once on the road we decided to visit a few of the sites we had missed the day before. As we drove along the town’s coast road we noticed beautiful wild flowers growing in amongst the rocks of the cliffs. Simple and yet beautiful. Further along we saw a long arch lined with whale bones. It reminded us of the road to King Shaka Airport in Durban and the pier at uMhlanga Rocks beach near our own home. At the centre of the arch, where the 2 sides met, was a very simple war memorial.

Whale bone archRight half of the Whale bone archway

War MemorialThe war memorial

When we had driven to the fish and chip eatery the evening before we had noticed a couple of very interesting church buildings up on a hill. The problem was to find the correct road to take us up to the churches. The 3rd one which we followed brought success and we found 2 churches almost next door to each other, one Anglican and one Presbyterian. They were so close that they probably could hear what was being said and sung in the other’s church.

Anglican ChurchAnglican Church

Presbyterian Church front entPresbyterian Church

From here we turned south on to the highway leaving Kaikoura for Christchurch. The further south we travelled the cooler it became and the scenery seemed even more beautiful. About 20-30kms outside of Kaikoura there was a sign to a coastal town, Gore Bay, and Woodend Beach so we decided to take a look. A 10km drive brought us to Gore Bay which was almost a hamlet rather than a town. It reminded us of some of the villages on the South Coast of our Province, KwaZulu-Natal. The village road ran between the beach and the homes most of which were simple buildings, possibly holiday homes as we saw no residents.

Beach at Seddon 2View if beach as we entered Gore Bay

At the end of the road was a small parking area where we stopped and walked through some trees to a pristine Woodend Beach. All there was to be seen were the waves gently washing up the beach, a lifesaver’s lookout chair perched on a hill and some mountains in the distance. On returning to the car we were pleased to see that there was an ablution block. As it was such a small community and there was a definite lack of human activity we were a bit wary of using the ablution facilities but we had absolutely no need to worry. They were spotless and in perfect condition with soap and paper towels included.

Lifesavers hut on beach at SeddonThe Lifesavers’ hut

According to the map we were to return to the highway by the same route we had come in but there was a steep hill up to the left which seemed to go in the right direction so we decided to take a look. As we climbed we noticed that the cliff side on the right gradually became a deep gorge. At the top of the hill was a parking area where we got out and had a look. As we returned to the car after taking photos of a beautiful gorge known as Cathedral Cliffs we looked across the road and were surprised to see a field with 4 or 5 Alpaca in it. We could see just 2 clearly as the others on the far side of the field under trees. What a super surprise. We continued to follow this road which wound around the cliffs before coming out at the highway.

Alpaca sittingAn Alpaca

Deep GorgeThe beautiful gorge called Catheral Cliffs

We always travel on the basis that there just might be something interesting around a corner you had not planned to go around. Go there anyway.