Trekking along the coast towards Kaikoura was a stunning drive. Turquoise waves crashing on the black sand beaches to your left and thick ferns and palms on your right. We stopped along one particular beach to see a large population of sea lions basking in the late afternoon sun. If you stared, adjusting your eyes to the rocks you would be able to distinguish the difference between the seal lions and rocks, realizing there were hundreds of them and their pups. They aren’t too friendly, but we managed to get pretty close to them and snap some shots. Once close enough they would prop themselves up on their two flippers and bark, roar and hiss at us and with as little grace as possible throw themselves across the rocks into the ocean. The high tide had created a swimming pool with about 20 pups played in, I would have stayed there all night to watch, but the storm rolling in told us we best be on our way.
Pulling into the town centre, “penguin crossing” signs lined the road. We pulled into the Blue Penguin colony just in time for their evening debut. Shortly after the sun goes down they swim to shore and hobble up the rocky beach to their nests for the evening. The Conservationist society has made a gated area with man assisted nests to protect these marine birds. That evening we got the privilege of seeing about 100 penguins coming home for the night. They are small lil things about a foot tall. As we pulled out of the parking lot and down the road we were reminded about the signs we saw earlier- a group of 20, cautiously crossed the road following their fellow friends chips and rings that were already in the gated area. I’m hoping to attach a video of what their calls sound like.
The following day we headed south to Christchurch, one of the biggest construction zones, the damage from the 2011 earthquake is still very evident.
The lotus-heart cafe is hands down the best spot for a meal made with love. Again with luck on our side, we snuck in right before closing to relax in the sun room with a flute of home brewed kombucha, and dhal. This unique temple-like vegetarian restaurant is independently owned and operated by students of Sri Chinmoy. They aspire to create a small corner of the world that is inundated with the spirituality and philosophy of meditation teachers and to offer a peaceful oasis to inspire the heart.They had a small store with singing bowls, herbs, kimchi and other natural holistic products- I enjoyed perusing the aisles, reminiscing about my time in Santa Cruz and all the awesome shops they had. I stocked up on some green pills because I know we aren’t getting all our fruits and veggies.
Lo asked me that night if I missed anything from home (besides family and friends), my reply was my kitchen and health food stores.
Continuing down the East coast we timed our stop in Oamaru for low tide to play amongst the fantastic yet bizarre Moeraki boulders. This concentration of spherical oddities, some measuring over one meter across, delight the eyes and boggle the mind.
Snacks on the road as we headed into Dunedin and onto the Otago peninsula where we parked for lunch overlooking vast grassy hillsides dotted with sheep running all the way down into the ocean. After, we walked down to Sandfly bay to play amongst the dunes, marvel at the lazy sea-lions, and remain hopeful the yellow-eyed penguins would return to their nests early.













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