South Island : March / April 2019 : Days 1 and 2

We are on another road trip to the South Island, but this time we do not have a camper van, we just have got our nomal car and no real plan, except that we are cycling the Otago Rail Trail from Day 5 to Day 9.

The other decision I have made is to shoot all photos in B&W just for a challenge; this doesn’t effect the final photos that I process, but it means that all the photos in these blogs will be black and white ( and being straight out of camera they may be slightly off the level too!)

Day 1 - Wellington to Kaikoura, fine 23°C

So day one of the trip started n Saturday 30 March from Wellington. We had driven down the night before from Napier to Wellington and stayed overnight.  We were up earlyish to catch the 9am sailing of the Kaitaki, which meant a 8am checkin with the car.

Wellington Harbour and Cook Straight were as calm as possible ( not a common sight ) and the sailing was very pleasant, and heading into Picton through the Marlborough Sounds was stunning.

We arrived on time at 12:30, jumped in the car and after a wait in the queue we hit the road and headed south.

After stopping for petrol and supplies in Blenheim we carried on south on State Highway 1. We turned of to have a look at Marfells Beach at 2:30, a stunning piece of beach, then back to the main road and carried on.

Our destination for the night was Kaikoura, which after a major earthquake in 2016 had been completely cut off by road for a while. So the roads on all sides of Kaikoura are open but still undergoing major road works to repair the damage.

We stopped briefly at St Oswalds Church in Wharanui but it was closed due to earthquake damage so we took some photos and moved on. The road between Clarence and Kaikoura was still undergoing major roadworks so it was a bit slow, and we stopped to watch the baby fur seals on the rocks below the road for a while, before carrying on.

We arrived in Kaikoura at 5pm and checked in to the Top 10 camp and got a basic cabin for $95. We dropped our bags and walked in to town ( about 5 mins walk ) and had a look around the place. Again there had been a bit of damage in the quake so things are still being repaired in places but the main area of town is full of life and some new buildings.

After walking back to the camp we rested for a bit then headed out at 7 o’clock to shoot the sunset. We went around to an area of rocks which faced west to the setting sun and the mountains that lie just to the west of Kaikoura. I managed to find some rounded boulders ( similar to the Moeraki Boulders in shape and size ) and we stayed until nearly 8pm shooting.

We drove back into town and grabbed dinner at the Garage Groper bar and then back to camp at 9:30pm.

Day 2 - Kaikoura to Geraldine, fine 26°C

Up at 6:30am to catch some sunrise only to find a thick blanket of fog over Kaikoura.  We headed around the coast to see if we could find anything to shoot, then up onto the peninsula to see if we could get above the fog ( it was actually thicker on top of the hill ) and then back to the spot we shot the night before to wait for the sun to come up.  It came up but we couldn’t see it at all so we headed over the hill to look at the boat harbour then back to camp for breakfast.

We packed up and checked out at 9, then went exploring Kaikoura and up to Hapuku ( the fog was patchy away from town, with patches of clear blue sky, but thick fog in others).  At 10am we went to visit a local photographer Neil Protheroe, who we had randomly bumped into on a previous South Island trip.  We had a quick coffee and a chat then headed back through Kaikoura at 11am and then south on SH1, again along the broken coast road and then up through the hills and eventually we dropped down into Cheviot, where we stopped for a bit of lunch, and then onwards down to the Canterbury Plains and then bypassing Christchurch and off south again.

We turned off SH1 after about an hour and a half and headed north into Geraldine, which was our stop for the night, at 4pm

We checked into the camp ( Top 10 , basic cabin $75 ), then went for a walk into town, then through the gardens and river walk, and back up to town.  Grocery shopping again then back to camp.  Time for a rest.

Out again at 6:45, drove to Woodbury to shoot another stunning little country church ( this area seems to be full of little villages with churches ) which has the dual names of “St Thomas Church” and “Tripp Church”. We were wandering around for a while outside when a head popped over the hedge and said that the church was unlocked and we should go in and have a look; so we did. Wow.

After shooting for a while we headed back into town for some tea at The Village Inn, and then back to camp at 9pm