Hopscotch

Friday, February 16, 2007

New Zealand - Picton to Kaikoura

Day 7We woke up early to get to the ferry terminal in time for our cruise to Picton. We'd covered North Island, and were going to cross the Cook Strait to reach South Island. Viv was really sad because we were going to return Golu Plus and get another car in Picton.
















Viv fuels Golu Plus for the last time, while I capture the moment in the rear view mirror.
















A final shot with our companion of seven days. It really was an emotional moment for all three of us. We'd grown so used to having Golu Plus around, we could not imagine driving around in another car.
















The Interislander ferry that links North Island and South Island
















It was a chilly morning.
















And the sky looked cloudy.
















We took a few shots of the scenery though the cold made it impossible for us to be on the deck for more than five minutes.
















View directly below
















Funny sign on deck - Thank you for throwing your butt in the bin!
















The mountains, partly covered by clouds, looked beautiful.

Funnily enough, there seemed to be no space for us anywhere but in the kids' level. So here we were, deposited on two couches and surrounded by millions of kids with age ranges between 0 to 10 years.
















Finally we reached Picton ferry terminal and got off the ferry. It was a very long while before our luggage arrived on the luggage belt though.
















Backpackers setting off to find accomodation

We went to the car rental office at the terminal to collect our car keys for South Island.

The lady at the office pointed us to where our car was parked.
















So which one of these was it?

Viv and I were overjoyed to discover that our second car was also a Mitsubishi Colt (not a 'Plus' though)! Not just that, it was the exact same colour as our first car. Amazing! We instantly named him 'Golu' too.
















And that's Golu!

Armed with our map, we set off for the small town of Kaikoura. The drive was amazing, and we got views of the rugged Pacific Ocean coastline on one side and magnificent mountain ranges on the other.
















The drive begins. Goodbye, Picton!
















The grand mountains
















Cute little train on the left competing with Golu
















Beautiful countryside
















Looking at so much beauty can actually be exhausting!
































We passed by different kinds of plantations.
















Wouldn't it be awesome to live in a house like this?
















Soon, were on the desert road, and suddenly it was obvious how different a drive it was from the rest. Due to the scarce vegetation, we could feel the wind very strongly. In fact, Viv had a tough time driving through that stretch because Golu kept rocking, rather violently at times.
















The scariest part was - you needed absolute control over the car and one small mistake could have caused the car to plunge down the valley! Viv told me it was one the most difficult drives he'd ever experienced.
















This bridge rattled loudly as we crossed it.
















Soon, we'd reached the pink lake, a tourist destination well-known for the algae floating on its surface, giving it a pink colour. We decided to get a closer look at the lake and turned in.
















There was a salt extraction factory next to the lake with this huge mound of salt.
















The lake was such a bright pink it was unbelievable!

I got out of the car to take a closer shot, but believe it or not, the wind started rocking me. I've never had the feeling that I'd be blown away by the wind, but this time, the possibility seemed rather real. As I felt my feet shift a little under me, I scurried back to the car, and we drove on.
















What a heavenly sight!

Soon, we saw another sign that said 'Lookout point' and we turned in.
















Wow!
















I was literally freezing, but Viv managed to get one picture. I even took a video to demonstrate how loud and strong the wind was!
















It was raining on and off during the drive.

Suddenly, we saw a few cars parked along the way. Curious, we too stopped and got out of the car to look at what the others were looking at.
















At first, it just looked like some rocks and waves.
















But oh wait! Seals! Seals in their natural habitat!
















I was so taken in by the sight of the seals that I kept on clicking pictures in spite of the drizzle. Viv had to literally drag me away so we could get to Kaikoura before a thunderstorm hit us.
















We passed this crazy surfer on the way! Someone tell him there's gonna be a thunderstorm!
















Finally we reached our destination - Kaikoura!

We were going to stay at the Lobster Inn Motor Lodge - one of Kaikoura's well-known tourist attractions.
















The entrance of an inn has a huge lobster that is now considered a Kaikoura symbol.

When I saw our room, I pranced around like a little girl. I'd never seen a hotel cuter than that. It was a small room on the ground floor and there was a parking space for Golu right outside our door. It was the homeliest accommodation I'd ever seen in my life!
















Golu takes a breather, and so do we.


Next up - Kaikoura to Christchurch

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