Day 27 Murchison to Kaikoura
I couldn't believe after last night's wonderful sunset and heat that we awoke to rain again and a horrible low mist everywhere; still really hot but where's the sunshine gone again. I never thought it was possible for a more diverse weather system than we have in the UK but they certainly seem to have it here in the South Island at least. The initial plan was that we would head for Nelson today but we decided as the forecast was a bit iffy to say the least that we would drive to Blenheim and take it from there. As we drove through the national park the weather started to improve thank goodness as the scenery changed from mountains to rolling hills where thousands and I do mean thousands of sheep grazed, to wine growing country where sheep were replaced by vines. We stopped at Blenheim in the town centre and wandered through the park where they were having "music in the park"; we keep finding all this free entertainment - good eh. Had a wander through the town centre but most of the shops were closed, not like at home where everything is open on a Sunday; it is their National Day, as well but still….. Consequently we decided there was little point in stopping there for the day and pushed on to Kaikoura. We had been told we must visit and sample the Crayfish so off we go, only another 1 ¾ hr away. Found a nice stop over point on the way down by the coast where we had a bit of a paddle in the Pacific; beach was a bit stony and rather grey but the sea was a glorious turquoise blue and really inviting, a little on the chilly side but no worse than home on a summer's day. As we made our way along the coast we saw loads of grey seals playing in the water but unfortunately nowhere to stop and watch - must try harder on the return journey. I'm not sure what I expected of Kaikoura, probably a bit of a holiday resort with a harbour and frontage, no at all like that - no harbour so I'm not quite sure where the whale watching trips go from and we're not likely to find out as there are gales forecast for tomorrow so we won't we doing that! One company has a monopoly down here so it's really expensive too. We would have gone though as it is a opportunity to see sperm whales and dolphins but a 3 ¼ hr trip in gale force wind isn't something either of us fancy and trying to photograph with the boat pitching up and down wouldn't be easy either. Hopefully there will be an opportunity elsewhere. Heading back to the north of the South Island tomorrow to explore for the last 3 days.