Sunday 24th - The ferry trip over to the south island took 3 hours and was very pretty, but the weather was crap. Picton is ok, but I wouldn't want to spend anymore than a day there. Monday 25th - I got the bus to Kaikoura. The weather here is also crap, but they think it might improve tomorrow. Went on a really long walk over to the Kaikoura penisular where there is a seal colony. It was a 5km trek just to reach the start of the walk. There were seals at the start of the walk. I can't believe how many seals I've seen since I've been here - there are loads just lying around the coast. Went on the Clifftop walk to South Bay. It was a nice walk, very close to the cliff edge in some parts! There were lots of sheep and some nice views, but the weather wasn't good - grey and cloudy. There was a sign by one of the lookout points asking if this was the nicest view in NZ. But all I could see was grey skies with clouds covering some hills in the distance. All in all the entire walk took over 4 hours so I was pretty tired when I got back to the hostel. Had an early night as I had a busy day tomorrow. Tuesday 26th - WOW!!!! When I stepped outside the hostel in the morning I couldn't believe it. Firstly it was a beautiful day, very warm and lovely blue skies. But what was amzaing was that what I thought were hills covered by clouds were in fact mountains with the tops covered with snow - they were beautiful. Had arranged to pilot a plane at Kaikoura airport and got picked up at 9.50am. The airport was tiny! The pilot took me to see the plane and for a minute I thought he was joking! The plane was so small, my car is bigger. Got in and got belted up, and he then told me what all the buttons etc. were, but I didn't need to worry about those. He gave me the keys and I started her up. He took off and as soon as we were up he gave me the controls. It was so cool, I was flying a plane!!! I did things like turning, go up and down and then I had to follow the river which was really cool. It was such a buzz and I got to do it for 30 minutes. The view up there was incredible so I took a couple of photos (I ran out of battery up there which was gutting so I couldn't take pictures of the snow covered mountains which were stunning). There were a couple of times when the plane dropped slightly when I was flying and at one point his window flew open which was slightly nerve wracking, but it was ace!!!! He did a couple of tricks like going from side to side really quickly which was like being on a roller coaster only better, and then he landed. Got my certificate and I now have flying time towards my license if I want. Now know what people can get me for my birthday and Christmas! In the afternoon I went whale watching. The trip out to the whales left from South Bay and it took about 30-40 minutes to reach the first whale. Apparently Kaikoura is in a pretty unique spot as its on an ocean shelf or something like that. Basically the ocean depth goes from about 200 metres to 2000-3000 metres all of a sudden providing nutrient rich waters for lots of marine life. This includes sperm whales and giant squid which they feed on. It was a bit wierd thinking that the boat could be going over giant squid 2000 metres below! The boat was very fast, going about 26 knots, so it was a rough ride, but good fun. All in all I saw two whales, but saw one twice. Basically they spend a lot of time underwater diving to get food. They are then so tired that they spend about 15 minutes just resting on the surface - which is what we see. Then they dive back down, which is when you see their tail. When I got back Paul who was also staying at the hostel had been fishing and was given four crayfish and a load of blue cod. So the majority of people in the hostel were eating fish that night. I really liked the cod it was lovely, but I didn't like the crayfish. Had such a brilliant day today, did lots, saw lots and the weather was beautiful!