THERE was always one destination at the top of our bucket list – Kaikoura, the whale watching capital of New Zealand. We’d read about the South Island town, and seen it in TV documentaries.
And in 2015, my wife Sheila and I finally made it, spending three nights on the shoreline overlooking the sea during a trek across the country lasting three weeks or so, starting in Christchurch and ending in Auckland.
We reached Kaikoura in our hired 4×4, heading east from Franz Josef across the mighty Arthur’s Pass, and booked in to the White Morph apartment hotel, where the owner offered us some advice.
“If you’re going out whale watching, go tomorrow,” he said. “I’ve got a feeling that the weather will turn and I wouldn’t want you to have come all this way and be disappointed.”
We duly moved our booking 24 hours earlier and were rewarded with a bright sunny day, ideal for riding the waves and getting to spend time in the company of whales and dolphins.
Next day, we awoke to find the bay shrouded by mist, and the whale watching trips cancelled because of the poor visibility. Thank goodness we’d had such great advice at the hotel.
All pictures my own, taken in 2015.