“I see my light come shining, from the West unto the East, any day now, any day now…I shall be released.”
100.3 FM in Kaikoura, is one of the best radio stations in the world. “DJ’ed by volunteers…less lip and more music, upsetting people and offering opportunities to experience radio out of the blue.”
Thus the soundtrack was established for our astonishing wanderings around Kaikoura as we tuned into the waves and wonders of this finger into the Pacific.
Waves on The Esplanade, an immaculate condo, was our unlikely quarters here on the wild Canterbury coast. (yes, those snowy mountains and crystal waters were our wake-up vista while enjoying toast, tea and jam).
We set off by foot and bike to costal tracks that trace the volcanic cliffs and velvet meadows of the peninsula. An immense colony of sleepy fur seals has designated the sunny trailhead as snooze central.
Low tide afforded us the thrill of walking out among the tide pools on slippery volcanic rocks to get personal with preening males who slithered ashore. The crashing surf, bracing breeze, and other-worldly backdrop of pure white peaks stirred Lisa to declare this place among the most beautiful that we’ve seen.
Just 15 km. north of town is one of the great hidden attractions of this majestic island. Accessed by an enchanting path set back about 400 yards from the ocean, roughly 60 seal pups frolic in chilly pools at the base of a fresh waterfall, This is the colony’s “daycare center” where mother seals leave the pups to socialize while hunting for food during the day.
One of God’s creatures that has worn out its welcome in this corner of paradise is the pesky possum (local variety). 30 million of the varmints (7 per person) have overrun the joint since being introduced in 1837 to start an ill-conceived fur industry. With no natural predators, they wreak havoc with regional ecosystems and ranchers are not shy about hanging ‘em out to dry.
The town of Kaikoura (pop. 2100) has the feel of a backwater surfer-backpacker refuge – touches of art-deco, faux Trader Vic’s, and a hint of the Isle of Skye leave room for everyone to commune with their respective Natures.
Click on pics to ENLARGE.