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We’re moving on again today after four nights in Blenheim, which we’ve both thoroughly enjoyed. It’s been a great place to be based at and the Airbnb we’ve stayed in has been wonderful. So much so that Dawn decided to leave them a little message on the bed!

In truth, we’re both a little sad to be leaving but there’s a heck of a lot more to see and do.

Weatherwise, it’s another stunning day, so we’re looking forward to exploring the coastline from here. It’s only an hour and a half drive to Kaikoura, which means we’ll be taking our time and stopping several times on the way and hoping to do some seal watching and dolphin/whale spotting.

One thing we’re both enjoying here is the fish and seafood. As we’re on the move we’ve been clearing out our fridge and eating what’s left, so this is hardly traditional. That said, it’s delicious – the mussels out here are amazing…


What a fab day. The trip along highway 1 was brilliant and Dawn was a star for doing all the driving. We’ve had some excellent weather and  seen some amazing sights. I’ve not done this trip for 20 years. Doing it by car rather than train gave us the flexibility to stop off where we wanted. Oh, that and the fact no trains run on a Sunday, which was a bit of a bugger as the photo opportunities would have been wonderful – as you can see from this picture.

dg316139. heading down highway 1 from blenheim to kaikoura. new zealand. 13.1.19crop

For much of the way the railway and road play ‘tig’ as both hug the coast due to the mountainous nature of the terrain. Unlike the UK, there’s no ugly fencing separating the two. Near Kaikoura is a place called Ohau. It’s famous for the fact seals and their pups bask on the rocks right next to the road. What’s changed is the area was devastated by the 2016 earthquake

dg316170. seals basking in the suns. ohau. new zealand. 13.1.19crop

When I say devastated, I mean it. Both the road and the railway were out of action for a long time, in the case of the railway that was two years. Here’s a Guardian report on the reopening. The line may be back in service but there’s still a huge amount of work going on to protect both road and rail from landslips – as these pictures from today illustrate.

dg316195. repairing earthquake damage. ohau. new zealand. 13.1.19crop

dg316187. new railway retaining wall. ohau. new zealand. 13.1.19crop

A little bit closer to Kaikoura we couldn’t resist stopping at an old institution. Nins Bin has been serving seafood from a lay-by since 1977. Despite the cost (thank you Brexit fans, you’ve trashed the value of the pound & made life sooo much more expensive for us Brits who venture outside of the UK) these locally caught crayfish have got to be tried…

dg316197. crayfish from nin's bin. kaikoura. new zealand. 13.1.19crop

It’s actually rather strange being back in Kaikoura after 20 years (for reasons I may go into in another blog), but we didn’t stay long as we’re actually staying some 50km away up in the hills at a fabulous Airbnb at Mt Lydford. That said – we’ll be back in Kaikoura in the hope to go swimming with dolphins in the morning. The only problem is that the weather forecast isn’t looking great…