New Zealand’s South Island
Our last week in New Zealand was spent on the South Island. After Aoraki Mount Cook we made our way back to Christchurch. This time we stayed at a Holiday Park so the girls could have some fun and get some energy out after being cooped up in the rainy Southern Alps.
Hannah & Amy zooming around the Holiday Park Hannah coming down the water slide.
We went on a rebuild tour of Christchurch’s Central Business District (CBD). That was a real eye opener! The amount of reconstruction, restoration and rebuilding that needs to be done is tremendous. Even though the earthquakes were 4-5 years ago, it’ll be another 10 years or more before some projects are complete. When you see what happened, you’ll understand why it seems like such a long timeline.
The Catholic Cathedral with its towers missing. Stone Masons are in high demand in Christchurch. Another Cathedral that got badly damaged. There’s a big debate about whether to restore or rebuild this church. Shipping containers are used to hold up facades of buildings. They’ve also been used to create the temporary shopping center Re:START
We then went up the east coast of the South Island to Kaikoura. The last part of the drive is quite something. Twisty roads right next to rock cliffs and stunning scenery.
The trees grow right up to the road. Very little shoulder in some places.
The girls originally wanted to do a llama trek, but the company decided to take that weekend off. It turned out to be a great morning anyway as we explored a black pebble beach, and went to the marine center. Amy and I took a hike to a couple of lookout points while Hannah and Anthony explored the waterfront at low tide.
I call this black pebble beach. Beautiful day for a hike in Kaikoura! Hannah & NZ fur seal
That afternoon we drove to a harbour where New Zealand fur seals hang out. We also took a short hike to a waterfall to see the seal pups play. Boy were they having fun in the pool of the waterfall!
The seal pups putting on a show for the girls
The next morning on the whale watching tour we saw some Dusky Dolphins having fun, before the girls napped their seasickness away. We saw one sperm whale surface twice and that was it. The Captain tried to find some Hector Dolphins as well, but couldn’t. We’ve agreed no more boat tours…though Amy is telling us that dolphins are one of her favorite animals and she wants to see more of them!
Some Dusky Dolphins playing under our boat. The sperm whale tail coming up.
The South Island definitely has some very breathtaking and imposing scenery. It is sparsely populated, and I frequently wondered why more people don’t move to New Zealand. It is quite a distance from everywhere else, but if you like friendly people, fresh air, and natural beauty, then New Zealand is the place for you! If you’re an early to bed, early to rise kind of guy/gal, you’ll definitely fit right in! New Zealand is on our list of places we’d like to go back to.