Saturday, December 31, 2016


After a couple of festive days with friends in Christchurch I decided to head north to Kaikoura, since two routes from the south have now been opened. The NZTA guys have worked absolute miracles. The SH1 road is easy driving most of the way until the Hundalees, though in a couple of places there is a short detour off onto a country road. Through the Hundalees it was mostly smooth going as well, but it is evident how many landslides have been cleared. About ten km or so south of Kaikoura is where the huge problems were, with big rockfalls blocking the route, and blocking tunnels. I am amazed at what has been achieved to clear it all, and there was only one place with traffic lights where we had to wait a few minutes.

As I neared Kaikoura the uplifted rocks by the beaches became evident, with whiteness where they had suddenly been exposed to the air, and with remnants of kelp on them now largely dead.
I parked in town and did a bit of shopping before driving down by the rocky platform end of town. Here you could walk over rock that not so long ago was under the sea, supporting myriad creatures of the rock pools. Now many of those creatures, along with most of the seaweed, lies dead. The waves simply do not reach much of the uplifted rock. It was a huge expanse, and had an eerie lifeless feeling. In time, there will be erosion, and new creatures will arrive to take advantage of the space, but for now it is largely bleak.

There are though still seals, and with my zoom lens I spotted a few young ones, as well as older ones resting.
I am ensconced for the night at Peketa Beach camping ground, just north of where some of the major roadworks are happening. 
It's a lovely camp ground, and my tent is a mere 20m or so from the beach. I could easily stay here longer, but there is wet weather due on the West Coast again at the weekend- oh where, oh where is proper summer?- and I want to make sure I get over Arthur's Pass in fine weather. Now I just hope to sleep through the night without feeling any sizeable aftershocks, but what will be will be...

This post comes with every best wish to the people of Kaikoura. 

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