Greetings from wet and wild New Zealand! We arrived on the South Island early Sunday morning after a hastily booked trip...our Australian visas were just renewed last Tuesday and prior to that we couldn't make any firm plans. As a result, this three week trip was sussed out and booked in only four days, so hopefully it goes well.
I'd hoped to post my trip report as we go, but limited and sketchy internet service may prevent that, so I'll probably post a few tidbits here and there.
The highlight of the first day was a lovely late lunch at Mud House Winery in Waipara and the discovery of a fabulous Waipara Pinot Noir - Equinox.
Yesterday's highlight was the discovery of close to 100 seal pups frolicking in the pool beneath Ohau Falls along the Kaikoura coast - incredible. This, my friends, is one of the many perks to traveling in the off season - the gathering of the seal pups is a winter occurrence.
Today's highlight was walking the Elvy Waterfalls Track in Pelorus Bridge Scenic Reserve. There was a bit of rain involved (okay, more than a bit), but it didn't hamper our enjoyment of this lovely track. We also walked the Totara Walk, the Circle Walk and the Tawa Walk, which while enjoyable, were entirely too close to SH 6 for our tastes. By the way, Lord of the Rings fans might be interested to know that filming of The Hobbit just wrapped up at the Pelorus Bridge Scenic Reserve about four months ago. According to our accommodation host, they were rained out, as the valley flooded, wreaking all sorts of havoc.
We're now hunkered down in our accommodation in the Rai Valley warm and dry, while sporadic torrential rain splashes against our windows.