Have been to Kaikoura in winter and visited most parts of south island before, but will be the first south island trip for our boy. This time mainly want to take him to visit the Punakaiki pancakes, see the seals if possible, and take the interislander ferry for a special journey. So will fly to CHC in late January, and go to the west coast and return Auckland from Wellington. (No need to visit Wellington, as even our boy visited many times.)
Just wonder whether it is worth taking a trip to Kaikoura mainly to watch the seal pups. If not, will stay at CHC for the first night (arrive CHC around 1:30pm) and then head to Greymouth (Punakaiki) via Arthur's Pass the next day. If better to go to Kaikoura for a try, we will head to Kaikoura straight away from CHC airport and stay at Kaikoura. (have visited CHC before earthquake, and will definitely visit CHC and the other far southern places again in near future. so visiting CHC is not a must for this trip.). Then go to Greymouth via Hanmer Springs the next day. The rest of the trip would be determined, just go along west coast and drive up towards Nelson, and then go to Picton to take the ferry back to North Island.
Any suggestion regarding the drive to Kaikoura in late January will be appreciated. (mainly for the seals esp. seal pups, though lobster could be an add-on. No need to watch the whale over there). Thanks.