We woke up before dawn.
WHAT?! WHO ARE WE?!
I guess that’s what happens when your internal clock is totally screwed and you go to bed at 10pm.
It was awesome, though. By the time we were packed up and ready to leave, the sky was brightening up and we could actually see where we were–a beautiful inlet with a huge cliff across the water.
Wow. Hello, New Zealand!
Snapped a few pics, started the day with our brekkie of champions–croissants with Nutella and bananas–and hit the road toward Kaikoura.
Once we arrived, we set off in search of seals. We hopped a bunch of rocks and found a walking path.
We were reading a sign about not disturbing the bird nesting areas, when something moved in a nearby plant.
We both jumped when we realized it was a baby seal! We looked down the path a little further and there were tons of them! It was incredible to be that close to them in the wild. What an absolutely amazing place and experience!
We were walking back toward the car when a seal jumped up on the boardwalk. We quickly realized they were everywhere in that area.
We moved on, working our way up the east coast of New Zealand’s south island. We stopped in at this adorable little spot called Nin’s Bin to check on the market rate of crayfish. $78! Not in our budget.
We kept going north to Ohau. A short hike brought us to the SHANGRI-LA OF BABY SEALS.
The seals go all the way up this stream to the mouth of a waterfall where they are safe from predators. They just play and jump and lay on the rocks–such an incredible sight! To see them so playful, and in nature, not in a zoo, was an experience that truly can’t be put into words.
Definite highlight of the trip so far!
We pushed on to Marlborough–wine country. It took a bit of exploring before we found the right winery…and by “right,” our only criterion was free wine tastings.
We stopped at the Framingham vinyard and had a delicious Sauvignon Blanc (the signature wine of the region), 2 Rieslings, a Pinot Gris, a couple reds and a dessert wine.
We got back in the X-Wing en route to Nelson. It was such a beautiful, mountainous drive.
We arrived in Nelson at sunset, and it was stunning. The water was like glass, and the colors were so vibrant–pinks, oranges, reds.
Our stomachs were growling, so we popped into the Fish Stop for some affordable and fun fish & chips. After an unsuccessful photo shoot…
…we stopped at the grocery store for a reasonably-sized tub of butter.
We drove on to our campsite for the night, Lyell, in the West Coast region, and called it a night.