Monday, October 10, 2016
Our flight from Brisbane landed in Christchurch. I had only booked us two nights here before we started our road trip around the South Island of New Zealand.
After only having one day to explore I now wish we had spent longer here. It is such a quaint city, even after all of the devastation of the 2011 earthquake, of which the city is yet to fully recover from.
After quite a bit of deliberation on choosing motels or caravan parks in the weeks leading up to our trip. I decided that we would go with the motel option for the vast majority of our accommodation in New Zealand. I am ever so thankful that I made that choice now.
We stayed at the Amross Court Motel, whilst in Christchurch. Our family of five always needed a two bedroom unit, with one child sleeping on a roll away or fold out sofa lounge in the living area. This worked well for us.
The motel was clean, comfortable and spacious. It was a good 15 minute walk from the CBD, but there were a small handful of stores close by.
After a good nights sleep we made the leisurely stroll into the CBD, wandering through parklands and along the Avon River.
Seeing wild daisies growing on the banks of the river was wonderful, they were everywhere. So small and delicate.
Of course we had to try our hand at blowing some of the little daisies as far as we could.
It is still painfully obvious that Christchurch has a way to go with rebuilding their beautiful city. Whilst there is a great deal of construction going on and new buildings dotted throughout the city. There are also several vacant blocks where buildings had to be demolished and of course the cathedral, that they are painstakingly rebuilding.
One of the larger vacant blocks is home to a market area of sorts, where the city has arranged art installations to occupy some of the space and pretty it up somewhat.
The CBD's main shopping and eating areas, the mall, are housed in the new ReStart area, with each store working from within a shipping container. It was a bustling hive of activity and the shipping container concept is a great one.
I do look forward to the day I can return to Christchurch and spend more time exploring everything it has to offer.
Sunday, May 8, 2016
Have you seen Fur Seals, in their natural habitat, doing what seals do?
Kean Point Kaikoura is a haven for wildlife and most importantly, at least for the tourists, are the New Zealand Fur Seals.
Kaikoura, being the small seaside town that it is, makes finding Point Kean relatively easy. A short drive from the town centre will see you at the point.
Along with many other tourists all searching for their up close and personal encounter with the seals. Although, the area is well signed and tourists are advised to stay at least 10 metres away, after all these are wild animals.
This was tricky for the kids though, keeping ones distance from a cute and cuddly baby seal is just so hard to do.
If you keep your eyes peeled there is all manner of bird life around the point. This Southern Black-backed Gull, decided to nest right on the main thoroughfare for the tourists heading out to get their glimpse of a seal or two.
He was continually on guard for random tourists that weren't looking where they were going to ensure they didn't step on the nest. We watched one tourist get the fright of his life, as he wasn't aware of the nest and the gull certainly let him know that it was there!
We visited Kaikoura over the New Year period, whilst it is often relatively windy out on the point, the days were glorious and it was certainly a lovely place to sit and be with nature....and to take silly family snapshots. I'm sure the seals have seen worse!
This was one of those moments where my daughter just could not resist sneaking up to get a closer look at the baby seal. Thankfully she chose to stay above and behind him on the rock, so he was completely oblivious to her even being there.
It certainly is a rare treat to see these beautiful animals in their natural environment simply doing what seals do.
Be sure to visit Kean Point several times during your Kaikoura stay and time your visits at different intervals, that way you are bound to see a variety of seals all behaving differently.
Whilst difficult for us to photograph, one of the highlights was visiting on high tide and whilst there were no gorgeous specimens sunning themselves as most of the point is covered in water, there were many seals, frolicking and swimming with each other right before our eyes.
It was truly magical to witness.
Whilst in Kaikoura, though be sure to take the short drive north to see the Ohau Seal Colony, whilst a different viewing environment than Point Kean, there are generally larger numbers at Ohau.
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Kaikoura is 180km north of Christchurch, a small seaside village, with a permanent resident population of approximately 2000, it is popular with both tourists and locals.
We loved or time with the seals, definitely a bucket list experience!
Saturday, April 30, 2016
We spent the recent long weekend exploring one of our beautiful national parks here on the Gold Coasts hinterland. Springbrook National Park and what a treasure it is.
Of course when exploring we are always keen to see the local lookouts and the Springbrook area has no shortage of them.
We actually only noticed the signage to The Best Of All Lookout whilst driving to Canyon Lookout so on our return we decided to take the brief side tour to check it out.
Considering we did scoff at the name, I mean seriously, who names a lookout the best of all? So of course we needed to know if it really did live up to its name.
It was very close to dark on our first visit and the area was receiving wind gusts of up to 30km so we made a quick mad dash to the lookout, whilst we froze our tooshies off. We had a quick look, took a couple of snaps and vowed to return the following day to inspect the stunning little walk more closely.
We did just that and whilst the wind had died down the next day, the weather was overcast and showery, so it was very cold and dark.
However, it gave the 700 metre return walk a true magical rainforest feel. Low lying cloud cover ensured that there was plenty of mist through the forest.
We were not prepared clothing wise and whilst we did linger a little longer it still wasn't enough to truly enjoy everything this stunning little walk has to offer.
I absolutely wish to return but next time it will be with my tripod and my tracksuit!! The low light simply makes it too difficult not have photo's with some amount of camera shake.
New fern growth was emerging everywhere. I am always in awe of these stunning plants and could sit and look at them for ages.
My daughter and I noticed these tiny little orange fungi growing on a log on our first walk through, it took us a bit of back tracking to find them again on the second visit. Seriously, they were only a few milimeteres in diameter, what a treasure.
This truly is a fabulous walk for families, there is a car park right at the entrance, the path is bitumen the entire way. Absolutely no trudging through any over grown rainforest walks here. However you still have the feel and the experience of a true rainforest walk.
If you haven't done this, put it on your list. It really is so close to the gold coast, just follow the signs down Repeater Station road, off Springbrook Road.
The prize at the end of the walk is of course "The Best of All Lookout". It is rather stunning I must say. On a clear day you can see as far as Coolangatta.
Why not do some mountain spotting with the kids. Here you will find Mt Warning, the twin peaks of the Cougals, with Springbrook National park all laid out before you. If you are really lucky you may even see as far south as Byron Bay.
You know I think they may have come pretty darn close when choosing the name for this lookout.