Friday 21 January 2011

Lyell to Kaikoura

Thursday 20.01.2011

After just a few Kms up the Buller River we came to Buller Gorge and this Swing Bridge
"Swing Bridge" is what Kiwis call 4 wire suspension bridges, and for obvious reasons! Yes, we did cross it; here's proof.
We left the fantastic Highway 6 shortly after buller Gorge and headed south. We stopped again at Maruai falls, a 14m high waterfall that appeared after an earthquake caused a massive uplift 1926.
We stopped again at a footpath sign sign pointing to "Waterfall Walk". A 15 minute hike up a steep rain-forest valley brought is to this completely different, but just as stunning waterfall.
We drove alongside the Maruia River and over the Shenandoah Pass,
then on towards Springs Junction and east along Highway 7 through Maruia Springs. At Hells Gate we turned off and drove into Hanmer Springs, famous for its thermal pools.
We were going to go for a walk around but as we got out of the van it started raining; we’ve been wet enough just recently, so we just did a quick washout and carried on towards the east coast. At Mouse Point we turned left onto the Alpine Pacific Triangle, Regional Route 70. Another brilliant NZ road; this one climbs the wide Waiau River valley up to the Whales Back Saddle, then winds down through 3 more valleys before joining Highway 1 on the coast at Kaikoura.
Here we had a walk through the town and out to the whale watching centre. The boat trips were way beyond our budget, so we went south looking for a camp site. Just before Goose Bay we pulled over to turn round and there, within spitting distance of the road, were 2 Fur Seals basking on the beach.
We drove back towards Kaikoura as far a Peketa where there was a proper camp site offering powered pitches overlooking the sea. Job done!

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