With yesterday evenings cash scare, I was pretty keen to put as much distance between Reefton and myself as possible. With a coffee & croissant under my belt, by 9am I was ready to roll.
Today I would be travelling to Kaikoura by way of the Lewis Pass. In my gut I was regretting not taking Arthurs Pass, as I wanted to see snowy mountains one more time before leaving New Zealand. Ultimately it was the weathers decision though, and with Arthurs Pass expected to be slammed with heavy rain, winds and snow - it looked like the decision was made for me. That's not to say I wasn't looking forward to the Lewis Pass, but by all accounts it was definitely the lesser regarded of the two.
The first hour of the drive, while quite nice - all looked a lot like this.
Then quite suddenly, the forest disappeared and I knew that I'd made the right decision to drive the Lewis Pass today.
The rest of the drive was equally as magnificent. I'd still rate Arthurs Pass better as far as views are concerned - but this one definitely isn't far behind it!
I'd have loved to have taken photos of the drive into Kaikoura, but unfortunately after an earthquake earlier in the year - there's quite literally no where to pull over. I've never seen earthquake damage before, and seeing this definitely puts into perspective just how powerful they can be. Some sections of the road still have large seams running through them. Others are completely split in half, with one side raised several meters above the other. I've never seen anything like it. If you look out into the bay, you can even see a large field of rocks that weren't there several months ago. The earthquake literally raised them out of the sea.
I'd originally planned to visit Kaikoura on my first day in the South Island. However, the road leading into town from the north is still completely ruined, meaning the only way in is the one I took today. It's crazy to think that just one road completely changed how I toured the South Island. I'm glad I came back, but from what I've heard today - not too many people do (the road supposedly isn't expected to be fixed until December, too!).
On a more positive note though, once I'd booked my accommodation for the next couple of nights; it was time to go and hang out with some of the locals.
As soon as I can figure out how to hide one of these guys in a boogie board bag, I'm bringing it home! Although one of them did bark at me, causing me to fall ankle deep into what I can only guess was their toilet (boots are currently airing out on the roof - I was nearly gagging with them in the van!). Maybe I won't bring that bastard back.
The rest of the evening was spent enjoying the sunset, and indulging in some incredibly fresh fish & chips.