I spent the spring semester of 2010 studying in New Zealand through the ISEP program. I used this blog to keep an account of my school experience and as a record of the adventures I found. Hopefully it can serve two purposes: to have kept my friends and family informed of my travels and experiences; as well as to serve as a reminder of how important the study abroad experience is, whether it's in New Zealand or not.

23 June 2010

Easter Break - Saturday 17/4/10 - Kaikoura to Nelson

The next morning we wake up to one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. The mountains line the ocean and we discover that it had just snowed the day before, so those white caps up there wouldn’t have been there if we had showed up just one day earlier. We decide we’ll walk along the coast where there are supposed to be some seal colonies. Before we even get started on our walk, we’re greeted by a group of seals basking on the shore. We look back across the water to the mountains before heading off along the coast. Up we go to walk along the cliff edge next to the water. A sign greets us at the top indicating which mountains we can see from this vantage point. The shoreline below us is white and curving and the water is clear and blue. Along the way we can see seaweed lapping in the waves. We decide to venture down along the beach, but we have limited time and if we encounter a seal colony we’ll have to turn back. As luck would have it, we do run into a seal colony, but they’re far enough away we can make our way around them without turning back. They’re still close enough to keep us on our toes and give me a few good shots from where we stand. All I can think about at this point is the sing on the beach telling us not to try and roll the seals; which of course, is just about the stupidest suggestion I’ve ever heard. I think anyone who actually would think to roll a seal should get a little love bite from it. As we pass the seals a couple of them pick their heads up to get a better look at us. I get the sense that maybe one or two of them are males wondering if we’re going to take their women. All too soon it’s time for us to leave to get the car returned to Nelson. If I could do the trip over again, the only thing I would change is more time in Kaikoura. I could sit and stare at those mountains across the water for hours. At least as we leave we get to see the mountains for quite some time as we travel at their feet. Just as we’re leaving town, we get one more little surprise. Some people have stopped their car along the side of the road and are looking out to the ocean with a camera. Turning, we notice there are things out there jumping in the water. We decide to pull over ourselves, it’s not long before we realise those things are dolphins jumping way off the coast. There must be twenty of them out there, leaping high in the air. They seem like they’re playing, though they’re probably fishing. It’s amazing how high up they can jump. They’re too far out for me to get a really good picture, but I do end up with something of one jumping. We spend much of the day driving, ending in Nelson and then finding a nice little hostel with a very kind owner, and his wife and son, before dropping off the car. We debate going to the beer fest they’re having in town, but decide it’s too far to walk and we don’t really want to pay. Instead we walk into town and get ourselves some dinner. A great little pizza place, where they serve us some NZ beer and talk us into a dessert pizza. It’s nothing I would go for again and takes forever to get, but is still tasty. We end the night by watching the sunset from the steps of the church and then getting my dad packed for his early morning departure.

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