The ferry dropped us off in Picton where we drove in the dark to Kaikura on the east coast of the South Island, which has recently been hit by a 7.6 magnitude earthquake. Off of the coast of Kaikura lies the Hikurangi Trench which attracts rich food sources for whales, making it a popular destination to whale watch. Unfortunately, weather wasn’t on our side again so our trip here was cancelled, our strike count was ever increasing!
To fill our time, we got excited about fur seals, these were the first of many that we would see around NZ. Our first stop on our seal tour was Okay Point, which was recommended to me by a friend. Baby seals would make their way up the stream to the falls where they could fatten up in safety before heading to the sea. We saw around 6 pups playing in the falls, and two even came out, close to us to say hello! One of the more confident pups posed for photo and sniffed some ankles… I think it mistook itself to be a dog.
Our second seal tour stop was on the seafront, where some fat seals were chilling in the car park. Other tourists got too close and had a bit of a shock when they were hissed at. Whilst wandering round, we tried to keep an eye out for whales, just in case, but saw nothing. But we did spot another mother and baby seal under a bush.
I’m glad we got the chance to see Kaikura before the quake. The most recent news is that most roads are shut off to the area due to rock slides, navy ships have come to the rescue, and the devastating news that 2 people have died as a result of the earthquake