Our last big drive in the South Island was from Queenstown to Kaikoura with a route heading north through the mountains and then up along the east coast.
Another South Island drive packed with beautiful vistas across the stunning countryside.
You even find yourself becoming accustomed to such wonderful views after a while!
We stopped for lunch at the famous Mount Cook Altantic Salmon shop on Lake Pukaki.
The view across the turquoise blue water with the snow capped mountains in the distance was awesome.
The shop sells everything you need for a tasty lakeside picnic. Fresh Salmon sushi, wasabi, soy sauce, ginger slices, cheese and biscuits!
A very satisfying and special memory, good food tastes even better with a great view!
After lunch we headed to lake Tekapo to see even bluer waters and the backdrop of Mount Cook in the distance.
On the shore of Lake Tekapo is the Church of the Good Shepherd, a popular spot for visitors. Trying to capture the church with so many people around was a challenge!
As we left the mountains we came across quite a few fields full of deer, it seems venison is becoming more popular.
Beautiful creatures so alert to the noise around them.
In Fairlie, Burkes Pass we came across this very cool antiques shop, well worth a look around if you have time!
Finally, we made it to the beach side town of Kaikoura. Its a lovely costal town, with light blue seas and a long wide beach with the backdrop of Mount Fyffe and the Seaward Kaikoura mountain Range.
The town has a history of whaling but nowadays its rich marine life make it a great location for spotting Sperm Whales and dolphins.
To see the whales you can take a boat or a short light aircraft flight. We opted for the aircraft thinking we would have a greater chance of seeing something.
The local aircraft club provide 40mins flights for whale watching and are well experienced in taking visitors up.
Once a whale has been spotted on the surface they know it’s likely to dive and resurface in about 40-60 minutes time and plan their flights accordingly to provide the maximum potential to see something.
You also get the most awesome views of the coastline from the air! We saw lots of dolphins, a big shoal of fish create a bait ball and the spectacular Sperm Whale below (btw both whale pictures capably taken by my wife).
This Sperm Whale is around 18 meters long and you get a real sense of its size from above rather than being alongside in a boat.
The whales surface to breathe and recover for 5-15 minutes before diving once more.
You get a real sense of happiness when seeing these majestic creatures. Another memory from our travels that i will cherish.
With the sun setting behind the mountains we took a walk along the peninsula with a near full moon in the sky.
We walked further around the coast to try to see a seal colony but the seals were all out at sea, but it was still a great walk in this beautiful place.
We were sad to leave Kaikoura, it was such a special place to visit and our last night in the magnificent South Island.
The following day we drove the two hours up to Picton to get the ferry to the North Island.
Our drive along the coastal rode that sunny morning was enhanced by the sight of dolphins spinning out of the sea, an unexpected delight once again.
The South Island has been magical experience for us, lets see what the North Island has to offer!