Saturday, October 25, 2008

Day 9: South Island's East Coast

Sept 29th

We ate "brekkie" at the Dog & Frog Cafe in Picton before heading south to our next destination. We stopped in the small towns of Blenheim and Renwick, the center of Marlborough's wine country, for a few different wine tastings along the way. It was a relaxing start to our day, and especially nice given our craptastic day yesterday where we missed the Queen Charlotte's track. We ended up buying wine, oils, and dukka (an Egyptian blend of nuts, seeds and spices that you dip bread into) at a couple different places, in memory of the visit. :)

We had a delicious late lunch at the Allan Scott winery where I had another tart which was really good. I was definitely diggin' the veggie tarts in New Zealand! :) We all stuffed ourselves silly, treating ourselves to a few decadent desserts too. Overall, I was really happy with most of our food along the trip, even if it was expensive, and even though it was totally screwing up my diet/weight loss program. :( Ah well, you only live once, right? ;-)

It was pretty damn cold and rained all throughout the afternoon, as we left the wine country and hit the road for Kaikoura. We had an absolutely GORGEOUS drive down the east coast - through several valleys and peaks along the way, with mountains on your right and rocky beaches on the left. I loved it. I had Jon stop soon after we hit the coast, since I saw a black sand beach that I wanted to take pictures of. Jon, Eric and I took off to document the beauty while Jill and Logan napped in the car.

While I was collecting a number of smooth round rocks from the beach (now displayed in one of our guest baths), Eric set up a shot of himself and Jon, with his camera on the tripod. But, the wind was so SUPER strong, it knocked both the tripod and camera over, straight into the sand! :( His camera seemed to be okay afterward though, thank goodness. We also pulled over to check out a colony of seals sun bathing on some rocks. This time, I stayed in the car with dozing Logan so Jill could join the guys on another photo opp.

A bit later down the coast, I suddenly noticed, out of the blue, these gorgeous snow capped mountains. They had popped up out of nowhere - but were so beautiful and cool. Yet, so weird to see them right next to the coast. :) I was really impressed with the drive down the east coast, definitely one of the more prettier drives for me.

We arrived at our hotel/lodge in Kaikoura just about dusk - we stayed at these newly built apartments located on a golf course at the foot of the mountains which was lovely, although they were also a few minutes out from the center of town which was disappointing for me.

After unpacking and checking out our digs, we drove down to the shore to check out Kaikoura's downtown and grab some dinner. Just like everything else in New Zealand (it seems), all but the bars and SOME restaurants were closed. Yet it was 8pm! (We never really did adapt to this oddity)

We ended up at a schwanky super quiet restaurant for dinner. Logan was pretty tired and starting to get cranky. But, he wasn't hungry (just LOUD), so Jon and I took turns walking him outside along the beach. He finally fell asleep on me, so I missed dinner, but I wasn't that hungry anyway, and the sound of waves crashing along the beach right next to me more than made up for it.

No comments: