East Coast

 Blenheim to DunedinLeaving Blenheim and the Marlborough wine country, we traveled south to Kaikoura. It is a spectacular route between the sea and high snow-capped mountains. Along the way we had more opportunities to observe fur seals. We spent a night in Kaikoura, giving us the chance to do a long (approx 11 km) walk along the coast and over high cliffs.

The next day we drove on to Christchurch and observed the massive destruction that resulted from a series of earthquakes in 2010/11. Most of the buildings in the city center were destroyed or are condemned and will need to come down. Some of the historic architecture, as in the Art Center, is being restored, but most is not salvageable. The old cathedral, a centerpiece of the city, will be replaced. Still, we enjoyed attending Evensong at the temporary “ cardboard cathedral. We also enjoyed a fabulous lunch of eggs Benedict at a funky café as well as a stroll through the beautiful botanical gardens where the azaleas were in bloom. In addition we saw students walking to school in their uniforms, an indication that life goes on.

From Christchurch we continued south to Dunedin, a large city with a strong Scottish heritage. Along the way we stopped to have lunch by the sea and walk a few hundred yards to see the Moureki boulders, naturally formed spheres. We stayed with a host family south of Dunedin in the town of Taieri Mouth. They enjoyed showing us their hundreds of irises which they raise and sell. With them we also walked across a sandbar at low tide to a nearby island where we observed black-backed seagulls as well as a colony of nesting royal spoonbills.


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