3 days into New Zealand and the views are just like you see in the postcards. Stunning. I am in love with the snow capped mountains.
Incase you’re wondering, as we explore New Zealand we are using the Kiwi Experience which is a hop on hop off bus tour that we booked through STA when we were in the UK.
There are lots of different routes that you can choose from depending on what you want to see and what time you have. For example we are just exploring the South Island so we chose the ‘Southern Explorer’ and paid less than obviously if you booked on for North and South.
The bus picked us up from outside our hostel and we headed to our first stop Kaikoura.
Kaikoura is world famous for its sea life. It is here you can find Whales, dolphins, seals and an array of amazing fish.
Our bus driver Ben (first name basis obv) first drove us up to the Kaikoura lookout which looks over the whole village. As you can see it’s a relatively small one…
We then checked into a hostel for the night and dumped our backpacks before deciding what to do with our day in Kaikoura.
Wonderful choice of name for the Hostel right?
It actually refers to a local bird species.
How surreal is this snow topped mountain view from our hostel?!
Now, naturally we were set on going whale watching in Kaikoura.
But every opinion and local that we asked said that it wasn’t worth the $150 NZ Dollars that it costs.
Apparently sometimes your lucky and apparently see a few, but sometimes you might just see a shadow and a tail. On backpacker budgets we ummed and arred for a long time, not wanting to regret missing out.
(A boy i met went and this was what he saw. Amazing, but for 1 minute in a 2 hour boat ride.)
The other options were swimming with dolphins $180 (basically you search in a boat for dolphins and then hop in the sea whilst they duck and dive around you), or swimming with seals $80 (unfortunately no trips running when we were there).
In the end we decided to cut our losses with the whales because we didn’t want to be disappointed and $140 dollars down, and instead we went for a $60 dollar trip with a local fisherman.
Turned out to be the best day ever, you ready?
Introducing Gerry – the captain.
We all hopped on Jerrys little boat, and he first took us on a little tour of the bay.
We slowed down around the rocks where we found the cutest seals bathing in the sun and rolling around…
We then headed over to some buoys which located where some cages had been dropped to catch Crayfish (the local delicacy).
We hoisted them up… (well we left it to the boys)
…measured them, chucked the small ones back in and kept the big juicy ones for dinner!
Oh and we pretended they were cell phones and took some photos… obviously.
On our way back we saw a fair few albatross, and then as we continued back into shore we were unexpectedly joined by a group of about 30 dolphins which surrounded our boat for about 5 minutes.
The trip didn’t guarantee any wildlife, but we got pretty lucky and had grins on our faces for the rest of the evening…
(check my instagram or Facebook for a video of the dolphins in action).
After seeing some of the beautiful sea life and catching our supper we headed back to Jerry’s house to cook it.
He first showed us how to prepare some Kahawai fish caught earlier, which we then seasoned with some salt and brown sugar…
… before popping them in the oven to smoke 🙂
Meanwhile we prepared the crayfish.
I feel really mean saying this but first you drown them in salt water, and then you boil them for about 20 minutes.
Now this next activity grossed me out a bit.
I kinda liken it to a bush-tucka trial.
Basically, we were invited to try part of a ‘Kina’ which is a sea urchin.
It looked like a tongue, and it tasted like a mouthful of sea water.
But I have a ‘yes rule’ with travelling so I just washed it down with some wine. 😉
The Kahawai fish on the other hand was simply beautiful.
Once the Crayfish had boiled and steamed through we removed them from the pan and washed them down before learning how to chop ’em up.
Jerry welcomed us into his home for the rest of the evening to eat the Crayfish, drink some New Zealand wine, play music and enjoy each others company…
… one of those evenings I know i’ll look back on and smile.
Me and Mr. Bus driver Ben finished it off with a little sing song…
If you’re heading to Kaikoura, i seriously couldn’t recommend this trip more. It was one of the cheapest excursions we payed for ($60 /£35) and probably the best value for money & memories.
If you’d like to enquire or book in you can check out the website here…
or directly give Gerry a call/email on:
Make sure you say hello from me!
Thank you for reading, lots of love all the way from New Zealand…