Sleeping in a strange bed. Waking up in a strange country. The adventure begins.

Starting the day by trying to squeeze all 22.3 kg of luggage back into your bag does build up a bit of a sweat. And a good thing too, because stepping outside our accommodation made me very happy to be warm. Clear skies do not necessarily mean warmth. Freezing cold!

We were collected and transferred to Pacific Horizon, where we picked up our home for the next 44 days. A very spacious 6 berth motorhome.

The Motorhome ... home for 44 days

The campervan ... our home for 44 days

A particularly nutty woman, Elizabeth, showed us the ropes and explained all the rules and with a crazy cackle sent us on our way.

Our destination for the day, Kaikoura, halfway to Picton which is in the north of the South Island.

Our first stop along the way was for breakfast. And what a find. Loeff’s Bakery on the outskirts of Christchurch make the most amazing pies. Bacon and egg pies. We were sold. Suitably fed the campervan mates hit the road. Tempted by the promise of natural springs, our next stop Hanmer Springs, against the Southern Alps foothills.

We stopped to let the sick one ... me ... have a breath of fresh air to help with the motion sickness

We stopped to let the sick one ... me ... have a breath of fresh air to help with the motion sickness

Beautiful green landscapes with plenty of sheep later, we arrived in the town of Hanmer Springs. The Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa is on the main road in the town and clearly a popular tourist destination. The temptation being so great and knowing that we would never be able to drag ourselves away, we decided to move on to Kaikoura. We had a rugby match to get to in Wellington on 11 September.

Hanmer Springs
Hanmer Springs

We arrived in Kaikoura after the sun had set. A beautiful coastal town with a spectacular setting, on the Kaikoura Peninsula. Kaikoura got its name from an ancient Maori explorer who stopped there to eat crayfish and on finding it so good, he called the place kai (food) koura (crayfish). We stopped off at Goochs Beach and enjoyed the view, skipped stones and even managed to lure a seal over who clearly thought the stones splashing was fish.

The view from Gooch’s Beach

Our mission was to find a pub, to watch the opening match of the RWC and the next was to find a campsite. After much searching in a very small town, we found one pub open, The Whaler.  While the girls secured a table, the boys raced off to secure a campsite. One supper, one rugby match (NZL 41 – TGA 10) and a few beers and ciders later, the very tired campervan mates headed for bed.