Mid Winter Break

Contrary to popular belief, I do get a little time to myself to spend with the fam when I’m not desperately trying to meet the onslaught of never ending deadlines. One such time was a few weeks back when we all headed off to Kaikoura for a long mid Winter weekend. Kaikoura lies around 120km south of Blenheim on the State Highway to Christchurch. It is famous for its whale watching and crayfish… neither of which we enjoyed while we were there. Instead we spent one wet day mostly sitting around the rental cottage we were staying at – which was on an animal farm park. Of course the kids loved that – feeding the pigs, llamas, horse and donkeys – not to mention catching guinea pigs and rabbits all the while trying to avoid being gored by the aggro goat with an attitude. And other than a nail through the foot, the aforementioned wet day and  poor mobile coverage we had a great time.

On our way there we stopped at Ohau Point where there is a seal colony and observation area – but it was up a short walk to a waterfall where the real action was. There, up a rocky creek, the seal pups climb each morning to play in a swimming hole under the waterfall before heading back to sea in the late afternoon. And let me tell you, this was an impressive sight. Up to 40 seal pups swimming and diving around this hole, lying around on rocks and generally having lots of fun – all up close and touchable for the public. Unbelievable – and FREE! Kids loved it, so we visited on our way home also. We left the seals a tennis ball to play with which they loved tossing around amongst themselves.

While in Kaikoura, we also visited the Maori Leap Caves – which I have driven past for years and never thought of visiting, but they were pretty impressive. Stalactites and stalagmites and ‘straws’ all over the place. We also drove to Mt Lyford, a small scale ski area, and let the kids do some sledding while Linda and I just watched in amazement at their fearlessness, hurtling down the snow covered roads at break neck speed – while also tossing the odd snowball at them.

Our last day started with breakfast at the Beach House Café – wow that was great food. We’ll be back there for bagels and hot chocolates again. Toby polished off an entire cooked breakfast on his own which was pretty impressive. Back home on the Tuesday to greet the mountain of emails and messages, leaving me just a little more behind than I already was the Friday before. Ah well… back  to the grindstone!

Seal pups up close and personal.

Seal pups up close and personal.

Dozens of seal pups doing their thing.

Dozens of seal pups doing their thing.

Road sledding - not recommended in heavy traffic.

Road sledding - not recommended in heavy traffic.

two up tobogganning - twice the speed, twice the danger.

Two up tobogganning - twice the speed, twice the danger.

Girls don't need to be taught to love horses.

Girls don't need to be taught to love horses.

Cave dwelling families are rare these days. Having visited one I now know why.

Cave dwelling families are rare these days. Having visited one I now know why.

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