Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Five days Caravaning at Kaikoura

Kaikoura Holiday

We had been planning our summer holiday for some time, carefully slotting it in between my taxi work and the work to come when our taxi driver friend will be in hospital, leaving his taxi in our care. A chance meeting and remark to our freinds and neighbours about our departure the following day led to our going on holiday together. Janice and Jimmy in their brand new luxurious big caravan and us in our much smaller and older model, we set off happily together for Goose Bay, Kaikoura.
The day we left was very warm, 33 degrees, travelling was fine, we could enjoy the cars air-conditioning, but when we arrived to set up camp the heat was stifling for a while, fortunately a cloud came over and we had a pleasant coolness.
We chose a great site right on the edge of the beach with a fabulous view of the ocean and the rocks; side-by-side we parked, leaving just enough room to put up an awning to shelter us all from the burning sun, and set up our table and chairs beside the barbecues.
First thing we decided to do; after a relaxing cup of coffee enjoying the view, was to put up the brand new ‘outhouse’ tent that came with our caravan; we had neither solar powered shower set nor portable toilet with us, so it was just going to be for show but we really wanted to know how to put it up quickly and easily; an hour later when we had put the tent poles on the outside, then the inside, then we put it up inside out, finally after we had managed to lock Jimmy inside the tent, we remembered the old adage; ‘if all else fails, read the instructions’. The instructions proved to be written by a Chinese person with only a scanty knowledge of English so wasn’t a great deal of assistance.
Jimmy and I decided we should go find another similar tent within the camping ground. Erle and Janice continued to fight with the strange bendy poles and the odd shaped material of the tent, we were sure there would be several of these small outhouse tents; and we were right, we quickly found another exactly the same. We had a word with the owners who were only too happy to help, they told us they too had lots of problems erecting the tent and had only managed it when somebody came to their aid. Having studied just how it was constructed, we returned and quickly bent the strange poles into the right shape and quickly we had a nice neat ‘outhouse’ with a very neat rounded roof with vents to let out steam when showering. So easy when you know how!
After that adventure, we just had to relax with our first bottle of bubbly wine for the ladies and beer for the men. It was about now I descovered by camera was dead as a door nail, even though I had charged the batteries, so there was not going to be many photos of this trip!
Without any consultation Janice and I managed to take the exact same food for the barbecue, patties and sausages; a case of great minds thinking alike; we were able to leave the men to do the cooking while we got creative over the salads and freshly dug new potatoes from our gardens. This is the veiw in front of the caravans in the evening.
What a pleasant evening sitting under the stars drinking a good wine with sparklingly good conversation while watching the tide come in and go out again, til it was time for bed. A very good first night was had, by us all. The rocky Kaikoura coastline.
Next morning we were not up early, all of us enjoyed a good lie-in before breakfasting together in the sunshine, then the men decided to go for a long walk to the shop a couple of miles away down the road, for a newspaper, a very bonding walk, we could see them talking most of the way! Apparently they talked more than looked where they were going, and very nearly walked onto a huge Fur Seal basking on the rocks in the sun! Janice and I washed dishes and lazed in the sun, talking too. Sleepy Fur Seal.
The camping ground was full to the brim with happy campers and boaties, who launched their boats to set nets for fish and crayfish pots out in the ocean in the hope of catching the allusive crayfish (lobster), there were not many around this year, but many fish were caught of all different types. At any time we seemed to be able to see about 10 small boats fishing, at this rate there will not be any fish left in the Bay very shortly. People also swam out to the rocks and dived for Paua; a local delicacy of shellfish that is large and has thick black flesh that needs mincing to make it tender enough to make wonderful patties, however there are not many left in the shallow parts of the sea, too many people have taken all the tiny shell fish so not leaving any to grow to legal size. We saw one family hauled in by the Ranger for taking too smaller Paua so the Fisheries do try to police the taking of small ones.
We had no boat so were only able to watch, while doing so we spotted many dolphins leaping in the bay and seals lazing in the waters, plus many sea birds. Gulls and a Black Oyster Catcher who was nesting nearby.
Janice and Jimmy bravely went swimming in the open ocean, using boogie boards to ride the surf, while scaredy me just splashed around in the rock pools.
Erle and I went to a couple of craft shows and bought a few odds and ends and enjoyed some delicious homemade seafood chowder, at the Kaikoura Township.
All of us decided to go out for a very tasty Fish and Chip meal together, seeing we couldn’t catch any ourselves, I did throw a line out a few times till I had lost all the spare gear I had with me, all I managed to get was a couple of small nibbles, and a lot of snags.
Janice and Jimmy stayed for 3 nights then had to return home, they hadn’t been gone half an hour before we were missing them already, things were so quiet without them and we missed the shelter of the big caravan next to us, however, we decided to stay on for an extra night just by ourselves. Off we went for a long forest walk up to the top of a big hill, where there is a lookout over the bird Sanctuary rocks where many sea birds nest, and also good viewing of the entire Goose Bay area. Was a hard climb for me, I was thoroughly puffed by time I got there, however the view made it all worthwhile. The veiw from top of the hill of the Bird Sanctuary Rock. Sorry its so small!
The veiw of the rocky coastline from the platform, we were actually camping along the other direction, but right along the shore same as this.
When we rerurned to the caravan one of the fishermen came over with 3 big Red Cod for us, apparently they caught plenty. Lucky us we were very appreciative! Though we gave one fish to another family who were not fishing, we ate a big fishmeal and brought some back home for the neighbours who were feeding our birds in the aviary and looking after our home while we were away.
The next day we had to pack up, pull down our useless outhouse and the awning from the caravan and pack it all away in the small amount of room for storage. Then we headed for home, feeling thoroughly refreshed from the relaxing enjoyable holiday; 4 nights and 5 days, the longest New Zealand holiday we have had. Just to finish it of nicely, we stopped in Kaikoura for a lovely lunch and went wine tasting at the Kaikoura Winery, I paid $4 for a complete tasting of all the varieties since I was not driving, and got rather tiddly while poor Erle had very little on account of the fact that he was driving. But I bought a bottle of Riesling so he could have a good try of the wine sometime later at home.
We decided it had been a darn good break and the longest time we have ever had away in our caravan..