It’s rare thing for a construction worker to give you a smile, particularly if you’re a gangling male like myself. Therefore you can understand my confusion when all 28 of them flashed their pearly whites at me as we weaved our way through the mountains to Kaikoura. Traffic lights, safety cones and excavators line the roads thanks to the devastating 2016 earthquake, so it makes you wonder what on earth these guys have to smile about. And then you arrive…
Kaikoura, meaning ‘to eat Crayfish’ in Maori, is also known as ‘the Albatross capital of the world’ or even Sperm City (in reference to its semi-resident whales). But it doesn’t stop at Sperm Whales; expect Humpbacks, Orcas, dolphins, seals and even the mighty Blue Whale if you’re lucky.
We started our day with Whale Watch Kaikoura and honestly, these guys are awesome! From bus driver Willy to tour guide Tehlia, they are all passionate, knowledgeable and enthusiastic and at the same time make you feel like you’re all friends embarking on an adventure together. Needless to say, we saw Giant Sperm whales (the largest toothed predator on the planet), along with all varieties of wildlife including a fellow tourist projectile vomiting into a paper bag. Perfect timing for lunch.
When I used to think ‘world famous foods’, it was thoughts of eating sushi in Tokyo, steak in Buenos Aires or macaroons in Paris that crossed my mind. Now however, it’s the Seafood BBQ in Kaikoura. Situated on Fyffe Quay, this place offers fresh seafood like no other, with views that most restaurants can only dream of. There’s only one thing better than a plate of this, and that’s a platter, think scallops, crayfish, whitebait, grilled fish, mussels, salmon and prawns.
Image: tripadvisor (Melanie_Yeoh)
After feeling morbidly obese from lunch, we decided to hang with the other fatties at Point Kean seal colony. Spread out across the rocks, it’s these guys that epitomise the laid back attitude that makes Kaikoura so special. Yes the scenery is stunning, as is the wildlife, but it’s the people in this small town that make the place like no other.