March 6-7 A bit of a bunch
We started the day by driving to the Mt. Cook Visitor's Center and enjoyed walking thru the museum, looking at the pictures, artifacts, and videos. Knowing the weather was forecast to become gale force conditions, we left early for Christchurch, becoming lost there in the maze of one way streets and mega traffic. We had hoped to see some of the older buildings and to kind of pay our respects in general, but it was not to be. For any who aren't aware, Christchurch has been victim of severe earthquakes during 2010-2011, but 185 people were killed by the violence of the Feb 22, 2011 quake. Rebuilding efforts are underway, but aftershocks continue, and the city has suffered an emotional and financial crisis unparalleled in its long history. Just this past week it was determined that ChristChurch Cathedral, famous historic landmark and NZ National Treasure, would not be rebuilt; it was more economically viable and safer to build a new Cathedral altogether. We finally wound our way back to Hwy 1, and made our way to Cheviot, where we stayed at an upscale apartment motel. This morning, we departed, stopping in Kaikoura to do the Fyffe Trail Bush Walk. It seemed straight uphill, but the dozens of switchbacks thru the forest made it manageable. After, we stopped at the Ohau Point Seal Colony car park, and enjoyed taking pictures of the resident fur seal pups and large adults. The fur seals have been protected in NZ since 1978, and flourish here in this part of NZ. Back on Hwy 1 to Blenheim, we stopped at The Store at Kekerengu for a muffin and coffee; an interesting cafe set on a dramatic bluff overlooking the ocean.
(Picture is of the fur seals....how many can you count?)