New Zealand in a campervan – Nelson to Kaikoura

On the advice of our new friends from Wellington, we headed toward Kaikoura to whale watch.

The trip from Nelson took us via Blenheim, so we were doubling back on ourselves, but this time the roads were much straighter and less hilly. There are some challenging drives in New Zealand. This one was possibly one of the least so and one of the most beautiful.

The road and the train track hug the coastline. As I have said before, the Picton to Christchurch Kaikoura coast route is a train journey I would love to do one day.

Our new friends, Barb and Pete, who we met in Havelock, recommended we stopped at The Store in Kekerengu for lunch.

The food is very good and the location is stunning.

And if I had know what to do with it I would have bought lobster for dinner from Nin’s Bins. North of Kaikoura, Nin’s Bins has been serving fresh lobster since the mid 70’s.

Kaikoura, New Zealand’s eco tourism capital is a quirky little town, with lots of backpacker hostels and outdoor clothing shops.

With a backdrop of snow-capped mountains that meet the sea, it was a lovely laid back town.

We did go whale watching but unusually did not see any whales. We visited a lavender farm, just outside the town.

There are some charming Art Deco buildings, as you drive south toward Christchurch, and the coast continues to impress.

The drive along this highway is up there with The Great Ocean Road and the Big Sur.

New Zealand is a beautiful country with contrasting landscapes. This was one of the best.

“There are few places in the world with such awesome mountains so close to the sea, and such a proliferation of wildlife so close at hand: whales, dolphins, seals, penguins, shearwaters, petrel and albatross.”

Lonely Planet

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