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New Zealand in a campervan – whale watching in Kaikoura

Kaikoura is a magical place

One of the highlights of our trip was the journey down the Pacific Coast to Kaikoura.

It was the perfect antidote to our, by then, road weariness and living in a campervan. There are probably as many camper vans to hire in New Zealand as there are people.

Maybe that is why most locals seem to hate them. The invasion of the campervans.

The transit with a bed in the back

Whether they are Wicked or Juicy, or boring ford transits with a bed in the back, as ours was, one this is sure. As we got to grips with the windy roads, high winds and roadworks on every highway we got abuse.

I was tempted to put dollar signs on the back as a reminder to the more impatient drivers that us tourists are contributing to the local economy.

We buy your produce, shop local, like your wine, can’t afford your lamb, so can we drive on your roads please?

Buy the end of week two we were getting road weary and wished we had known about the train services on the South Island.


This one links Christchurch and Picton and for the most part of the journey hugs the coastline. The front carriage is open air so you can admire the views and take some great photos. In a day you can do the round trip and I think it is probably up there with the great railway journeys of the world. The other one takes you across the Southern Alps from Christchurch to Greymouth. I suspect this would be pretty spectacular too.

We followed the rail track for most of the way as we drove from Blenheim to Christchurch, holding up coaches and trucks as we trundled along in our ford transit with a bed in the back.

On the advice of Tim and Jo Ann, the couple we stayed with in Wellington, we stopped over in Kaikoura to go whale watching.


We saw dolphins.


We saw albatross.

whale watching in kaikoura

The boat was lovely, if very bouncy.


They listened for whales.


But we didn’t see any whales.

So they gave us a refund and we could then afford to eat this.


Organic, New Zealand Lamb.

And drink this.


Organic New Zealand wine.

Dinner was on the whale!

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