Day 13 – Kaikoura NZ – December 14, 2003

The original plan was that half of the group would leave at the crack of dawn to go on a hot air balloon. I wasn’t up for floating through the air with naught but a weaved basket below my feet, but I was going to ride along anyway, to assist the logistics of balancing between two cars. Luckily those plans were washed out (literally) in a steady rain and gusty wind.

With those plans canceled, we started our drive towards Kaikoura. Our final destination wouldn’t be our only one this day. Around lunchtime we stopped in Christchurch, which is a much larger city than I had expected. I may be wrong, but it looked much bigger than Queenstown or any other south island city we’d seen to date. We stopped at a theatre (the name escapes me now) and watched the Two Towers: Extended Edition. With that we have now seen the extended editions of the first two films on the big screen.

Afterwards we continued our drive to Kaikoura, though not as uneventful as we’d have hoped. Somewhere along the way, perhaps halfway to our destination, the lead car in our party braked hard and pulled to the side of the road. It seems a goodly sized rock was propelled off of a passing truck and had its way with the passenger side window. It didn’t actually enter the car but it did a good job of trying. That small hole and spiderweb of cracks delayed us for about an hour as calls were made to Budget rent-a-car to find out what to do. Whoever we had on the phone didn’t know what to do either, besides tell us to call back in the morning. We shifted passengers around so no one had to sit in front of the shattered glass and finished our drive.

The scenery along the way was very lovely. We passed several wineries, including one that we ended up buying wine of from the duty-free shop. In the end we were just relieved to get to Kaikoura. The Blue Seas Motel is set across the street from the Pacific Ocean. It was quiet, clean, and spacious, something we couldn’t count on at some of our previous stops. We settled in for a nice evening of order-out pizza, one of which even tasted like something from home, and some TV.

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