After I met Viktor, I was convinced I should do a little "speed traveling" and take a detour to the eastern side of the south island of NZ. I planned to do just one night in Kiakoura and one night in Christchurch before I took the TranzAlpine Train from Christchurch to Greymouth. From there, I can take a bus from Greymouth to Franz Josef.
To be honest, I didn't do much in either Kiakoura or Christchurch. If I had more time I could have gone on a charter fishing boat or went whale watching in Kiakoura.
The night I got to Kiakoura, I met up with Viktor at Dusky Backpackers and we went out for some seafood. We split a seafood platter for two and a bottle of chardonnay. I learned that all NZ wines are bottled with a screwcap, not a cork. NZ has only about 2-4% of the world's wine, which isn't much. 1/10 bottles with a cork go bad which distributers can't afford since they have such a small share of distribution. Sealing a wine bottle with a screwtop doesn't lessen the quality of the wine and it is much less likely to have a bad bottle.
Viktor really wanted crayfish while in Kaikoura. They look like lobsters here! Everywhere we went, crayfish were NZ$60-120! So expensive! We asked our waiter and he said that most of the crayfish from here are being exported to China and other countries so there are very few for the local restaurants to serve. That raises the price of crayfish in Kiakoura. For dinner, we stuck with mussels, shrimp, and calamari.
The next morning I woke up early to walk around the penninsula. It was supposed to rain by 10am and it was supposed to take me 3-4 hours to complete! Most of that time, though, was just walking to the start of the trek. So, like everyone has kept suggesting, I stuck my thumb out to get a ride. An older woman and her yorkie stopped on the side of the road and gave me a ride all the way to the start of the trek!
The walk was beautiful. There were rolling green hills with snowcapped mountains on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other.
The walk was beautiful and it was a very easy walk. Anyone could experience it. When I came down off the hill, the wind started picking up. I was nervous that it ws going to rain on me so I stuck out my thumb again. A man in a truck picked me up this time and dropped me off right at my hostel. The hostel receptionist, who recommended hitchhiking to avoid the rain, was amazed I got back so fast. He said he has never seen someone do the walk so quickly.
After the walk, I had some noodles and read a bit while the skies opened up. I had to wait a couple hours for my bus so I video called home.
Next stop: Christchurch.