NZ Land Logs 24, Year 2: Back to the North Island–Otaki
Date: Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Weather Today: Beautiful Early Morning, Midday Rain, Clearing Afternoon
Location: Otaki, New Zealand

In parts of New Zealand they claim to have four seasons in one day. Well, today was almost one of those days. I saw ‘almost’ because we didn’t have snow and for that we are most thankful. We had a lovely sunrise in Kaikoura and enjoyed our ride up the coast with the Seaward Kaikouras to our left and the ocean to our right. We intentionally did not eat breakfast before we left as we had read about a place called The Store at Kekerengu. The Lonely Planet advises stopping there even if you don’t need anything to eat, and we are glad that we followed their advice. In the middle of nowhere, this lovely restaurant appeared on the ocean’s edge. We had Eggs Benedict, Mark’s favorite, and topped that off with a blueberry and pear muffin, all made with local fruit. It was delightful and at this point the sun was still shining. Shortly after we left Kekerengu, however, the rain started. At first it was just a sprinkle, but by the time we reached Picton, it was pouring. Shortly after we got on the ferry, the rain did subside and the sun was shining brightly as we neared Wellington on the North Island, but once again the rain came pouring and blowing down. The winds were blowing about 60 knots today, so in addition to sun, rain, sun, rain, we had lots of wind and a bit of chill at times.

We made the reverse trip to the South Island fifteen days ago and we certainly have enjoyed each and every one of those days. The landscape is beautiful beyond words and I loved getting to see the Yellow-eyed and Little Blue penguins. What a treat it was to see these creatures come home from the sea. It is a sight I will never forget. The rain in Milford Sound is something else I will never forget. I’m not a lover of rain, but the waterfalls that were generated by the rain that day were just gorgeous. And then there were the glaciers and snow-capped peaks of Mt. Cook, Mt. Tasman, and Mt. Aspiring and the rides along the narrow roads between mountain and ocean. Wow! It was a great two weeks. And now we are off to explore more of the North Island. We have chosen to go back up the more rugged west coast on our way home. Our stop tonight is in the town of Otaki about an hour and a half from Wellington. Tomorrow we will be on our way to see Mt. Egmont, the Mt. Fuji of New Zealand. But back to today. We chose to stay in Otaki because the Lonely Planet guide we are using had nothing else listed between here and Wanganui. Wanganui was too far to drive, so Otaki won. There were only two places listed to stay, so we booked the Otaki Oasis Backpacker for the night. It sounded delightful–hobby farm, pick all the fruit you can eat, etc. But this one was not as advertised. Our room looks like a chicken coop stuck on to the side of the main house. Two rooms with a bathroom between meant two rooms with a bathroom at one end. And the price was higher than anything we have paid for in days. Since one of the rooms had three beds, we talked the guy into letting us stay in the one room. He is still charging us more than the place is worth, but since the winds are now blowing about 55 to 60 knots and it is getting late in the evening, this will be home for the night. The only internet in this town is in the library which is closed, so this log won’t be sent until tomorrow. If we survive Otaki, we’ll send the log from the first town north.

070314 Web Pics–Kaikoura to Otaki