IMG_1181Spring is in the air and Kaikoura Seafest was the perfect event to welcome the season. Relaxing in the sun we enjoyed fresh seafood, sampled local beer and admired the commitment other festival goers made to their costumes. A series of bands played a variety from country to an entertaining techno version of the national anthem, “God Defend New Zealand”.

On Sunday morning we began an indirect drive back to the Garden City, stopping at Pegasus Bay Winery. It was too windy to sit outside but the restaurant’s huge glass windows allowed us to enjoy the serene landscape during lunch. Our upstairs table overlooked streams, footbridges and gardens. The food, service and wine were exceptional!

From Pegasus Bay we drove northwest via Lewis Pass to Hanmer Springs. Because it was school holidays I opted to bypass the crowded thermal pools and went straight to the spa. My coffee bean exfoliation treatment was soothing. I eventually peeled myself from the massage table and we retraced our drive to Wairarapa and on to Christchurch. The wind had really picked up, with gusts of 160kph; I was happy to exit the Lewis Pass.

With a few hours in Christchurch before my flight I strolled through the Botanic Gardens and saw the blue penguins at the International Antarctic Centre. Both are worthy of a longer visit.

Dates: 2-5 October 2015
Travel with: Allen
Weather: 60s, mostly sunny with strong wind

  • Dolphin Lodge Backpackers, Kaikoura
  • YHA Rollston Christchurch – offers parking, but awkward setup with restrooms on a different floor from rooms


  • Kaikoura Seafest
  • Mass at St Anthony in Cheviot
  • seal colony at Point Kean
  • coffee bean exfoliation at Hanmer Springs Spa
  • Christchurch Botanic Garden, great gift shop
  • International Antarctic Centre


  • Tuti’s, Kaikoura
  • the Craypot, Kaikoura
  • lunch at Pegasus Bay Winery (!!), Wairarapa
  • Subway, Christchurch
  • C1 Espresso, Christchurch

Transportation: Air NZ AKL-CHC; Apex car rental