Seddon - We Return
On the road again at 8.30, we weave our way through Christchurch's morning traffic. Thankfully we are heading outbound whilst the majority are doing the inbound morning ritual.
We had a discussion last night as to the plan for our route, should we head back inland for more twisty fun or head straight up Highway One, along the East Coast? It is only a relatively short 300 - 400km either way, so which will be the more enjoyable?
Our decision to take the main highway was vindicated, with low cloud enveloping the hills all the way Northwards, the peaks were well hidden so the inland route would probably not have been a whole lot of fun. Traffic wasn't too bad, lots of trucks but they soon spread out the further we travelled. Although overcast and a bit chilly at least there was no rain, just the occasional patches of mist had me doing the one-fingered windscreen wiper thing.
About an hour up the road we pulled over for breakfast at a little place that appeared quite popular judging by the amount of traffic coming and going. Doug opted for a cheese scone and for something different I asked for a bacon sarny, which turned out to be a cheesy scone filled with slices of bacon and an onion relish on the side, yummy. The coffee was pretty good too.
It is a bit of a nice change to be travelling the highway for a change, wider roads, sweeping bends and plentiful overtaking lanes make for "progressing". Although it is not overly challenging we are making good time.
Today is a day of more tourist oddities, endless amusement if taken in the right frame of mind, frustrating otherwise. Some seem to have a fascination with sheep, suddenly pulling over and running across the highway to take photos of a paddock full of sheep. Saw that more than once, stick around guys the place is teeming with them. Another is just plain non-awareness of the traffic around them, small rental car with a line of vehicles behind, blissfully unaware as they refuse to move over at the overtaking lane. Some graphic hand gestures had the desired result, no language barrier here.
The roads people have a pretty neat system of automated warning signs on tricky bends. The usual speed advisory signs are supplemented with these solar powered signs that use radar to check your speed and then start flashing a big "Slow Down" and a curved arrow. Good idea for the obvious high accident areas. For some reason they kept flashing at me quite a bit. Oh yeah there were plenty of Police speed traps around today too, not much interest in us though.
We pulled over in Kaikora for lunch, nice little beach-side town that has reinvented itself as a whale-watching centre. Apparently not too many years ago the town was in serious decline, the city fathers thought outside the square and embraced envrio-tourism. Now there are new buildings going up and the whole place has a really good vibe about it.
Not too far out of town there is a small seal colony come nursery. A few adults trying to sleep with a bunch of pups doing what kids do, chase each other around and generally annoy the oldies. Cute little fellers they are too. Due to the overcast there aren't many photo opportunities today (not really into mobs of sheep), there are a couple of the seals though for your enjoyment.
So after a modest 300km we arrived back at Karin's place, ready for an early start tomorrow to catch the ferry by 7.00am. After that it's a matter of a straight run up the highway to Rotorua, nearly done, sadly.