Kaikoura Travel Blog

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The Kaikoura Peninsula.

This is a vacation.  Or, in the parlance of the locals, a holiday.  We have all accomplished one of the goals of every vacation: none of us has any concept of time.  For the most part, we haven’t a clue about the day of the week or even the date.  Today I pinched myself when I realized that it had been only three weeks since I graduated from law school!  It seems like months ago. 

Yet we have been running so hard across Australia and New Zealand that, at times, I wish we could just stop and relax.  Today was that day thanks to Hanmer Hot Springs. 

Fed by wonderful natural springs in the shadows of snow-capped mountains, the Hanmer Springs are a soothing oasis in the middle of nowhere.

The mountains overlooking Kaikoura. The hazy smoke comes from the chimneys of the homes.
  After winding our way across almost the entire width of the South Island, we arrived at the springs just shy of midday and headed into this natural (and amazingly affordable) spa. 

The air temperature in that valley was about 50 degrees.  The temperature of the water ranged from the upper 80s to a tad over 100.  We wasted no time in diving in.  The complex had a series of pools, each with varying degrees of heat and/or mineral content.  A person could simply migrate from one to another as long as they wished for only $7. 

I much favor soaking in a hot natural spring pool than a sauna or steam room.  The water at Hanmer was so extraordinarily relaxing.  All of us commented afterward that our bodies felt like something akin to jell-o or putty.

Sunset at Kaikoura.
  By this point in the trip, none of really held much stress, save for the tense moments zooming around the Kiwi countryside.  But, man oh man, when we collapsed into those pools, I felt every bit of law school fade away into the heated waters.  And I had no desire to get out, save for the shriveling prune I had become and the dehydration that inevitably pays a visit to anyone who spends time in those pools.  

We were truly useless for the remainder of the day.  We drove on to Kaikoura, the lobster (or crayfish as the locals call them) capital of New Zealand, enjoyed a seafood supper, and then settled in for our last night on the South Island.


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The Kaikoura Peninsula.
The Kaikoura Peninsula.
The mountains overlooking Kaikoura…
The mountains overlooking Kaikour…
Sunset at Kaikoura.
Sunset at Kaikoura.
The Hanmer Hot Springs.
The Hanmer Hot Springs.
The Kiwis do have a sense of humor…
The Kiwis do have a sense of humo…
photo by: bluemarbletreader