Being Thrifty vs. Splurging In Kaikoura
From Christchurch, it's a quick and easy 3 hours to the unassuming seaside town of Kaikoura. Not having any particular expectations of the area allowed me to be wowed by the beautiful rocky, blue coast. I almost declined the walk along the peninsula, but it was the best part of my day.
If I hadn't taken the walk, the other option was to swim with dolphins. Having seen fellow travellers' photos, I can see why it's worth the experience, but I was glad to save the money on this one. It's easy to get swept up in all the excursions, but one adventure after the next (especially in New Zealand) can get very expensive, very quickly.
Weigh your options, consider what's important for your overall trip, and don't be afraid to miss out. You may find that your money is better spent on a skydive, a canyon swing, hobbiton, or some other adventure outing. It depends on what you value most, and what you know you'll regret vs. getting caught up in the moment. What's a must-do for other travelers is not necessarily your must-do. Get honest with yourself and make the best choice in the moment.
Along the town is a pebbly beach with cold water and intimidating waves. Make sure you spray on Feel Better Essentials or another bug spray before you go out, or just cover up and get the heck out of there when you see sandflies on you. The itch is persistent, lasts for weeks, and feels worse than a mosquito bite (in my opinion).
Because the town is small, a day is enough, but it really is worth stopping here to enjoy the seal colonies, tide pools, walks, and dolphins.
Kaikoura has also maintained a very friendly, unassuming vibe, which I really appreciated and think of as true Kiwi culture.
This small seaside town was the perfect way to finish up my trip around the South Island. It was a gentle place with unexpected terrain and the most beautiful colors. I found that spending my money on other adventures throughout New Zealand were more important to me than swimming with Flipper, but this might be just the place for you to take the plunge.
This was the end of my travel journey through New Zealand. If you want some guidance from the beginning check out my post titled: You're Visiting New Zealand? Let's Begin Here....
Kaikoura links and info:
Kaikoura Peninsula walkway is well worth it.
Swimming with dolphins comes highly recommended.
Feel Better Essentials is a natural NZ made oil spray to help repel sandflies.