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South Island east coast: snippets from the drive home

Summer 12/13 roadie, days 9-10

It was time to point the car back north. Unfortunately. But we were at the bottom of the South Island which meant we were still an 800km drive and 3 hour ferry ride away from home. Plenty of road tripping left.

On this day we’d be stopping overnight near Christchurch. First we had a quick trip into Dunedin so that Mike could do some family history research which entailed a visit to the Hocken Library and a couple of cemeteries.

Found it! (Hard to miss, once you know) Mike with an ancestral grave and memorial

Found it! (Hard to miss, once you know) Mike with an ancestral grave and memorial

An hour or so north is the small town of Moeraki where we’d been recommended to stop at a seafood cafe. This was the first time I’d been into the town which is tucked over a hill out of sight of the main road. The area is more famous for the Moeraki Boulders, a few minutes away, but we didn’t stop there this time.

Fleur’s Place it turns out is very popular but we found a table upstairs – another deck with another great view. We settled back to lashings of carbs and the first proper coffee for a couple of days (ironically, no seafood).

Fleur's Place seafood restaurant, Moeraki

The rustic building was purpose-built on the site of an old whaling station using demolition materials and various collected items, which definitely add to its character.

Dinghy at Fleur's Place seafood restaurant, Moeraki

Door at Fleur's Place seafood restaurant, Moeraki

By mid afternoon we were in the vicinity of Christchurch and we took the opportunity to head into the city for the first time since the earthquakes. I’ll pick that up in the next post.

The next day we made a beeline for the ferry in Picton.

Kaikoura Ranges from Kaikoura

Kaikoura Ranges from Kaikoura

Just off State Highway 1 north of Kaikoura is a brilliant viewing spot for NZ fur seals and the car duly veered off so that I could partake of some cuteness.

Ohau Point seal colony

Ohau Point seal colony

Ohau Point seal colony

Ohau Point seal colony

Ohau Point seal colony

South of Blenheim is a blip of a place you normally just sail on past, possibly noting the striking stone church as you do so.

St Oswalds Church, Wharanui, built in 1927...

St Oswalds Church, Wharanui, built in 1927…

...and here in 1938 for Mike's grandparents' wedding

…and here in 1938 for Mike’s grandparents’ wedding

Across the road from the church

Across the road from the church

And the inevitable was getting closer.

Off to the ferry we go...

Off to the ferry we go…

Hope to see you again soon, South Island. You’re my favourite and I don’t care if the North Island finds out.

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2 Comments Post a comment
  1. How cool to visit the church where Mike’s grandparents were married! Love the old photo, too!

    2 April 2013
    • Thanks Steph :). We’d driven by it on a couple of previous trips so it was good to take the time this time for a closer look.

      2 April 2013

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