Kiakoura is a unique and beautiful township. Kiakoura means to feed on crayfish which are plentiful in the bay. It sits on the continental shelf and cold food rich waters of the Antarctic bring a host of sea life to the area.
The Mauori fished here for generations before the Europeans arrived and Kiakoura became a whaling port and almost destroyed the area.
Thankfully today the Whale industry is tourists wanting to see these great creatures in their environment. Kiakoura is once again a thriving and very special place.
We followed the coast line of the South Island down from Picton, the sea to one side and the Southern Alps on the other. We passed sea lions basking on the shore oblivious to the tourists flying by in the ever increasing number of camper vans.
We paused to look at a stunning beach before heading to our Top10 park.
It was late when we got off the ferry and as we had already travelled some 450km + the ferry trip we decided to look for somewhere to crash for the night. Luckily Camper Mate NZ App lists all campsites both free and paid for.
A little over 6km’s from Picton at a little place called Colin’s Memorial Reserve on state highway 1. A bit noisy from the road and railroad but it has wash facilities and is completely free. It was perfect for tired travellers wanting a few hours sleep.
The Interilander ferry is a road,rail and passenger ferry that keeps the North and South islands connected. The ferry takes 3.5hrs and can be quite a roller coaster of a ride, fortunately we were met with calm seas and had a very uneventfully journey.
Cook Strait lies between the North and South Islands of New Zealand. It connects the Tasman Sea on the northwest with the South Pacific Ocean on the southeast, it is considered one of the most dangerous and unpredictable waters in the world
The strait is named after James Cook, the first European commander to sail through it, in 1770. In Māori it has the name Raukawa or Raukawa Moana. Raukawa may mean “bitter leaves”.
So we can spend as much time as possible in the South Island we have a big drive ahead of us today. All the way to Wellington so we can catch the 6.30pm ferry to Picton on. 7 hours drive from Taupo but we made it on to the ferry.
After Hobbiton we left for our campsite at Lake Taupo. It was a nice drive in the evening sun.Taupo is in the middle of the thermal reserve and produces its electricity from hydro electric and thermal heat changing. Both Taupo and Rotarua have a unique aroma of rotten eggs.
The Hobbiton set is deep in the hills near Matamata. The set was rebuilt for The Hobbit Trilogy as a permenant feature as the original set was made of plywood and polystyrene and only meant as a temporary structure for the Lord of the Rings films.
The family who owned the land approached Peter Jackson and the film company to see if they could turn it into a tourist attraction after filming had finished.
There are several full size, 90% and 60% Hobbit holes so the film makers could use trick photography to make the actors look like Hobbits who were no more than 5ft 4in.
So Monday morning we are ready to set off on our adventure. Everything packed and reay to go
We spent the afternoon down on the beach
We spent the morning saying goodbye to some of the relatives