Whale Watching & Sailing in Kaikoura & Christchurch

Okay, okay, so I know I’ve left you all hanging for quite some time while I’ve been on my trip but it’s not my fault, I promise! Turns out New Zealand has extremely limited wifi. Whoda thunk. It’s not like they’re like the furthest place in the world from anywhere else or anything..

But it’s okay because now I’m finally back in a wifi zone and can update you all on some of my travels over the past week. Last I left you I think was right after I’d completed the Tongariro Crossing. Phew, still tired a week later. Just kidding, it was easy peasy. I’m such a pro.

*cough* cough*


I’ve now landed in Christchurch for the remainder of my time in New Zealand and it’s been pretty chill and relaxed. Compared to the Crossing, that is.

But before I get to Christchurch, let me tell you about my time in Kaikoura – between the Crossing and Christchurch – because it was amazing.

So, I like the outdoors. I hope you’ve gathered that by now considering that the majority of my time here in NZ has been spent camping and hiking and exploring. Well..

It all got even better in Kaikoura when Rowena and I decided to camp out on a beachfront. We literally fell asleep to the sound of the waves crashing and woke up to the bright stars above and the sound of soft waves falling upon the shore. Oh my goodness, take me back right now. It’s only been a few days and I already miss that view. We were camped out on the sand of the beach with the mountains rising behind us and the infinite ocean before us. 

I say we woke up to the stars because we literally did. Our only morning in Kaikoura we went whale watching at 7am, which means we had to wake up at 5am in order to get ready, pack the tent and get to the boat on time. So pitch black night and bright white stars were the first sight I saw that morning. It was so beautiful that I just laid there for 20 minutes staring up. And after about 15 minutes a falling star shot across the night and began my day in the best way.

I was so sad to have to get up and pack that morning because honestly one night in Kaikoura was not enough. Seals and penguins and waterfalls and ocean were in abundance in Kaikoura.. I loved everything about that place. But I also knew waking up that morning that I was about to see my very first whale in the entirety of my life, so I was full of energy and happy as soon as my eyes opened.

Once we got to the boat and took off, I don’t think I stopped smiling for the rest of the day. They’d warned us that we might not see any whales but we were lucky and not only saw one whale but two whales and a pod of about 200 dolphins. 

 I literally can’t think of any better way to start a day than the way this one began for me.

Whales and dolphins and falling stars?

Why doesn’t this happen every day?

Even though it was just for one day, it was amazing.

I had the best morning ever that day and it only got better.

After the whales, we headed to Christchurch to have lunch with Rowena’s parents at the pub. While we were there eating, I experienced my first ever earthquake. I think her dad said it was a 5.7 so it was pretty big, especially for someone who’s never been in one before. It literally shook our entire table and the patio we were on at the time.

I didn’t even know what was happening when it happened, I just grabbed the edge of the table and looked around terrified. After it was over, everyone was fine so that’s good it wasn’t enough to hurt anyone but it was so crazy to me! Small town American girl from the Midwest? Yeah, earthquakes aren’t a thing to me..

But anyway..

After lunch, her dad took us out on his sailboat and I got to go sailing for the very first time in my life! It was amazing and so pretty out on the water. I obviously sat up front, happy to have the salt water spray me with every wave we hit. Again, I was still wearing a permanent smile. I even got to drive the boat! 

And I’m happy to report that I did not tip it over or crash it at all. There was just one point when the boat tipped all the way on its left side but hey, no one fell out so I think I can call myself a professional. Right.. ?

Yeah.. I think so.

After sailing, my nose is still sunburnt two days later but I don’t care whatsoever. I saw two whales, hundreds of dolphins and sailed a boat that day. 

Time of my life.

Published by MeganSuddarth

"Not all those who wander are lost." -Tolkien

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