The ferry landed in Picton and from there we took a train that must be one of the most scenic train rides in the world. As we cruised along the coast and approached the whaling town of Kaikoura, we spotted seals basking on the rocks.
Waiting at the train station in Kaikoura was Dawn, my NZ sister. Yes, my sister!! No scandalous family history here, sorry. When I was 17, I came to NZ on a student exchange programme and lived with a NZ family for a year. Dawn and I became instant friends and sisters.
Dawn organized for friends to come and spend the weekend with us in Kaikoura. Over a barbecue, we talked all evening about what we had been doing all these years, and shared recollections of our crazy times together in the sixth form at school. Some of these friends I had managed to see a few times in the past years. A bonfire was the highlight of the evening for the kids (and grown ups!) as we toasted marshmallows and sang campfire songs!
The morning after we had a big brunch and braved ourselves for a long walk – the views were always picture perfect. We were hoping to see whales but they eluded us this time.
On Monday, we had the opportunity to visit Kaikoura in the most unique way possible. We delivered the mail! Dawn and her husband Shane have the postal contract for mail delivery in rural Kaikoura. As we wowed over the raw beauty of the Puhi Puhi and Blue Duck Valleys, Monday’s mail was delivered by two enthusiastic posties, albeit a little underaged.
As we left Kaikoura, we kept our eyes on the sea and what luck – Anais had had her fingers crossed it seems – we saw a large pod of dolphins swimming and leaping in the water. We wanted to stay and watch forever. But other adventures await…