One thing you should know about New Zealand is that towns on the South Island are pretty well isolated from one another. Also, not every town has a gas station so people have to drive to a larger town to fill up their tanks and often fill up plastic fuel tanks as reserves.
What I’m leading up to is the fact that Marilyn and I were so caught up in chatting and enjoying the beautiful day that we didn’t consider stopping to refuel. We had a full tank before leaving Balclutha, but we didn’t think we needed to fill up along the way. However, several kilometers outside of Kaikoura, the low-fuel indicator light popped on as we made our way up and down some pretty large hills and wove in and out along the coastline.
It’d wouldn’t be exaggerating much to say we were freaked out. Here we were on a two-lane road in the middle of nowhere desperately looking for a gas station. We weren’t sure we would make it to Kaikoura despite all the signs announcing that we were nearly there. But, there was no way to pull over and turn around to search for the last gas station. We didn’t even know when we saw one.
In the end, we made it to Kaikoura (on fumes I imagine) and filled up immediately. Then, we checked into our hostel and dropped our bags off. We splurged on a two-bed private room, and Marilyn was excited that they gave us a bunk bed. She quickly called dibs on the top bunk to which I heartily agreed. Then we set out for some late lunch/early dinner as we’d skipped breakfast and lunch on the drive.
After a really great meal, we headed out to the Point Kean seal colony at the other end of town. When we arrived, there were many people (busloads in fact) who had the same idea. But, the seals didn’t seem to mind the paparazzi action going on all around them. Some sunned atop large rocks in the middle of the water while others preferred to be right up on shore. A few seals even managed to find a nice pile of grass to doze upon under the cover of bushes and trees.
Afterward, we walked up to Point Kean viewpoint to see the surrounding area. On one side, the Pacific Ocean extended as far as you could see. On the other, the Kaikoura Ranges stood in the background beneath the clouds. It was an amazing way to end a long day on the road. After a few peaceful moments, we headed back to the hostel to get some rest.