Kaikoura is a neat little sea town with mountains in the back and lots of tourist activities in the front. I had to walk 7 kilometres out of town to my camping spot at Peketa Beach as noone picked me up that day.
I walked by a public dirt track where people whirled up some dust with drives and drifts. Man, kiwis love their cars. I reached the site by 10 or so – just as the lady in the shop was about to head home. Lucky me. I pitched my tent one meter away from the beach, smoked one and fell asleep to the sound of the waves.
The next day, I made a friend called Dickby, a campsite worker and character. He was so kind and even borrowed me his bike. One the following day, I took the bike to Mount Fyffe, a 1600 m hill, enlightening the way to the Kaikoura Range.
The bike was a tough mate, rusty and the brakes would touch the wheel once every rotation. Taking it up short-cut recommended from Dickby was a literal pain in the ass. The woods were filled with beetles, creating an orchestra of clacking and chirping sounds, so loud it was almost hurting.
Up the even gravel path, it was dusty and hot. A fellow German who didn’t intend to go all the way up, and gave me something to drink which I was really in need of. I was already sunburnt, dripping in sweat, and down more than half of my bottle. I had started the hike at 1, and somehow reached Mount Fyffe Hut by 4 pm due to the help of some lollies and candy bars from Peketa Beach.
I made it the to the top by 5:30, the Kowhai Valley to my left, the flat Kaikoura township and peninsula to my right. Other hikers intended to find a lake up in the range that has been created by the enormous earthquake of 2016.
I was exhausted and reached the bike by 8:30. And Dickby’s short-cut turned out to be quite fun on downhill, and I discovered the amateur mountain-biker in me (I only fell once).
But Kaikoura is not really famous for Mount Fyffe or hidden bike routes. If you take a closer look at the picture above, the blues of the water have different intensity, due to shallower grounds and an exhaustingly steep cliff around the peninsula. Kaikoura is therefore rich in food which attracts fish, birds, and mammals. The NZ hotspot for whale watching.