The Encounter building in Kaikoura is well-known as being the starting point for the highly popular Dolphin Encounter, a tour where intrepid travelers can jump into the cold waters of the Pacific and swim with massive pods of dusky dolphins. However, Encounter also houses a top-notch cafe that is well worth an early wake up call so you can grab a bite (or even just a coffee) before your tour.
Encounter was buzzing when I walked over from the Kaikoura Waterfront Apartments (which were only a couple hundred meters away). Luckily, this buzz was from people milling about and waiting for their 8.30am dolphin swim to start, which meant that there was a bit of a lull in the cafe. This meant I didn’t have to wait long at the counter to place my order and there were plenty of tables to choose from. I chose to go outside and sat at a prime table that was as close to the ocean as possible (and importantly, covered by an umbrella as it was a very sunny day).
It was such a relaxing spot to sit, especially once my mango tea arrived. I sat sipping my tea while I looked out at the ocean, ever restless and pummeling the black, pebbly shoreline with its waves. The snow on top of the mountains, only just fallen in the last few days, glistened in the brilliant sunshine. I wanted to sit and enjoy the day rather than eating and then hitting the road, but I also knew I had plenty more in store for me on my trip that I could only do if I left Kaikoura.
Because I had the shade of the umbrella, I got out my laptop and could actually see the screen! This meant I could put a few finishing touches on a blog post before my breakfast arrived. Someone walked by and asked me if I knew where she could buy wireless internet, but I couldn’t give her an answer; she eventually came back and let me know that wireless access cards could be purchased at the front desk for as little as $2.
As content as I was being there, I was still happy when my breakfast arrived. It was eggs florentine served with wilted spinach, a toasted muffin, and salad, and it really hit the spot. One thing I look for in poached eggs is for them to be slightly runny so I can mix the egg with the rest of my breakfast — and these were exactly that.
All too soon, I had to pack away my gear and start my drive to the Waipara Valley, but I’m very glad I had the chance to start my day at Cafe Encounter.
Cafe Encounter is located in the Encounter building at 96 Esplanade, Kaikoura. They are open from 7am-5pm in the summer and from 7.30am-4.30pm in the winter. Breakfast is served until 11am.