This morning, I was completely struck by the beauty of Kaikoura. Even though the clouds had partially raised for sunset yesterday evening, that was nothing compared to what greeted me as the sun rose this morning. The Seaward Kaikouras were towering over the city, coated with a white dusting from the first snow of the season a few days prior. At their feet was the restless aquamarine of the Pacific Ocean.
Even though it’s hard to have a bad view anywhere in Kaikoura, after I finished breakfast I went on a brief search to find the best view possible. Why? It’s the photographer in me, always looking for better angles or interesting ways to frame a shot. I only had a short time in which to look, but I found two cracking spots.
The first is near what was signposted as the “old wharf.” Driving along the Esplanade towards the seal colony, I continued straight onto Wakatu Quay rather than following the road to the right. Along here there are quite a few large rocks that break the waves, creating great water effects and also providing a foreground for your sweeping scenery shot. There’s a line of old wooden posts that also make an interesting foreground, especially when various birds decide to take a breather on them.
Be careful when walking around off the road here — I was snapping a panorama and very nearly ended up wet up to the knees! That would have been fine, but being swept into the water wouldn’t have been nice (especially because it’s not summer by any means, and the warmest the water gets here in mid-summer is 18C).
The second was actually a find from the previous day, when I had been planning to go to the seal colony around sunset but instead followed a sign that pointed down Scarborough St towards a lookout. The sunset was pretty because there were plenty of clouds around to catch the light, but unfortunately there were too many of them because many of the most spectacular mountains were still obscured.
I was impressed enough with the view, which takes in miles of coast south of the Kaikoura peninsula, the peninsula itself, the town, and the Seaward Kaikoura Range, to come back again today. All I can really say about the view in full daylight on a near-cloudless day is wow. What a panorama. What a place. I just sat there thinking, “How could I manage to move here so I could see that view every day? How would I go living in a town where so many people work on the water when I get so badly seasick?”
There are two different viewpoints here — one on car park level (where the obligatory telescope and map explaining the geography of the area), and one on a raised platform above the car park. I actually preferred the carpark level because it meant I had a grassy knoll in the foreground of my photos rather than a plethora of cars and campervans.
By no means am I saying that these are the absolute best places to take in the scenery of Kaikoura (although it might be hard to beat the peninsula lookout without a helicopter). I just thought I’d share the two spots I found that had me picking my jaw up off the ground!