I took the Interislander ferry across to the South Island. It was a blissful 3 hours of sailing on the Marlborough Sounds and through the Cook Strait over to Picton. That's the famous Capt James Cook, if you were wondering. He passed through the Strait as he circumnavigated North Island. On his third voyage around these parts, he sent 10 of his crew to collect scurvy grass from Arapawa Island in the strait but they were ambushed, killed and eaten by local Maori. Thankfully the locals have since lost their appetite for cannibalism after introduction to Christianity (though some missionaries took one for the team).
The next day, nursing a delicate head, I drove the short distance down the east coast to Kaikoura. I thought the North Island scenery was spectacular but it was nothing in comparison to the South. You don't have to expend any effort to get to the most beautiful places. Merely travelling down the main highway you see snow-capped mountains rising almost directly from the sea, and deserted black-sand beaches.
|East coast beach, near Kaikoura|
|Seafloor uplifts, Kaikoura peninsula|
|Kaikoura peninsula - can easily see the two major seafloor levels here|
"Do you have wifi?"
"Not heard of that, ay. We've only got what you see on tap".