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From Wellington to Kaikoura

london
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From Wellington to Kaikoura

Just wanted to check:

is the ferry/road trip from Wellington (and back) worth doing? Is it a fairly scenic road or one of the more dull ones in NZ? I have limited time in NZ and may have to skip that Kaikoura. thanks

Auckland
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11. Re: From Wellington to Kaikoura

There is good whale watching in Auckland, however the success rate isn't as good as Kaikoura. In Auckland they see whales on 75% of trips and dolphins on 90% of trips. It might be better to give this a try rather than trying to cram Kaikoura into an already busy itinerary.

london
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12. Re: From Wellington to Kaikoura

Feel tempted to try and go to Kaikoura and as I have 2.5 days for this, maybe I can make it on on e of the trips.

My plan is:

- leave Wellington on 13th May (early morning) ferry or plane, then hire car from Blenheim or take bus to Kaikoura

- 14th May: whale watching/swim with dolphins etc (either morning or afternoon)

- 15th May, morning: give it another try if weather was bad day before, then travel back to Wellington (have to be back in Wellington on 15th evening)

Questions:

How interesting is the ferry ride from Wellington to Picton? (good scenery?) I could speed up the journey by taking plane if not very interesting.

I am undecided whether to do whale watching by helicopter or boat. Which way is more susceptible to weather?

Thanks again for the great help.

Christchurch, New...
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for Zhuhai, Christchurch, South Island
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13. Re: From Wellington to Kaikoura

The ferry is considered by many to be one of the highlights of a NZ trip. The first half hour is in lovely Wellington Harbour, then about an hour in open water and the final hour+ is in the relatively sheltered water of beautiful Queen Charlotte Sound. Why don't you ferry one way & fly the other to save time? Rental cars are easily picked up at Picton Ferry terminal, but the airport in Blenheim may be more limited.

london
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14. Re: From Wellington to Kaikoura

As I will have some time on the way back driving from Kaikoura to Picton to do some more driving: which is the more scenic drive: the coastal drive between Blenheim and Picton (north east of the island) or past Picton, the Queen Charlotte drive?

(Is it ok to rent a car with a UK driver's licence?)

New Zealand
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for South Island
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15. Re: From Wellington to Kaikoura

The QC is very scenic - and very wriggly in places. Stop in Havelock for some great seafood.

A UK license is accepted in NZ.

london
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16. Re: From Wellington to Kaikoura

Just to say thank you to all who helped me. I had a wonderful time in kaikoura; managed to go on a morning whale watching trip yesterday and it was amazing. Saw 3 whales, dolphins, albatrosses etc. when whales dive it's something out of this world...Unfortunately my afternoon whale watching trip by helicopter got cancelled due to fog :( (the weather forecasts are useless: it was forecast to be sunny and was foggy most of day).

The drive between Kaikoura and Picton turned out quite scenic actually with almost no other cars on the road...The Marlborough countryside looked so beautiful at sunset.

Today I drove the Queen Charlotte drive at sunrise and turned off right towards Kenepuru sound. I made it up to Te Mahia bay where I had breakfast (sort of...there wasn't really much food and I was starving. No shops & food in the vicinity!). Just before it, is a beautiful little bay as well, very scenic and peaceful.

In Te Mahia, I joined the Queen Charlotte track and did the bit that goes to the hilltop lookout where you get a 360 degree view of the sounds; that was spectacular. Then I got lost and was wandering about (didn't meet a single person to ask for directions...). As my ferry was departing in 3 hours I was beginning to panic...but found my way back (it's very difficult to get lost as everything is marked clearly but somehow I managed to take the wrong turn.)

I then went towards Havelock. Just before it, Cullen Point offers another nice view.

Then I had to rush back to the ferry back to Wellington.

In a few days I am going to Qeenstown/Milford sound etc. Can't wait!

Thanks again. What an amazing country!

New Zealand
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17. Re: From Wellington to Kaikoura

Glad it all worked out for you :)

- and you didn't need a search and rescue alert!

18. Re: From Wellington to Kaikoura

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