Kaikoura, New Zealand

Andrew J. Wharton points out seal at Kaikoura, New Zealand

Andrew points out our first seal spotting

After checking into the Dolphin Lodge Backpackers Hostel in Kaikoura, we headed to the point to see if we could spot any seals.  We did.  Dozens of them.  From one spot in our two hour walk, we counted 52 seals, mostly all sunbathing on the rocks.  But that was not to be the most we would see in any one spot.  (More photos below)

Andrew J. Wharton at Maori Leap Cave, Kaikoura, New Zealand

Andrew and tour guide inside Maori Leap Cave

After our hike, we drove south a couple of kilometres to the Maori Leap Cave and took the tour there.  It was interesting, especially since it was only Andrew and me with the tour guide.  The one downside is that the tourguide kept asking us to use our imagination to “see” in the designs of the flint in the rocks or of the various stalagtites and stalagmites different things and people that previous tourists had spotted or imagined.  The information about the formation and history of the cave was interesting.  (More photos below)

seals at Kaikoura, New Zealand

More than 100 seals in one area

After our one night in Kaikoura, we headed north to Blenheim, but we had a couple of stops along the way.  We stopped at a turnout where there was a short walkway down a few steps to where you could watch seals.  There, I counted one hundred seals before giving up trying to count them all.  I had counted only about two-thirds of the area that we could see from the lookout point.  It was fascinating watching the young ones frolic in the pools formed by the rocks.

Seeing so many, I had to remind myself that the New Zealand Fur Seal was hunted nearly to extinction in the 1800s.  Today, with protection and conservation practices and laws, the fur seal is the most common seal in New Zealand.

Seals at Ohau Creek Waterfall north of Kaikoura, New Zealand

waterfall pool FILLED with baby seals

About a kilometre further north, we stopped to take a short walk up the Ohau Creek to the waterfall.  We had read that there would be some seals playing in the pool below the waterfall, but we certainly were not prepared for the NUMBERS of young seals frolicking.  It was amazing and delightful to watch them.  A couple of the seals were curious, and one even came up to sniff my boot and to rub his cheek against it.  This was the second favorite part of this trip so far, at least to me.  (The best thing was swimming with the Hector’s Dolphins in Akaroa.)


Stalagtites and stalagmites inside Maori Leap Cave

Inside Maori Leap Cave

inside Maori Leap Cave

inside Maori Leap Cave





Kaikoura Peninsula, New Zealand

This little guy was scratching his belly without caring that we were there
Kaikoura Peninsula, New Zealand

Kaikoura Peninsula

Seals at Kaikoura Peninsula, New Zealand
Andrew climbing along beach at Kaikoura Peninsula, New Zealand

Climbing along the beach in search for more seals

Ohau Creek Waterfall, north of Kaikoura Peninsula, New Zealand

Sniffing at my boot

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