What a treat! Travel in the shaky isles.

We’ve just returned from 2 weeks camper-vanning in the Nelson/Marlborough regions of New Zealand and there were many treats along the way. One was how quiet the roads and campgrounds were even in the first week which coincided with the school holidays. I guess that’s a symptom of closed borders. Almost all of the other travelers we met were also kiwis, mostly like us from the North Island.

Stony Hapuku Beach below the Seaward Kaikoura Range.

In the first weekend of October, we flew to Christchurch where we hired a camper and headed north 181 km to Kaikoura on the east coast. In November 2016, the Kaikoura area was devastated by a 7.8 earthquake lasting 2minutes that raised the coastline between 1.5 and 6.5 meters forming a new rocky shelf that stretches in parts 200 to 300 meters off shore.

The Seaward Kaikoura Range flows down to the Pacific Ocean.

The quake generated over 10,000 landslides and work is still being done to repair the roads and railway.

One of 10 stops on the coast road for roadworks.

Prior to the earthquake, at Ohau Point 26 km north of Kaikoura, a short easy track ducked under the railway line and led to a waterfall on the Ohau Stream, the main seal breeding site in the area.

Safe and sound kekeno pups with rock pools to play in.

You could watch New Zealand fur seal/kekeno pups frolic in the sheltered water below a waterfall but the area was badly damaged and remains closed. As a result of the coastal upthrust, seals now play and rest right next to the road, a big positive to come out the major disaster.

Better viewing & safer seals.

The road rebuild has seen a high wall built to keep the seals away from the road and created a large parking and viewing area, safer for the watchers and the watched. The first day of our holiday was a massive treat. You can’t contain a goofy grin when you’re watching seal pups play.

Kekeno poser.

Every year over 15,000 earthquakes are recorded in New Zealand with 100 to 150 large enough to be felt. On Sunday, 7 earthquakes ranging in size from 2.2 to 4.6 were felt throughout the country, a normal day in the shaky isles. GNS Science says on their website, ‘We’re located on the boundary of 2 of the world’s major tectonic plates, the Pacific Plate and the Australian Plate. These plates are colliding with huge force, causing one to slowly grind over, under or alongside the other. As the brittle crust gives way under the pressure, a fault ruptures and an earthquake is unleashed.As violent and horrific as they can be, earthquakes have helped create New Zealand’s varied landscape through complex processes of mountain building and erosion.’

For the LAPC#120, Tina from Travels and Trifles shared some excellent tips and hints she got from renowned wildlife photographer Kathleen Reeder and challenged us to come up with our own treat for Halloween week. Be sure to visit her post, her images are stunning and the tips are very useful.


  1. Wow Wendy, first, lucky you for getting out and about! Second, good for you for not losing your cool over the road repair delays, and most important, third, that’s amazing about the number of earthquakes in NZ! I remember the devastation of ChristChurch some years back (we’d recently been there and my niece actually was there during that one). Yours is such a beautiful country, I guess you just have to take the good with the bad.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was a REAL treat to get away for a bit, Tina. Funny how the walls have been closing in this year. 🙂
      The road works were a good opportunity to enjoy the scenery and they were very efficiently run and quite fascinating to see the scale of the damage still. The traffic controllers, mostly young smiled and waved, making the best of a tough job.
      Your poor niece, a big earthquake changes you for ever. You’re never able to be so cool about them again, even the little ones. There’s always that possibility, no matter how remote that a bigger one might be coming. We had our last big one in 1987 and still hold our breath when we feel one. It passes though and we forget again. Christchurch is still rebuilding, very slowly. Still empty and sad for those of us who remember it how it was. I’ll do an update over the next few weeks. .


  2. I’m really pleased you and Ross had a wonderful time down South. A beautiful part of Aotearoa 😎 My brother and family live in Takaka, can’t see him ever leaving there. Great photos xx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lovely getting out and about a bit! I can see you had a good time in your beautiful country. We came to Christchurch late 2011 and saw the devastated byildings and streets. I have only experienced an earthquake once in Sweden, and that was a 4 I think. A terrible and frightening sound there was.
    Thank you for sending us some of your treats!

    Liked by 1 person

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