New zealand so far has been exceptional and would say its up there as one of the best countries we’ve visited (equal to Japan)…soooo much to see and do it’s insane!
However one activity, which has been on my list for years (which I’ve always wanted to do) is swimming with dolphins! And when I heard that Kaikoura is meant to be the best place in the world to do it, I was over the moon.
Apparently when you go out, you will find up to 1000 wild dolphins all together jumping high out of the water with excitement and laughter in and out of the water playfully! A stunning view!
And to top it all off, you can be there in the center of them and have them swimming all around you, passing you, under you, everywhere!
And guess what, it is pretty much the only place in the world where you can swim with this many dolphins. So it was no surprise that others who had done it said it was their best experience in NZ so far. Even Anj, who had swum with dolphins before (though it was with no where near as many) told me how much she loved her experience.
So you can imagine how pumped I was for this!
Well we arrived in Kaikoura at 12.25pm with only the afternoon available for us to do the swim. But unknown to us, the final swim that day left at 12.30 and so we arrived to find it fully booked! But what was worse, it was completely booked for the next two days!
I was gutted! The one thing (apart from the bungee) that I was truly looking forward to the most.
However Anj insisted we put our name down on the waiting list for the next day, hopeful we would maybe clinch some last minute spaces and sacrifice a day elsewhere.
So we did. Low and behold at 5.30pm, as we sat at the Seal Colony watching the seals wake up from their nap, yawn and then jump into the water, we were told we would be on the next day’s 12.30pm Dolphin swimming tour!
Woooohooo! I was over the moon! How amazing! Especially since the next day predicted sunshine ahead. Even our car battery dying didn’t get me down (well done Anj!)!
However since we wanted to catch up on lost time, we woke up the next day after our freedom camp to the beautiful clear skys and sunshine and rushed to the dolphin centre to see if we could even get on the 8.30am swim! But sadly it was not to be. It was still fully booked!
Well at least, we would be on the 12.30pm, I said to myself excited for the trip ahead!
However from clear skies at midday, the thickest fog you’ve ever seen descended over the ocean within just 30 minutes! You could barely see anything!
I was shocked! And as much as we hoped and prayed, the trip was cancelled.
This time I was seriously gutted, I couldn’t believe it! I felt crushed I couldn’t do it here, especially since this is pretty much the only place in the world you can swim with over a hundred wild dolphins! I couldn’t have an experience like that anywhere else!
But we had to leave. There was no more time!
So we left, grudgingly, towards our next destination. Even so some of this bad luck continued. The drive from Kaikoura to Picton is a beautiful Ocean Drive and apparently one of the best in New Zealand, but due to this fog we just couldn’t see it.
However, we had been given a top secret tip to stop at the Ohau walk which is just a few kilometres past Kaikoura. It only takes 10 mins to do, but with every few steps of this pathway you find yourself stopping to admire the extremely playful seal pups in and out of the water. But whatever you do, you have to keep going!
What you find at the end is just pure awesome! There’s a wonderful waterfall, where at the base you find hundreds of pups playing in a small area, jumping high out of the water, playing, even battling each other on the rocks! In fact we saw one pup knock out another and it fell into the water! Don’t worry it was fine, they were just playing 🙂
It’s nothing like I’ve seen before and you definitely won’t find this in any zoo! These are wild seals, yet they come within touching distance of you! This is natural wildlife at it’s best!
It did make us think about how amazing the dolphin experience would have been, but we were lucky to see this, as many have not even heard of it!
So with a sigh, we headed to Picton on our 2 hour journey and arrived on time to watch a beautiful sunset. (Although, we were probably more engrossed in playing cards!) Very nice!
Well tomorrow we leave for the North Island. However, I can’t lie, It feels like the South Island is incomplete.
And normally I feel I’m quite good with handling disappointment, but missing out on the Dolphins was a big blow! I’m still working on getting over it!
But on a positive, I know we’re going to definitely come back to NZ for a longer trip some time in the near future, so I know I’ll see them soon! And being honest I can’t wait! 🙂
See ya next time guys!