The sacred healing waters of the Hanmer Springs have been funneled into fakey-perfect pools, complete with fiberglass rocks. Hmmm. I am sure the Sacred lies dormant somewhere around here, still — perhaps it is hiding in the pair of giant pines (at least 12 feet around!) which grow just outside the gate of the Springs.
Somewhere north of here, Kaikoura waits – a city by the sea, with a peninsula with seal colonies at the tip. Kaikoura is famous for “whale watching trips” but the boat trips are all full right now, due to the Christmas holidays. That’s okay – I think I will do my whale watching from shore, with the seals, or climb the local mountain (named for Fyffe, a famous local whaler).
It is early morning here in Hanmer and I am looking across the hostel room at a plain timbered table, with an unadorned pine tree behind it (it is growing in a pot, and it does my heart good to think it may be planted in the new year, somewhere in Hanmer). There is a candle on the mantle and one rather modernist-looking sheep, cast in plaster. My Christmas will have no ornaments this year, but that’s okay — the holly plant grows wild here in NZ, and I can make my own little wreath of it, if I choose.
Leaving shortly for Kaikoura with Edith and Annalies, two women about my age who are traveling around NZ as well (they are from near Lucerne, Switzerland). Lovely women – we shared a good chat at breakfast yesterday and I ran into Annalies again at the spring, and last night they offered me a ride to Kaikoura, as they have a car. So I’m off!
Here is the information for my next week, since it is nearing the Christmas holidays:
I am staying 2 nights at Dusky Lodge, a backpackers hostel located in Kaikoura.
Then I will catch a bus to Picton, and a water taxi out into the beautiful Marlborough Sounds, where I have booked 5 nights at the hostel (an old stone cottage we all share together) of a place called the Furneaux Lodge.
I do not expect to have internet access from Furneaux, but who knows. After that, I head to Nelson, I think, and on up towards the Abel Tasman coastline.