Oaro > Kaikoura/Hapuku > Kekerengu

4 Dec

Day 20 – 49.9 km/31 miles later…

Oaro: I left the excellent hospitality of Ange and Monty in Cheviot to traverse the Hundalee Hills of North Canterbury and make my way to the ocean and the township of Oaro. The hills were great, but I was plagued with a bit of a strained Achilles tendon so I took it slow and tried to compensate anywhere I could, to take the pressure off the Achilles long enough to get it back to peak performance status. This was the 3rd day of the 102 Trio and the excess milage definitely took its toll. I was ecstatic to get to Oaro, not only to get off my feet, but to get back to the ocean and see some breathtaking coast line. I managed to get a motel room overlooking the water and also got a glimpse of some dolphins off in the distance. Luckily, Oaro was relatively close to the next stop and a well needed rest day…

Day 21 – 34.1 km/21.2 miles…

Kaikoura/Hapuku…All beach cruising all day! Day 21 was siiiiick. Ran by tons of seals and beautiful rock beaches along the way to Kaikoura and Hapuku. I stopped in Kaikoura for lunch, then took a taxi up to Hapuku(13 km north of Kaikoura) and ran from there back down to Kaikoura to cover that land. I had plans to stay in Kaikoura but wanted to start in Hapuku for the next leg, to make it a tolerable 47 km so I didn’t have to push my Achilles more than necessary.

I stayed for 2 evenings and a rest day with the friendly and bubbly Brianna Bowman, a fellow Oxy grad who has been working in NZ on and off since her graduation in 2010. She was set up in a nice comfortable home with a cool housemate from Argentina, Andie, who has also been in NZ working for a bit now.  A huge thanks to Brianna and Andie for letting me crash and for being great hosts.

Kaikoura is certainly one of the coolest spots I have been through thus far. The coastal setting gives the area an immediate beach feel (reminiscent of beach towns in California) with easy going cafes and a comfortable aura. You add this to the mountain range backdrop and Kaikoura becomes a gorgeous sight to behold.

Day 22 – Rest

I spent the day kicking it beach side, reading and stopping into visit Brianna at her work, Dolphin Encounter, where she works in the cafe but was just promoted to leading Dolphin Encounter escapades out on a boat off the coast of Kaikoura.  A very exciting event for her, especially with NZ summer just beginning.  Other than that, I stayed off my feet and enjoyed the wonderful beach weather.

Day 23 – 45.8 km/28.5 miles later…

Kekerengu… Brianna was nice enough to give me a ride up to Hapuku to start my journey north, along the beach once again. Sadly this was the last day of coastal running I would get until a few days into the North Island.  But luckily, the weather was perfect. Brianna suggested stopping at a waterfall/stream known as Oahu Stream that runs into the ocean. It was just a 5 minute run from the highway so I said, “Why not?” and headed in. It was nice to get off the road for a bit and the thick brush provided nice cool shade for the endeavor. I arrived to the waterfall to find about 15 seal cubs playing and bathing in the waterfall’s pool. It was an awesome sight and the seals were as ridiculously cute, rough and tumbling their way into my heart.  Most of them just kicked it but a frisky one scampered over to where everyone was taking pictures and nipped at a gutsy cameraman who got in his face. The cameraman was lucky that the seal snapped at his camera and not as his face. I am sure that would have been uncomfortable, but I would have no pity on the guy. He knew the risk. They’re wild animals and there was a warning sign! 🙂

 Anyways, I eventually made my way to Kekerengu, another beach town along the way and was very lucky to get a hold of Grant and Anne at the Coastal Lodge (http://www.coastallodge.co.nz/), who sponsored my accommodation for the night. It was the only accommodation between Kaikoura and Ward (my next stop) which was about an 80 km stretch, so it saved me from pushing my ankle and running farther than needed.

Grant and Anne are a fantastic couple who have owned the Coastal Lodge for about 9 years and enjoy their time running the bed and breakfast. I had a pleasant chat with them, hearing about their family, their future plans, and their experiences as the hosts to hundreds of travellers. They were very generous and were happy to give me a comfortable bed and a great breakfast in the morning. Grant and Anne, your hospitality was excellent and I wish you both the best of luck! 

That’s up to Kekerengu…stay tuned for more catch-up writing soon. Thanks for reading…

Big Cat

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