Kaikoura, New Zealand

By Olivia Pigeot

One of the best things about the South Island of NZ is that there is so much to see and all within a short distance—PERFECT for travelling with a toddler who’s just started throwing a tantrum or 10…

We head towards Kaikoura, about 2 & 1/2 hrs from Christchurch, loaded up with kiddy supplies—snack bars, rice crackers, biscuits, sultanas, millet rings… disco music. Thankfully he has my taste in tunes.

Kaikoura is one of our absolute favourite places in the world. Snow capped mountains back green rolling hills with black volcanic pebbles to the water. Divine. It was just a little country town when my partner used to come surfing here with his cronies 25 yrs ago (“you can catch perfect right hand point breaks for 400-500 metres at some of the bays between here & Nelson), but now its really popular and quite a big tourist destination. Whale watching is big business, as is swimming with dolphins & seals (if you can stand the cold water and seal stench!). You can do all the usual stuff kayaking, fishing, diving, river rafting, quad biking, skydiving, llama trekking and there are really beautiful bushwalks and bike tracks too! PLUS there’s a bloody great winery 🙂

As soon as we get on the beach the Little Guy makes like a starfish and writhes all over the black pebbles (they’re warm I guess) then tries to eat as many as he can fit in his mouth. Luckily there are also excellent fresh fish places all around and he wolfs down fresh blue eye cod with garlic butter. We find a cute B&B on the waterfront—with a little side room perfect for a portable cot and a little person who refuses to go to sleep. After a bunch of new Hairy MacLary stories he FINALLY crashes and we FINALLY have a few of those nice vinos…