After leaving Queenstown, our next stop along the way was to do some hiking in Mt. Cook, home of New Zealand's tallest peak. We ended up getting delayed on the way by a sheep crossing. I had never encountered one before so it was a new experience for all of us. It was so cool!
Mt. Cook was a bit rainy and overcast when we arrived but thankfully cleared up enough for us to do some hiking. We hiked a trail called Kea Point which led us to views of Mt. Cook and Mueller glacier. Bright blue glacier run-off can be seen in the picture below. It was spectacular.
After Mt. Cook we headed to Christchurch where we had dinner with friends. They opened their home to us and cooked a delicious meal, venison roast and homemade dessert, yum! We spent the next day in Christchurch viewing the earthquake destruction, as well as some of the renovations already taking place, like the container mall. A resourceful, and colorful way to bring some normalcy back to the city.
We then headed farther north up the east coast to Kaikoura, a beach town. We went whale watching and were fortunate enough to see two sperm whales! The boat was much rockier than we thought and thankfully we had prepared before to avoid seasickness.
Not too far out of Kaikoura we were able to stop at Ohau falls. This is a magical place where seal pups come to socialize and play while their moms are out getting food. You get to go right up to the pool and watch the pups play. It was amazing! Next stop, Nelson!