Guest Post: Hiking in New Zealand
Meet a Seal on a Day Hiking Trail
Aside from being able to get up close and personal with a seal on a day hiking trail, Jade Johnston of OurOyster.com also says:
This walk has it all. Views of mountain ranges, picturesque pasture lands, ocean views, a forest hike, and even animal encounters. All these things, combined with the ease of getting to the trail, makes this walk the ultimate short day easy hike in New Zealand.
The sign reads “Please keep at least 10 metres from seals at all times” but sometimes that isn’t always possible. The sign goes on to state, “If a seal comes into the parking lot, keep your distance and don’t get in between it and the sea.”
New Zealand is one of the rare places in the world where you can get up close and personal with wildlife such as the fur seal, only a 10 minute walk from civilization. Most hiking fans will already know that New Zealand is THE destination for hiking adventures for all experience levels. A great example of these are the Great Walks – a collection of nine different 3-5 day long hikes in a variety of stunning landscapes.
You may also have heard of some of New Zealand’s amazing day walks, such as the world famous Tongariro Crossing. However, the Tongariro can be a pretty full-on adventure with steep stairs and windy ridges.
For a slightly more relaxed day walk, consider the Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway.
The Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway is ideal for those wanting a quick nature get-away, but who do not want to invest in a full day’s worth of strenuous activity.
The walkway takes approximately 2 hours to complete, but if you are like James and I, you might want to stretch it a few hours longer, take a picnic and enjoy the views.
The hike both starts and finishes in town, so there is no need to book any special shuttle services or leave your car in any unsecured parking area. The walk is also extremely gentle, which makes it perfect for a lazy day’s stroll, or for an outing with kids in tow.
As you head out of town, you will be greeted by the sight of beautiful mountain ranges and calm waters.
The town of Kaikoura used to be famous for its whaling activities, and is now famous for it’s more eco friendly whale spotting cruises. A legacy from the days of old still stand as you pass along the towns beach, in the form of whale bone fences.
About 10-15 mins. walk from town you will come to a car park with a lot of commotion. This is the Kaikoura seal colony. You can get right close and personal with the seals here, but remember to always keep to a reasonable and safe distance. Seals can be a lot more agile on land than they look!
From the car park, the path climbs up a hill which overlooks the peninsula. The path then turns inland, taking you through cow and sheep pasture until you reach the other side of the peninsula. We reached this section around twilight, and the reflections of the sun upon the water were just breathtaking.
At this point, you descend into one of the outer suburbs of Kaikoura, but to get back to where you started you will need to cut through a small wooded area. Don’t worry though, this is all well sign posted. Once back in town, you only need to walk a few blocks to get to a cozy restaurant or back to your hotel.