Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Great Trips – New Zealand V

Our adventure continued and grew even more memorable as we drove south along Route 6 on the west coast of the South Island of New Zealand.  The variety of geography and scenery that is packed into this island that’s just about the size of Illinois is a bit mind-boggling!

This part of the South Island is very rugged with lots of fast flowing streams and rivers…almost always crossed by single lane bridges…one way at a time.  Fortunately, with only a million residents who mostly live on the east side of the island, and despite tourists, traffic is rarely an issue.
Other than the Maori, the first residents along the west coast of the South Island were miners.  Even today New Zealand has abundant coal, silver, iron ore, limestone and gold reserves.  About 7,000 New Zealanders are directly involved in mining…

We passed a couple of deserted mines as we drove south along Route 6.  There are still ghost towns and ruins to explore and relics to be found.  As you can see in the preceding photo, the countryside is quite rugged…and it wasn’t long before it became even more so! 
We came up over a low mountain pass and…Wow!  This is Lake Wanaka, one of the several lakes that constitute the Southern Lakes District.  This district has New Zealand’s only true Continental climate, so extremes of temperature and landscape are common here.  Summers can be sizzling hot and dry; autumn is a blaze of colors and the winters are cold and clear. 

This is one of the places where we’ve experienced skies so clear that the night sky seemed ablaze with stars!  The sky is all the more interesting because the visible stars in the southern hemisphere are very different than in the northern hemisphere.
This is another view of Lake Wanaka… In Maori, Wanaka means ‘renewal of the soul’, which seems fitting indeed!  The lake covers an area of approximately 74 square miles.  It’s about 26 miles long and 6+ miles wide at its widest point.  In addition, Lake Wanaka is 980 feet deep!   
Lake Wanaka lies in a dramatic glacier shaped basin with the peaks to the west rising to over 6,500 feet above sea level.  Most of the lake’s shoreline is unmodified and it is protected against development.  The mountain range, which has various branches or sub-ranges, is referred to as the Southern Alps.
I borrowed this satellite view of the South Island from the Internet.  I think that it clearly shows the great expanse of the Southern Alps.  They stretch for about 300 miles from the south to the north.  Being in the southern hemisphere, the warmest part of the South Island is in the north.  The highest peak in the Southern Alps is Mount Cook at 12,316 feet, but there are 16 other peaks that are 9,800 feet or higher.  The Southern Alps also have thousands of glaciers with the Tasman Glacier at 18 miles being the longest.

FYI…Christchurch is in the notch at the top of the large peninsula about 2/3 of the way up the right hand or east side of the island.  The Lakes Region can clearly be seen at about the center of the island… The Pacific Ocean is on the right and the Tasman Sea is on the left.
The flora and fauna of the South Island is like nowhere else.  There are ferns everywhere.  About 75% of the native flora is unique and it includes some of the world’s oldest plant forms.  Laurie and I were a little uneasy at the lack of mammals and wildlife in general. 

The only mammals indigenous to the Island are bats and seals.  Flightless birds are becoming less common due to predation and damage caused by introduced species.  Rabbits, red deer, wild pigs, chamois and Himalayan tahr were all introduced for hunting purposes…and they’ve all evolved into invasive species!  Another introduced problem species…for their fur… is the rather cute Australian possum.  There are an estimated 30,000,000 of them in New Zealand… For a video showing one of these possums eating fruit, just go to
This is the town of Wanaka on the shores of Lake Wanaka.  When we visited in 2000 and had a nice relaxing lunch, Wanaka had a population of roughly 4,000.  In 2006, the census revealed that the town had grown to about 7,000 residents.  It has become a very popular resort town.  Wanaka is located at the head of the Clutha River where it flows out of the lake. 

Tourism had an early start here with the first hotel opening in 1867.  Many tourists like it better than Queenstown because it’s less commercialized.  For dog lovers…this was the site of the world’s first sheepdog trials…also in 1867.  Trekking or walking the many trails in the area is a major tourist draw. 
There is also an annual air show, “Warbirds over Wanaka”, that attracts from 70,000 to over 100,000 visitors during Easter on even number years. ( Another attraction is the Toy and Transportation Museum.  Despite the fact that this museum actually opened a few years before our trip, I somehow missed it on our itinerary.  It really sounds like a great and varied collection!  For more information, go to 
This is downtown Queenstown New Zealand, at least this was the way it was back in 2000.  Queenstown has something for everyone…shopping, outdoor adventures and site seeing galore, lazy relaxed cruising on Lake Wakatipu, fine dining, cable car rides, etc., etc.  From what I’ve been able to determine, it appears that the population of Queenstown and vicinity has grown by over 25 % in the past 12 years.  Still, at 16,600 residents, it’s still a relatively small but bustling…or as they say…‘happening’ town.  
Laurie took this photo from the front of our hotel on the hills above Queenstown.  The town is built on a bay of the same name on the shore of Lake Wakatipu.  Queenstown’s first growth spurt was attributable to the nearby discovery of gold in the 1860’s.  Many of the town’s streets bear names that reflect that era.  Queenstown is surrounded by various ranges that are part of the Southern Alps.
One more photo from our hotel… The scenery is spectacular!  Queenstown and the adjoining Remarkable Mountains, (yes, that is their name!), is a center for adventure tourism.  Skiing and snowboarding, jet boating, whitewater rafting, bungy jumping, mountain biking, skateboarding, trekking or tramping, parapenting, sky diving and fly fishing are all popular activities.

We did indulge in a couple of local activities…one of them even is a version of adventure tourism but I’ll save that for Chapter VI of our New Zealand trip.
Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…
Thanks for stopping by and sharing another segment of our trip with us!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Monday, February 25, 2013

An Up and Coming Mexican Restaurant Chain!

Today was the one month anniversary for my hip surgery…and most importantly, an appointment with the surgeon’s office to release me from all of the basic restrictions and medicationsHooray!!  

So, after visiting the doctor’s office, a  celebration was in order and we decided to go out for a mid-afternoon or early dinner… Our choice of restaurants was a new casual dining venue that recently opened in Knoxville!
This is Knoxville’s version of Chuy’s, a Tex-Mex Restaurant chain that was founded in Austin Texas back in 1982.  There are now40 colorful Chuy’s locations in 8 eight states stretching from Texas to Florida.   Four more will be open by this summer.
The bright colors and flashy décor continues once you enter the dining rooms… These metal palm trees are a signature design item. 

I don’t quite understand the connection, but all Chuy’s restaurants have an Elvis Shrine located at the front of the restaurant and their are "Elvis" entrees on the menu.  On Elvis' birthday each January 8th, most locations throw a big party and an Elvis impersonator entertains the patrons.  Perhaps more appropriately, Chuy’s also stages a Green Chile Fest each year in honor of Hatch New Mexico’s green chile harvest. (But I too am an Elvis fan...)
This is another view of our dining room… It was bright, clean and colorful with lots of photos and art on the walls. 

Chuy’s commitment is to provide unique, authentic Mexican food to its customers using only the freshest of ingredients.  All dishes are made from scratch each day…including their special drinks such as Chuy’s margaritas and the Texas Martini’s.
As with most Tex-Mex or Mexican restaurants, we were started out with a basket of fresh tostada chips and a dish of spicy salsa.  The chips were thinner than is normal for this type of restaurant, they were quite salty but they weren't oily.  They were actually very nice, with their light texture actually adding to their overall flavor and enjoyment...
One of our favorite appetizers in a Tex-Mex restaurant is the Chile Con Queso with sausage.  Chuy’s version is called Queso Compuesto. ($6.99) It uses ground sirloin instead of sausage and it is usually topped with guacamole… Without the usual pork sausage, the grease was minimized and that was a good thing!  Since I’m not into guacamole, we had them bring it on the side for Laurie’s use.  We really liked this appetizer!
There are only 9 appetizers on Chuy’s menu.  They range in price from $5.89 for guacamole on up to $9.59 for the appetizer plate.  Once we viewed the size of our meals, we realized that in truth, no appetizers were needed with an entrée at this restaurant!
Laurie ordered a Chuychanga. ($9.29) This fried flour tortilla was filled with oven-roasted chicken, cilantro and green chiles, and then it was garnished with sour cream plus her choice of sauce.  The waiter suggested the Tomatillo sauce, a nice mild accompaniment, but she also asked for some Hatch Green Chile sauce just in case the first choice was too mild.  Laurie really liked her Chuychanga, noting that it was loaded with chunks of fresh pulled chicken! 

Note: Laurie’s tortilla was almost as big as her head!  The food here at Chuy’s is huge…
…and you thought that her tortilla was big!  This was my “Big as Yo’ Face” Chuy’s Seasoned Ground Sirloin Burrito with the Tex-Mex Red Sauce. ($8.59) This thing was easily as big as my entire sizable noggin!  It was loaded with meat and I even noticed a few beans… This was an excellent burrito…except that I should have asked for some hot sauce on the side.  The Tex-Mex Red Sauce was nice but it lacked the heat that I like…

Three other Big as Yo’ Face burritos are also on the menu.  These range from Beans and Cheese ($7.99) to Fajita Chicken or Beef ($9.89)
This was another dining room…unused during the slow part of the afternoon.  Note the hubcaps on the ceiling.  They are another signature design feature used in all Chuy’s restaurants.

FYI… Chuy’s offers 7 different sauces to complement their food.  There are the mild Ranchero, Tomatillo and Delux Tomatillo sauces, the mid-range Tex-Mex and Creamy Jalapeno varieties and then there are the allegedly hot or spicy Hatch Green Chile and Green Chile sauces.
Laurie shot this photo of the bar area at Chuy’s as we left the restaurant.  It is even more colorful than the dining areas! 

The primary items on Chuy’s menu include 4 types of Tacos, ($7.99 - $9.89).  The House Specialties…included Laurie’s Chuychanga…but also lists 4 different Chile Rellenos ($9.29 - $9.99); a Steak Burrito ($9.99); Chicken Flautas ($8.29), and; Elvis Green Chile Fried Chicken. ($9.79) There are also 7 different Enchilada entrees, with nothing priced above $9.99, plus a number of Combination offerings.  Even the Elvis Presley Memorial Combo with Cheese Tex-Mex enchiladas, chicken flautas, a ground sirloin taco plus tostada chips dipped in chile con queso…costs only $10.69.
I didn’t expect much when I went to Chuy’s but the food was very good and the prices very reasonable.  In addition, it’s like a party setting inside and out!  Chuy’s in Knoxville Tennessee is open daily and its located at 9235 Kingston Pike.  Phone: 865-670-4141.  Chuy’s website is found at
Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…
Thanks for stopping by and sharing our Tex-Mex dinner with us!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Friday, February 22, 2013

Great Trips – New Zealand IV

Continuing with our New Zealand adventure… After leaving Kaikoura on the east coast of the South Island, we decided to drive over to the ‘wild and wet’ west coast of the island.  As with the northwestern USA, clouds and plentiful moisture create a totally different environment as compared to the eastern part of the island…

Of course…we had to take yet another photo of this most plentiful of South Island residents!  We also saw deer ‘farms’ and beef cattle along the Highway 7 as we moved west.
One thing that you notice after leaving the eastern part of the island is the lack of people.  There is plenty of open land with few homes or structures.  Traffic is minimal to say the least. 
Of course, in New Zealand you are driving on the left.  I did most of the driving but neither one of us had much trouble getting used to the change.  We had experienced this ‘wrong way’ driving on earlier trips to England/Scotland and Australia and after a bit, it seems almost normal…
Sunshine in Hammer Springs New Zealand!  This town of roughly 729 residents is at an elevation of about 1,670 feet and about 40 miles from Kaikoura.  A popular hot spring was discovered here in the late 1800’s and the town was named after an owner of a nearby ‘station’ or farm.

The area is popular to mountain biking, bush walking/trekking and bungee jumping. (I would not let Laurie bungee jump despite her desire to try it!)  There are also a couple of nearby ski areas for winter recreation.  A current project calls for an expanded pool, waterslide, aqua play area, ice skating rink, etc.
The next town that we came to was Reefton.  It’s located on Highway 7 near the west coast of the South Island.  Believe it or not, in 1888 Reefton was the first town in New Zealand…and in the entire Southern Hemisphere…to receive electricity for general use. 

Rich veins of gold were discovered in a quartz reef between 1866 and 1870.  The population grew to several thousand at the time, although now it’s at roughly 950.  The town is expected to grow again due to the fact that an Australian gold mining company has begun operations nearby.  There is also coal mining in the vicinity. 
Ahhh, the roads in New Zealand… By far, most of them are 2-lane.  However, there are many one lane bridges in the mix, just to keep the drivers alert!  We did encounter 1 stretch of 4-lane highway between Dunedin and Christchurch.  One doesn’t drive fast anywhere on the west side of the South Island.  It’s just too rugged…and you’ll want to check out the scenery in any case!

Note: Only 2% of New Zealand’s roads are divided dual lane with a center separation…
Here’s what I call a multi-use bridge!  Note that its only a single lane…you must take turns going north and south… Also note the railroad tracks down the center of the bridge!  FYI…this was like a ‘traffic jam’!  There were 4 vehicles ahead of us…
This is a view of the rugged central west coast of the South Island.  It’s a bit reminiscent of the northern California coastline…only greener with more rainfall year around.  The body of water in this photo is the Tasman Sea.  If you were to fly about 900 miles west, you would arrive in Australia.
These are the famed pancake rock off of Highway 6, (the West Coast Highway), near Punakaiki and the Paparoa National Park.  These stacks are primarily limestone sculpted by the wind and sea.  There are also a number of blowholes through which the waves send spouts of water high into the air.  For some great photos of these formations and other sights in this area, just go to  It should be noted that walking access to the pancake rocks and blowholes is paved and very safe.
Yes, you are right!  This is a glacier… I told you that the South Island has about everything, (as regards scenery), that the USA does in an area that’s just a little larger than Illinois.  This is the Fox Glacier.  You can see it right from Highway 6.  This glacier is a little more than 8 miles long and it lies in the Westland Tai Poutini National Park.  This is one of the few glaciers in the world that ends in a rainforest and it’s only 980 feet above sea level!
Here’s Laurie posing in front of the Fox Glacier.  It was a bit chilly with the low lying clouds and the nearby glacier.  This glacier ebbs and flows and as you can see from the glacial moraine, (rocks and mud), to the right side of the photo, in previous times it has stretched further on down the valley.   As recently as 2009, the Fox Glacier was once again advancing down the valley.
This was another scenic view up the valley near the Fox Glacier.  I can’t begin to imagine just how many photos we would have taken if we’d had a digital camera back in 2000!

In addition to the Fox Glacier, a second glacier, the Franz Joseph glacier is also nearby.  The whole area is part of the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage Site.  The Franz Joseph Glacier is retreating at the current time.  The glaciers are fenced off at their base to keep tourist away from the dangerous leading edge of the ice.  Back in 2009, two Australian tourists who ventured beyond the safety fence were buried in tons of ice when a large section of the leading edge collapsed on them…
This is the Fox Glacier Lodge.  It was our overnight home as we explored the area.  It’s the number 1 rated specialty lodging in the area as per Trip Advisor…with a total of 93 reviews.  I checked and if a room was available, the cost would be $140 NZ…or $117 US.  To learn more about the lodge you can go to   For more on the Fox and Franz Joseph Glaciers…as well as other glaciers in New Zealand, just go to

Just click on any of our vacation photos to enlarge them…
Thanks for stopping by for the latest ‘photo travelogue’ installment from our New Zealand adventure!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Hot Pastrami – Knoxville TN!

Today was the day!  We’re both a bit burned out being stuck at home with my ongoing recuperation from hip surgery.  We had a medical appointment in Knoxville, so we decided that I’d put on a pair of real shorts with a belt and a golf shirt and after the appointment, we’d go somewhere for a casual lunch.  We’d had takeout, but this was our first meal in a restaurant in about 4 weeks!  Talk about stir crazy!!

So…I reclined the passenger seat all the way back, swiveled into the seat, clutched my cane, strapped myself in and we were off. 
It had to be pretty casual and we wanted something other than wings or pizza or a burger.  Our choice was Jason’s Deli in Knoxville.  We’d eaten here a few times before and we’d enjoyed the food.  I checked my blogs and for some reason, I don’t seem to have written anything about this deli…
At Jason’s Deli, you check out the menu while standing in line and then you order at the counter.  The cashier gives you a number and when the food is ready, a server brings your meal to your table.  We arrived at about 11:15 AM and we had 3 customers ahead of us.  By 11:30 AM the line was growing fast…
One of the more popular offerings at Jason’s is the Garden Fresh Salad Bar. ($7.59) This includes fresh organic produce, dozens of toppings, cheeses, fresh made sides and mini-muffins.  For $1.79 additional, one can add a side of chicken salad with almonds and pineapple, tuna salad, ham, turkey, smoked turkey or grilled chicken breast.  Another advantage to the salad bar is that the customer doesn’t have to wait in the deli line, as there is a station by the salad bar where your purchase can be rung up.
Laurie took this photo right after we’d ordered our lunch and picked out our table.  Jason’s Deli dining area is spacious and very clean…

The menu includes 6 different soups plus 2 types of chili, a spicy seafood gumbo and a bowl of chicken pot pie soup or stew… Prices range from $2.99 to $3.99 a cup to $3.99 or $4.99 a bowl.  In addition to the Salad Bar, Jason’s offers 5 dinner salads and a fresh fruit plate. ($5.69 to $7.99) 
I don’t know if we were supposed to try these little mini-muffins from one end of the salad bar or not…but the sign indicated that they were free for the taking.  The light colored ones were nice little corn muffins and the dark ones were like a pumpkin spice…and we liked them best.

While sandwiches, wraps, Panini’s and muffalettas are the primary menu items at Jason’s, 3 different baked potato options are available, ($5.59 - $6.89), as well as 4 pasta choices.  A full portion of Penne Pasta and Meatballs with Warm Herb Focaccia Bread is $7.29.  For those seeking something a bit healthier, they could order the Zucchini Garden Pasta, bowtie pasta topped with grilled zucchini, roasted tomatoes, organic spinach and asiago cheese…also $7.29.
Now let’s get down to what’s really important!  Laurie and I both ordered the Jason’s Deli Hot Pastrami Sandwich. ($6.79) Our rye bread was topped with 8 oz. of hot pastrami with spicy mustard.  To us, a hot pastrami sandwich is true comfort food and we believe that this is the best Hot Pastrami Sandwich in the Knoxville metropolitan area… If anyone can direct us to a better hot pastrami in the vicinity, please do!!

Note: There are at least 29 different sandwiches on the menu at Jason’s Deli…and this doesn’t include the fact that you can build your own.  There are also 11 different bread choices for your sandwich!  The most expensive sandwiches on the menu are the New York Yankee, ($8.59 w/12 oz. of hot corned beef and pastrami plus Swiss cheese), and the 9” Whole-Muffaletta…2 varieties…for $11.99.
I had to include just another photo of my Hot Pastrami Sandwich!  While this sandwich isn’t in the same league with those served by Manny’s in Chicago or either the Carnegie or Stage Deli’s in New York City, it’s a very good sandwich that really hit the spot…on our first restaurant dining experience in a month.

Jason’s Deli was founded in 1976 in Beaumont TX.  There are now more than 225 locations in 28 states.  The parent company owns most of the restaurants but they do have 21 different franchisees as well.  The company had sales in excess of $500,000,000 in 2011.  Jason’s was the first major restaurant concept to ban artificial trans fats and to eliminate high fructose corn syrup.  They’ve also eliminated MSG from their menu. 
I was surprised to learn that there are 8 Jason’s Deli’s in our former hometown of Chicago.  But if you look at the variety on the menu, the quality of the ingredients and the price/value offered, I can see why this chain is doing so well!  There are 2 Jason’s locations in Knoxville but this Jason’s Deli is located at 133 N. Peters Road.  Phone: 865-357-3354.  For more information, just go to
Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…
Thanks for stopping by and sharing our ‘breakout’ dining experience!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Monday, February 18, 2013

Great Trips – New Zealand III

Continuing on our vacation in New Zealand, we headed north on Highway 1 near the east coast of the South Island.

One of the things that we like about the South Island of New Zealand is the fact that it’s just slightly smaller than the state of Georgia and just a little bigger than the state of Illinois…but…there are only 1,038,600 people on the South Island vs. 9,687,653 in Georgia and 12,870,632 in Illinois. (That’s only 10.7 % of the population of Georgia and 8.1% of the head count in Illinois!)
Laure took this bucolic photo as we moved along Highway 1 toward Kaikoura.  Although sheep populations are down significantly from the early 1980’s, there are still an estimated 15,860,000 sheep being raised/farmed on the South Island… That’s more than 15 sheep for every person living on the island.

FYI…New Zealand also farm raise deer…1.1 million of them, and the country is one of the world’s 5 largest exporters of dairy products with about 2.1 million dairy cattle.
Unfortunately, the weather was against us on this day.  It clouded up and visibility was greatly reduced.  We encountered low lying clouds shortly after Laurie took the photo of the sheep peacefully grazing in their field…
We arrived in the town of Kaikoura to gloomy skies.  Our outlook improved as we walked along the Pacific Ocean shoreline.  It was littered with Southern Fur Seals!!  These fur seals are more closely related to Sea Lions than true seals.  Their dense undercoats made them a long-time object of commercial hunting but they were able to survive by using remote islands to pull out of the water and breed.
These Fur Seals were pretty laid back and we could get close enough to take decent photos.  However, they are pretty quick and many New Zealanders and tourists are bitten by them each year.  As you can probably tell by the posturing, someone was getting a bit too close and the Seals were giving a bit of a warning. 

A female Southern or New Zealand Fur Seal can measure 5’ long and weigh about 110 pounds.  The males can grow to 6.5’ long and they can weigh up to 277 pounds.
This was our view of the Pacific Ocean for the day… While the view was limited, it was still beautiful and impressive too!   From Kaikoura, it is almost 6,000 miles across the open ocean to South America!
This is the multi-use Railroad Depot, also housing the Dolphin Watch (Swim) and Whale Watching Offices. 

Our goal and desire was to go out whale watching…especially because this is one of the few places on earth where one can view Sperm Whales!  Sperm whales can be up to 67’ long and they can weigh around 45 tons.  They can dive to a depth of 9800’ for food.  They feed here just offshore in the 6500’ deep Kaikoura Canyon.  Too bad…soo sad!  With the poor visibility the tour operator wouldn’t have been able to spot the whales, so they just cancelled cruises for the day.  Check out what might have been for us at  The Kati Kuri, a Maori sub-tribe of the Ngai Tahu from the South Island owns and operates this extremely popular tourist attraction.
FYI…Yes, both the South and North Islands of New Zealand offer passenger train services.  There are 2 scenic trains operating on the South Island, one from Christchurch west through the Southern Alps and the other from Christchurch through Kaikoura and on up to the ferries that cross Cook Strait from Picton on the South Island to Wellington on the North Island.   For more information, go to
Whale watching was out but the good news is that we were able to book a trip with the near shore Dolphin Encounter cruise!  The choice was swimming with the Dolphins or just going along for the ride and watching … The water was really cold and we didn’t want to go through the whole wet suit bit, so we opted to ride and watch. 
We saw lots of Dusky Dolphins…and we saw those Dolphins frolicking (or seeming to frolic) with the many passengers on the boat who’d opted to swim with the Dolphins.  We’d ride along for a bit, find a group of Dolphins and then try to drop the swimmers in the water in the middle of the action.  Most of the time, the Dolphins were at least curious about the swimmers so there were some interesting close encounters…
As I said, it was a gray day!  Here’s Laurie in a prime Dolphin viewing position on our boat.  Can you believe that I actually took a photo?

FYI…Dusky Dolphins live all year along the coastline near Kaikoura.  Although this species of Dolphins are smaller than most, the males can still reach 6.5’ in length and they can weigh close to 190 pounds.  For more information on Dusky Dolphins, go to
FYI…Seven other species of whales pass by Kaikoura at various times each year as they migrate north and south.  There is a lot to see!
At one point we came along side this small commercial fishing boat.  Seabirds were everywhere looking for any scraps for their lunch.  We were told that the large fish in the photo is a Ling Cod.  From what I’ve learned, there aren’t any Ling Cod in the South Pacific…only much smaller Blue Cod. (7 lbs. and 24”) I guess that the heritage of the fish will just have to go unheralded… 
This was our boat for the Dolphin Watch or Encounter.  Her name is “Lissodelphis’…which is the genus for the Right Whale.   We embarked and disembarked on land.  I’m not sure that this is the case today as new harbor facilities have been completed at Kaikoura.  For more information on the Dolphin experience, just go to
This was our hotel in Kaikoura… The Anchor Inn faces the road…and just across the road is the Pacific Ocean.  With 136 reviews on Trip Advisor, it is still ranked #2 in Kaikoura.  With February being the height of summer in the Southern Hemisphere, the current rate at the Anchor Inn for a standard room is $185.00 per night. ($155.40 US) Check it out at
So…with the poor visibility did we miss any scenic vistas?!  Judge for yourself… We had no clue just how beautiful this area was.  We still had a great time but it would have been nice to have a clearer view of our spectacular surroundings! 

Kaikoura has a permanent population of roughly 2,200.  It lies on the coast about 2.5 hours north of Christchurch.  The mountains in the photo are the Seaward Kaikoura Range, a branch of the Southern Alps.  The town was originally developed due to the proximity to the whales…for whale hunting.  It continues to prosper primarily due to modern day whale hunting…with cameras!  For more on Kaikoura, just click on
Just click on any photo to enlarge it…
Thanks for stopping by and sharing this photo travelogue with us!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave