Blenheim (a.m.) / Christchurch (p.m.), New Zealand

  • Date
  • 14 June 2001
  • Lodging
  • George Hotel
  • Distance
  • 322 KM
  • Total
  • 176879 KM

What a drive! Leaving Blenheim, we passed through dry, near drought-stricken land full of vineyards; a local told me the Marlborough region has more than 3000 cellars. But, as soon as we reached the coastal town of Ward, we again found green, pastoral meadows and valleys spotted with sheep and an ocean road that is world class in terms of infrastructure, curves, setting, scenery and views.

Australia prizes its Great Ocean Road, but Jim and I both agree that State Road 1 from Ward to Christchurch (the New Zealanders don’t even have a fancy name for the road) is as good, if not better, than the highly acclaimed Oz drive. The highlight of our State Road 1 experience came when Jim spotted five seals resting on rocks, so we stopped to admire. And then a few kilometers later, we discovered the Ohau Seal Colony with dozens of fat, triangular-shaped, slippery, clumsy creatures relaxing and falling off the wet rocks. Seals are just wonderful to watch. Then we drove on to Christchurch finding a picture-perfect, traditional-looking English city on the South Island coast of New Zealand.