Paua in Kaikoura
Although the trip around the North Island was only me, Dani, and Rob, my sister’s flatmate Pete decided to accompany us to the South Island. While we were grabbing some necessities from the house for the second round of our trip, Pete threw his things in the trunk (“boot” for Kiwis :)). He ran off to pay a holiday visit to some relatives, so we didn’t see what he had packed until we got down to the car. We were shocked to see the trunk significantly fuller than it started – Pete had brought all kinds of items, including a folding chair (which was taken back into the house – sorry Pete!) and a snorkel – which my sister was convinced he would never EVER use.
She spoke too soon. After we took the ferry from Wellington to Picton, we started driving south. Along the way we stopped in Blenheim to pick-our-own cherries (and
eat taste more than our fair share while picking them). The lovely cherry orchard had both Bing and Rainier cherries up for grabs – I was in heaven, as cherries in NZ are obscenely expensive and the pick-your-own option provided for some significantly cheap cherry-devouring.
While munching on cherries, we picked up a very nice hitchhiker named Gis. He had been staying at his parents’ batch (holiday home), and was headed to Castle Hill to visit some friends for a wedding. He told us about his Swedish girlfriend (Pete high-fived him immediately), his travels, and chatted about his background in civil engineering/eco-friendly structure – a seemingly widespread field with (unfortunately) not very many available jobs.
Further down the coast, we stopped in the town of Kaikoura to take a break and drop off Gis. Pete decided to take a swim/take pictures (I’m not sure what the original intent was but he brought both his snorkel and his camera gear) Pete proceeded to catch crayfish and paua (shellfish) at Kaikoura beach.
The crayfish was huge! I expected something small that I could hold in the palm of my hand – but the crayfish in New Zealand are the size of lobsters! We had to be careful to measure the paua – apparently you can’t pull any paua out of the sea under a certain size unless you’re catching them for commercial use.
We drove down a ways to whip out the camping stove so that he could clean and cook his winnings! Truly a “Kiwiana” experience.