We woke to rain and cold and of course a blinding gale, we eventually decided to drive to Cape Palliser, we almost didn’t – THAT would have been a huge mistake! It continuously rained and such low cloud, we could barely see, at one point the temp dropped below 9°C (remember it’s Summer) we were not really equipped for those kinds of conditions. It is about a 45 km dead end road to the Lighthouse, we made it and ended up shooting the Lighthouse and the Coastline from inside the car in pouring rain, having to wipe down camera gear and the car with towels each time we opened a window, it was miserable!
We stopped at a spot near the beach and noticed a seal on the rocks, between blending in with the rocks and the pouring rain, we almost missed him. Then we saw another, and another and then more. We drove a little further along the coast – seals everywhere, 100’s of them. Then the rain stopped and the sun came out ever so weak and brief, but enough. We drove back and then got out of the car and really starting having some fun. OMG there were so many Seals and so close, you really had to be careful, if we got too close they barked (sounded like a cough) to warn us, but they were never afraid, even the Nursing Mothers, occasionally we would get a little too close by accident, I mean they were everywhere and so well camouflaged against the rocks!
We also went back to the lighthouse while it had stopped raining, don’t get me wrong it was still very cold and windy, we just didn’t care. I never planned to climb the 252 (I think) steps to the top, I was very happy down at the bottom.
We stopped and got really yummy hot chips and coffee to warm ourselves up and then drove onto the Pinnacles. We did not get very far down the creek bed when the clouds closed back in and the rains came back. Not well prepared and a little worried about flash flooding (the torrential rain had already caused some flooding on parts of the road, and we were walking along a mostly dry creek bed), we left and headed back to Palmerston North (again), our next stop, even though we had stopped here briefly on the way to Wellington.
As wet and cold and miserable the weather was, I think this is the most fun day we have had so far in NZ…totally awesome. Funny sidenote I was totally bummed I could not get tickets for a 4WD Tour of a Seal Colony while we were in Wellington – turns out this was probably way better and no crowds!