Complying with Local Rules
From Christchurch we pursue a northbound route. In the coastal town of Kaikoura, we find the last of only six freedom camping spots bordering the beach. Following a walk along the rugged coast, we marvel at the ocean from the back of our campervan until a car arrives with a “Camping Ambassador” sticker on the door. A friendly but determined lady reminds all campers that we have to vacate the campsite by 7:00 o’ clock the next morning. We nod acquiescently, unsure about the enforcement of this rule. At that very moment, another campervan arrives with six jolly holidaymakers. They park next to us, which the Camping Ambassadors points out is not an official camping site. Despite their pleadings (“auntie, please let us stay”), she insists they find a different spot. “I reckon she takes her job quite seriously”, Floris quips, so we set our alarm for 6:45 a.m. By the time we are up, all our neighbours have already left the campsite. We decide to make the best of our early start and go for a morning hike. Our destination: the top of Mount Fyffe, the mountain rising steeply behind the town. It is quite the climb but the views from the top are very rewarding. The rugged, mountainous hinterland is at our fingertips, while we can also taste the ocean 1600m below us. This is where the mountains almost reach the sea, of which we are also reminded on the drive to Blenheim. The road hugs the steep coast and, in some places, is built as a terrace over the sea. Soon after the road cuts through the mountains, we reach Blenheim. Still sweaty from our hike, we head to the local swimming pool for a refreshing dip and shower. It’s a perfect way to enhance our freedom-camp experience.