New Zealand
27th January 2020

I expected not to notice an earthquake while in Blenheim, but I was wrong! Around half seven on Saturday evening, while I was finishing up a sudoku, I was suddenly rocking slightly. It was very subtle, so much so that no one else around me felt it, but I was instantly sure I had felt an earthquake - only I felt it because I was lying right on the ground in my tent. I checked online and sure enough there had just been a magnitude 4.7 earthquake off the coast of Wellington. I could even feel aftershocks for the following ten to 15 minutes. I went to sleep that night having experienced my first earthquake, only to sleep through an even bigger earthquake (magnitude 5.4) in the exact same location at midnight.

The vineyards are not hiring for at least another week so I have left Blenheim. It's always sad saying goodbye to new friends but New Zealand is so small that you'll likely randomly bump into them again. So, this morning I hiked to the road out of Blenheim and tried to thumb a lift two hours down the coast. Just eight cars drove past before someone stopped for me. A lovely kiwi couple from Timaru who had flown to Rotorua to pick up a car and drive it home - that's a 1050km journey! It was actually a really nice drive - the section between Blenheim and Kaikoura is right by the coast and you can see seals and dolphins if you are lucky. I was lucky.

Kaikoura looks like a really nice town, somewhere I'd be happy to stay for while. Similar to Whitianga, Kaikoura lies on the Pacific coast and is backed by mountains. However, Kaikoura definitely trumps Whitianga by having much bigger mountains and a stunning coastline of grey beaches with frequent seal, dolphin and whale sightings. I'm definitely going to like it here. Not 15 minutes after arriving in Kaikoura did I bump into some friends from Blenheim. It's a small country, remember? I have three days to get a job here, otherwise I move on. Hopefully I do get work here, money isn't exactly in abundance right now.

Cute Blenheim park spotted during my Sunday long run
Stunning Kaikoura sea
The ground went wobble wobble