Breakfast at Hulmes Court is a nice mix of the usual - cereal yoghurt coffee - and the different - crumpets and fruit salad. As there were no steam trains at the station we drove up over the headland to Karitane, stopping to say hello to the horses and cows looking down at the beach, then at the beach looking up to spot the cows...
Most tempting shop in Palmerston: Trash Converters. Best mailboxes today; a red tractor with decal wheels and a fort.
We didn't see any yellow eyed penguins at Shag Point, but we did see a carved wooden cat, shags and some very cute fur seals and it's a lovely scramble over the cliffs with the blue sea and red green kelp below and the shags flying regular patrol in threes. Next beach was Katiki, where spiral shells that sound of the sea stud the soft sand. And then on to Moeraki for a BLT that came on a breadboard with all 5 of my daily fruit and veg, a tomato sauce that's tangier than ketchup, a bacon and egg burger with two eggs and no burger - and of course the boulders. These fascinate me: they start from nothing - a crumb of pollen, a flake of grit- and build up to huge stone spheres. They push their way out of the mudrock cliff like an urgent stone egg then wear down smoothly or crack open into irregular hexagonal chunks and crystalline honeycomb. Today I saw one that looked very like a brain.
We sat on a tree trunk (Q how do you know you're on a beach in NZ? A it has tree trunks everywhere) and talked, then made a labyrinth from shells and stones and driftwood to walk.
We drove through Oamaru to see the limestone buildings and spotted a raft of strange concrete trigons waiting to slot into the breakwater: giant stone calthrops to trip up the sea. Found a Universal post box (Universal stamps, despite the name, do not work in all post boxes; small universe!). Saw the steam but not the train, drove through Timaru without being inspired and now we're on the long straight road back to Christchurch. As the sun drops in the sky it catches the spray from the irrigators so they cast slabs and strips of rainbow in the fields.