A Sunrise Farewell to the South Island

My last morning on the South Island I woke up for sunrise. Kaikoura is on the east coast of NZ, and was supposed to have one of the best sunrises on the island. I figured it had been a while since I saw a sunrise and it fit in with the calm vibe I already had going in Kaikoura, so I set an alarm for 5:45 and went to sleep to the sound of the rain, hoping it would clear up by morning.

When I woke up I peeked out of the window and saw clouds but with a patch of sky. That was enough for me. I layered up, made some tea, and went out the back gate to the beach.

Dawn is so peaceful. It was just me and the seagulls waiting for the sun. I sat on the black rocky beach and listened to the waves crash in front of me. It was still cloudy, but light enough clouds that I could see the light changing. I got outside early enough to glimpse the thin white sliver of the moon before it disappeared for the day.

Then everything was lit up pink. Patches of clouds were highlighted with a pink glow that reflected in the ocean, and for a perfect brief moment a pink light illuminated the snowcovered mountain tops. I alternated between staring and snapping tons of pictures. As I was taking a video of the waves and the changing light, the sun broke the horizon.

There was just a little opening in the clouds at the horizon line, and it was right where the sun came up. Most sunrises are beautiful but they’re all along the same lines: the sky gets lighter, the sun peaks up over the horizon, and in a matter of minutes it’s up in a clear blue sky. This one was different because of the clouds. The sun had a small window to appear, just enough to see it rise and immediately hide again behind cloud cover. It’s hard to describe but this somehow made it even more special. The rays of light coming from behind the clouds could only be described as heavenly.

Before I left the beach I said goodbye to the South Island. I had an amazing couple of weeks there and can only hope that one day I’ll make it back across the world to this incredible place. I couldn’t imagine any better way to leave though than watching the sun rise over the ocean with rocky mountains to my left and grassy ones to my right; the ever-present contrast of NZ landscapes.


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