We have arrived in Christchurch awaiting my mum’s arrival on Thursday (erm, which I thought was on Wednesday until recently!). Ooops.
The last 10 days have been great heading down the West Coast and stopping for the night in lakeside campsites. We spent about a week in and around the Arthur’s Pass mountainous area which was great – very limited spending (although the money still disappeared), surrounded by mountains, and doing some active things.
We stopped for a couple of days of relaxation on the way into the pass at a pretty fancy campsite with very little around it, reading our books in the sun. From here we went up to Arthur’s Pass village and did an amazing walk called Avalanche Peak which is one of the best one days walks in New Zealand. It was a bit of a grunt up to the top, but with a reward of amazing alpine views and surrounding glaciers. Around us the alpine parrots (or Keas as they’re called) were hanging around just waiting for us to leave something loose so they could fly away with it.
We then moved just along the valley about 10km to a great free camping spot by a lake that we could swim in which was superb. We used this as a base for a couple of days to go to a bouldering area called Castle Hill to do some climbing type stuff. On the way we stumbled across an underground cave system that was free to enter in Cave Stream Scenic Reserve that was absolutely amazing. When you enter the cave, you check the water level and make sure it’s below your waist, then you walk up the underground stream, fully inside the cave for up to an hour, the passage only lit by your headtorch.
We somewhat reluctantly left Arthur’s Pass, but may be back later in the trip. We headed to Akaroa on the peninsula south of Christchurch for a couple of day’s more sun, and we are now in Christchurch. We saw an amazing exhibition by Ron Mueck in the art gallery yesterday – hand crafted human forms which were so lifelike it was stunning.
A storm is due with some rains and winds over the next couple of days. Wev’e not felt any aftershocks in Chritchurch so far. It’s quite sad to see quite a few buildings that have been flattened due them being unsafe. We have the van in for a service today and Ciara is off to meet some relatives tonight, then we’re getting prep’d for a busy three weeks after mum arrives on Thursday. Cities are dangerous for our budgets as we’ve plumped ourselves in a fairly central campsite at $39 a night, but it’s good to have a base, and we have both been sucked into the sales in the outdoors shops already, but have grabbed ourselves a couple of absolute bargains.
The blogging will be quiet again over the next few week’s but I’ll try to keep it up. We’re off to the tourist highlights including Tekapo, Mount Cook, Wanaka, Queenstown and the Sounds. Hopefully we’ll stop off in an observatory where you can attach your own camera’s for some night shots through their powerful telescopes. We’re leaving Christchurch on Saturday.