What an amazing day, travelling through some stunning scenery. Although, it was tough getting up this morning. The 2 hr time difference meant i set my alarm for 7:30am in NZ but that was 5:30am in Australia on a Sunday. Now some may scoff at the suggestion that I had to get up early, because i don’t have kids to do that on weekends.
I went to pick up my hire car and the computer system was down, so ended up waiting for and hour before getting a car. You know how you pick a hire car and they always have “or similar” after the title. Well today I got an or similar. Not sure what the Ssangyong Korando is similar to…. I thought I checked the box for a Hyundai Tucson (or similar). Its not a bad car, has heated seats which I now know is essential to any potential car buyer who lives in places where it gets cold.
The snowcapped southern alps are visible from Christchurch, and the drive across the flat plains is not that spectacular. As you hit the valleys between the mountains the drive starts to get more interesting. This is where I felt grossly inadequate in the Ssangyong as what I can only assume was the rather large Ferrari club of Christchurch over took me. At least 20 Ferraris and one corvette I counted before I decided to ignore them as they were just showing off.
I got into Arthurs Pass just in time for lunch. I then planned to walk up to see the Devils Punchbowl falls, but the trail was closed. I managed to get some photos from the part of the trail not closed but was disappointed I could walk up there.
I drove a short distance past Arthurs pass and this is where the driving gets fun and windy. Then again they have a lookout to view the giant viaduct (We call them bridges) that takes some windiness out of the drive. There was an infamous Kea here. The large parrot that performs the same job that emus do in Australia. they chase you for food if you have any! Plenty of signs telling people to not feed the Keas. It was sitting on a power line tower, making a sound that could be best described as a distressed cats meow. It had a few car loads of asian tourists captivated though!
However the real gem of the day was not the last hour of the drive to the west coast town of Greymouth, but the drive north to Punakaiki. I headed in this direction to visit the Pancake rocks at Punakaiki, but instead came apon a magnificent stretch of road that would rival many great coastal drives. It had everything to the road hanging on the side of a steep hill with views to a rugged coastline, to driving along the beach and the interaction of the surf with the rocky outcrops dotted along the ocean. By the time I got to the pancake rocks I didn’t cvare that it had an infestation of asian tourists equipped with a selfie stick each and doing their best to poke your eyes out. That drive just topped the day off nicely.
I drove back to Greymouth to finish the evening at the Monteiths Brewery. I ordered the Velvet Stout with the accompanying Venison sliders. Both were amazing. I then tried the Barrel-aged Porter which was also pretty damn good, not as good but close. At this stage I decided the 4.6 standard drinks was enough and I slowly stumbled back to my AirBnB, which is the old harbourmasters house. A long flight of steps up to the house with the rather chilly wind blowing but I survived and Allan who owns the house made me a coffee and I then had a chat to another guest here.
Tomorrow I head south to see some glaciers and whatever else is on the way.