on monday we drove across the south island of NZ. we woke to rain and a gale in christchurch, drove down to the water and couldn't see a thing. we learned later that rough seas had sunk 4 boats on the east coast.
so we headed west under a gloomy sky, and when we finally saw the mountains they were topped with clouds. nevertheless, a stunning drive passing massive snow-capped peaks and deep valleys, green fields turning to brown, wide pebbled river beds with streams running through them (no doubt raging in spring). stopped at castle hill, which is apparently where one of the narnia scenes was filmed.
our accommodation for the night was the bealey hotel, 7 kms east of arthur's pass. nice cabin with fridge, microwave and frypan, and this stunning view from our verandah.
we could have eaten at the hotel, but instead i drove into arthur's pass to buy some food. we've got a subaru 4WD wagon with wide tyres that really hugs the road, so it was my first chance to really drive on a winding road without family terror. wonderful fun. arthur's pass had a store which thinks it is a foreign country - obscene prices for a small range of groceries.
we woke to snow yesterday morning, coming in horizontally - light ground cover. so we had a fantastic drive through the mountains and the snow. stopped to take a zillion photos. had the car attacked by a flock of kea birds (a brief 'alfred hitchcock' video will follow...). the scale of the mountains and valleys was impossible, dizzying, extraordinary. one of the best drives of my life.
by the time we reached the west coast, the clouds had gone and we had blue skies with little win. we stopped at hokitika and had fush and chups on the beach, then looked through a local jade (punamu) factory and wished we were rich!
then another stunning drive down the coast, past spectacular lakes and up to fox glacier where we're staying for 2 nights. we're in our cheapest accommodation which is the size of a matchbox. if i snore, maddy can lean across and punch me! no fridge, so we left the milk outside the room overnight!
went to a local cafe for dinner last night. maddy and i ordered the house special, porks ribs, which were HUGE - but somehow we BOTH ate them what a guts she is.
today we're off to the glaciers. blue sky and no wind! we've had such good weather! stay tuned.