We completed first the Lewis Pass, visited Greymouth on the western shore of the south island of New Zealand, and then back over the Arthur’s Pass before returning to Christchurch. Read the previous two posts for more details. After stopping at Jacksons on the way up to Arthur’s Pass, we spent a day going over the pass and stopped at several interesting points of interest along the way. Highlights were the treacherous bridges up the main pass. They have a road that is cantilevered over a cliff, covered with a rock rooftop to protect from rockfalls, and with a water chute over the top. Then there is a newer viaduct bridge.
We first stopped at a scenic overlook and took pictures of the bridge and chute. There we saw a Kea – a mountain parrot. I quickly grabbed a picture, then he wandered over to our car. Next he flew on top and looked into our open front door window. I ran over and tried to keep him from going inside. He just stood there looking at me as I closed the window. Got some close-up photos, and then he started to get made because I didn’t give him food (apparently). He started picking the weather stripping off our sunroof! I tried to shoo him off, but he wouldn’t budge. So, we got in the car and started driving off. He finally got off! Sheesh! Later we saw signs – “Don’t Feed the Kea”. Gee…no kidding!
We stopped at a place called “Dead Man’s Curve” with another scenic overlook of the viaduct (as seen in the photo at the top of this post). I took a 360 panorama which I’ll process later.
After going across the pass, we came to the town of Arthur’s Pass. We stopped for lunch and then went to the DOC (department of conservation) museum. Next we took the hike up to Devil’s Punchbowl Waterfall. This was a great hike – although it was brutal in terms of climbing (mostly with stairs). You had to go up and down a couple of times to get to the lookout at the base of the fall. It was a good thing I had the water proof camera as there was a lot of spray.
Finally, we stopped at Castle Hill – which are some amazing large stones sitting on the tops of the hill sides. We think they must have shot that scene in Fellowship of the Rings (where they were on a ridge and spotted the birds who were spying on them) at this location. Anyway, it was a beautiful spot – a bit spoiled by a bunch of clouds which kept us from getting lots of sunshine for our photos (our friends on s/v Dignity went a day earlier and got sunny pictures of Castle Hill). But, we still got some good photos. And, I took some 360 panoramas here as well. There were fields with sheep and cattle near the rocks as well.
Castle Hill was our last stop on our way back to Christchurch. I’ve spent the last couple of days processing photos and making a Google Earth map of the entire trip. Here’s a screenshot of the map, but you get a much better view if you load the map in Google Earth. You can zoom in to the various stops I placemarked and even see the GPS tracks of our walks.
You should definitely check out the slideshow below. This is just a sample of the hundreds of photos we took on this trip. New Zealand is a beautiful place! The first few photos are from our visit to Canterbury Museum in Christchurch. Then the photos continue with our trip first to Hanmer Springs, Lewis Pass, Greymouth, and then along Arthur’s Pass and the Great Alpine Highway (route 73).