Over the pass
Trip Start Nov 09, 2011
71Trip End Ongoing
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as england the day after bank holiday the sun shone into our cab and the skies were blue...!! we took a walk along the beach and up onto harbour wall where surfers were having a great time enjoying the waves breaking near the harbour mouth... but best of all I saw two grey mounds of skin weaving in the water about 30ft away....yes I saw my first wild dolphins..I showed robin and we watched for a few minutes as they slowly swam away... i love dolphons but have only seen them in captivity so I was so happy tears were escaping down my face.....it was awesome..!!!!
today we chose to cross the middle of new zealand to do the east side first to make the most of the summer weather...well thats debatable i think it is a worse summer than england..anyway.. so off to Arthurs Pass we went.. first stop just outside greymouth, shanty town, a reconstructed village of the gold rush with a steam train too and everyone dressed up in 1850 costume..however we felt the entrance fee was too high and saw quite enough from the car park through the fences...as we left a guy was feeding about 6 kiwi s in the road , they are so funny fat little bodies and no tails...so leaving the west coast at Kumara junction we followed th sh73 into the mountains, first lowland farming then a slow climb following the Taramakau river.....a huge river bed at least 50ft across but at this time of year quite empty..soon we saw the southern apls looming up before us..great views with some covered in snow..
we ventured on up windy steep mountain roads to Otira viaduct, a concrete construction that has made the pass accessible to most vehicles..as we drove to the view point back across the viaduct we saw our first Kea , a bird that looks similar to a parrot but all brown and only lives in the mountains...from this point we also read how many had lost their lives as previous roads had collapsed in the ice melt waters..
so through the pass with awesome views we arrived at Arthurs pass visitor centre.. this area is very popular at all times ..in winter a ski resort and summer frequented by walkers or trampers as they are known here...the tramps are over 2, 3 or even 5 days with or without guides all available at the centre...we decided on a 60 minute one..lol.. up to the waterfall.. it was amazing the first time i had seen a waterfall be blown by the wind to cover one side of the rocks and then move over to the other side facinating.... it was a steep climb up 500ft but worth it...
after the pass the road winds gently through a less severe mountainous region passing bealey spur and castle hill both popular ski resorts...and we stopped in the middle of nowhere by a really cute mountain stream, the water was so cold and clear...and just to end our perfect day the full moon came out over the water.........wow ... we are being blesssed with being in the right place at the time so often on this trip...and here was another....